Not too long ago, people said they would run away from Instagram. Before that, it was Facebook..
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With every controversy on social media, people talk about closing their accounts forever. Few really do. Roughly 70% of Americans used social media in 2021, a level that has held steady for five years, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Meta Platforms Inc.
reported in February that Facebook’s daily active users fell for the first time in at least a decade, but said Wednesday that the population was growing again.
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Social media apps are designed to keep people coming back. The dopamine rush that comes from other people’s likes can make you feel like celebrating. But there is a drawback. Constant exposure to other people’s lives can damage your body image, sleep, anxiety levels, and productivity.
“Those feelings lead people to consider how much time, if any, they want to spend on social media,” said Kate Rosenblatt, senior clinical manager at Talkspace.,
an online therapy company.
Many people who have left Twitter, Facebook and Instagram say they are happier because of it, but they also realized that they miss some things. This is what they want others to know, both the good and the bad.
Withdrawal wears off quickly.
When you’re used to checking an app every day, or several times a day, sometimes you open the app without thinking and scroll through your feed.
“I was so absorbed by the negative memes, applause and conflict spirals I saw on Twitter that when I first left, my muscle memory told me to open the app and start scrolling,” said Kimberly Katiti, a 28-year-old artist. years. in North Hollywood, California, which left the platform in April 2021.
“I got over it in a week,” he said. “I would just put my phone away. And before I knew it, I didn’t feel like moving around and seeing what’s going on in the world.”
You are still connected to the world.
Social media started out as a way to connect with friends, but the platforms evolved into places for businesses and people to share news and politics: Mr. Musk called Twitter the world’s “de facto town square.” . But with that growing role came misinformation and other problems. Removing social media from your life can prompt you to seek out other sources of news. And just because you’re not on Facebook doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on great cultural moments and trends.
“I got into Twitter in 2008 because it was a newer, different method of communication,” said Christopher Britton, a 34-year-old who runs a marketing business in Inlet Beach, Florida. “At the time, I was worried that I wouldn’t be so-called relevant.” He deleted his Twitter account in 2011 and now stays in the loop through Reddit, Apple News and other sources.
“And my Messages app is as good as any social networking site when it comes to keeping in touch with people I know,” Britton said.
People are nicer.
You don’t have to be on social media for long to find Facebook rants or Twitter fights where people you know communicate differently than they do in person. When you no longer see those posts and instead interact with people in real life, your views may change.
“It’s much easier to post rude things when you’re behind a wall of keyboards,” said JJ Garcia, a 54-year-old business analyst in New Braunfels, Texas. “But in person, your neighbors seem less inclined to talk about such things. And you can get along better with them when you’re not seeing all their opinions online.”
You may be having trouble sending or donating money.
On Facebook, you can add your payment information to buy and sell items on Marketplace, send money to family members on Messenger, and donate directly to causes. Leaving Facebook may make that more of a hassle, said Bobby Buchler, a 57-year-old retired high school teacher from Las Vegas who left the social network in 2019.
“On Twitter, I follow organizations that rescue dogs. And they make posts saying donate on Facebook, or link to a post made on Facebook,” Buchler said. “But I can’t check it easily because I don’t want to get into Facebook.”
People don’t miss you or remember your birthday.
Kristen Womack was active on Facebook and Instagram, leading groups, sharing articles, and running a small business account. But when she left Facebook in 2016 and Instagram in 2020, no one seemed to notice.
“Not a single person was like, ‘Oh wow, I don’t see you on Facebook or Instagram anymore.’ I miss you,’” said Ms. Womack, a 42-year-old product manager at Microsoft Corp..
in Minneapolis. “Once you leave the party, it’s like no one misses you.”
What about those birthday reminders and comments on your Facebook wall? Say goodbye to them. Although doing so may not be a bad thing.
“On Facebook on my birthday, 300 people would show up, and then you had to reply and like random people’s comments,” said Verlin Campbell, a 42-year-old IT project manager in Los Angeles. “Now my interactions are more genuine. On my birthday, like 20 people texted me. I’m happier with that.”
You feel more productive.
Leaving social media gives you more free time, sometimes more than you know what to do with.
“I was surprised to realize how much time I wasted commuting. You get on the computer to write and it’s easy to get distracted,” Lindsey Zitzmann said. The 39-year-old online life coach in Villard, Minnesota left Instagram in 2020.
“Now, in those moments in between when I have a few minutes, I read books, I am more present with the family or I cook without picking up the phone,” he added.
The friends walk away.
Social media can make you feel like you’re in touch with people just because you double-clicked a post or someone commented on one of your photos. Once you leave, some of those relationships fade.
“It makes me sad to think about it,” said Oliver Murray, 18, of Fayetteville, Ark. The freelance digital artist says he lost touch with some friends online when he deleted his Instagram account in 2019. He now shares his artwork on Tumblr. and Twitter, where he doesn’t feel the pressure to post constantly.
“I was annoyed by all the superficial vanity posts,” he said. “The only way I’m going back on Instagram is if Elon Musk screws up Twitter.”
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