I deleted all of my social media apps from my phone for a week. The week is over and I have deleted Twitter for good, forgotten about Snapchat, the world of Instagram has been missed but reality checked about and I am definitely not missing Facebook (shocker).
I chose to delete these apps because I realised how distant I had become from the true world. I wanted to be more present in my life, and not staring into a screen for hours a day. This break from social media also made me realise my anxieties surrounding it. I feel present in life, I feel happier and I feel as though I am free from an addiction that was beginning to take over my life.
It sounds dramatic (if you have read my About Me, I did warn you), I know, but it honestly feels liberating. I missed Instagram the most, I must admit, but I realise that this app is perhaps the one that is most toxic to my life. I spent my time on Instagram scrolling and scrolling, only being interested in about 5% of my feed. Because I only stay in touch with 5% of the people I follow. I remember my first ever post when I was 16, in a red dress on my birthday and not caring about much then. As I got older, I began to care about likes, about when the best time to post was, about editing. I used to base my self worth on the amount of likes I would receive, taking hundreds of pictures before a night out or on a trip hoping that one of them would be ‘Insta-worthy’. In hindsight, it is absolutely ridiculous but I know I was not the only teen living in this false reality. For me, it wasn’t posting memories or fun times which I wanted to have a place for. It was a vain, self-obsessed portal for my insecurities. It was not outfit repeating because then it couldn’t go on Instagram. It was being sad because my life wasn’t as exciting as some of my friends. It was caring about who liked what and why.
I am not going to delete my Instagram account because I have genuinely forgotten my password and do not have Facebook to reset it, and I want to have it to look back on when I’m a bit older, perhaps to laugh at my fake smiles or horrific attempts at pouting. But I will not use my personal Instagram for a while – I am promising myself that much. I have my Instagram account associated with this blog (onlythegoodskin) for photography, for skincare etc. which I only have people who share interests with me who I do not know or I only have the people who I actually stay in touch with and don’t judge my lifestyle or how many likes I receive. I will keep this account because I’m not obsessed with it or how I appear on it, and that is what is important.
Twitter got deleted because I only spent my time pointlessly scrolling for the occasionally funny tweet. I realise it didn’t add much to my life at all, and if I do Twitter again, it would be for the purposes of this blog or my career. I no longer wish to dote on the people I once knew. Knowing somebody on social media is so much different to knowing them in real life. And I know this because behind some of my smiles were difficult times.
Snapchat was another app I used mostly to occasionally stalk (not literally follow just have a nosey) on people on ‘Snap Maps’ (you’re lying if you have never done that out of boredom, distrust or to find your flatmate) and posting mostly pointless stories for 24 hours. There’s too many memories on there to delete it completely but I am not going to use it, because after a week without it, I realise it’s kind of a waste of time.
Deleting Facebook wasn’t that life changing, but I also deleted Facebook Messenger and this was rather eye opening. It was my main contact for almost everybody and removing myself from it made me realise who I actually stayed in touch with, who texted or kept in touch despite me not having messenger and who I texted and stayed in touch with. A blessing to see who actually cares, really.
I would urge anybody reading this to try and delete social media for a week. Read a book. Read the news. Meet people and be present. Make actual memories, not digital ones. And if you do choose to go back to social media, unfollow people who make you feel bad about yourself and make a conscious effort to use it less. It is kind of life changing.