I quit social media indefinitely
On December 5th, 2022, I deactivated my Instagram, Facebook (you'll still see my account as I am selling some things on marketplace, lol), and Twitter accounts.
Two years ago, I underwent an experiment in which I quit social media for two months. This time, I doubled the ante.
I have stopped participating in Reddit (which was difficult for me, because it was the default place I would go to scroll). I do believe that there is benefit to Reddit, but with ChatGPT, I have been using that far more for programming stuff. Reddit is still my go for opinions on various topics, but far less so than even a year ago.
Youtube has been severely limited by removing most of my subscriptions and using an RSS reader to see when new videos are out (taking the thumbnail and clickbait out of the equation).
I never had tik-tok, I removed myself from Snapchat in 2020.
Little did I know my daughter would be born not 10 days after starting the experiment, but the fact is that being detached from the distraction has had incredible benefits.
It blows my mind how many people don't have the life that they want to have, yet they spend an average of over 3 hours per day on their phone. If you read my blog, you are no stranger to the fact that I readily detest the smartphone generation in which we are living. But, I still believe a smartphone can be used for good if you discipline yourself and curate it as the tool that it is.
It has been 4 months since I have been on these social media channels as of April 5th. And - I am not sure if I will be going back.
Here's what benefits you'll get upon stopping the digital heroin needle.
1. Ability to meditate and cohesive thought patterns
The BIGGEST (and very first) realization that I had in this experiment is that my thought pattern has been repaired. For a long time, I would lay in bed at night, and my thoughts would meander through various possibilities, places - here, there, everywhere. It was irritating to not be able to think cohesively. I would jump from thought to thought, not unlike a schizophrenic.
Without infinite scroll, my mind seems to be repairing. Deep thinking and states of no thinking are achievable.
I am once again able to talk to God. Arguably, this is only achievable when you take the mind out of the equation and talk to the Universal Mind. I am being told what to do without asking. I am entering flow state on a daily basis again. When I write, I am not the one who is writing.
I am of the conspiracy mind that social media and excessive use of screens is a ploy to sever our connection to the divine. The only way to repair that connection is to severely limit or eliminate the use of these platforms that engineer our minds. You are likely inducing ADHD in yourself with unhinged social media use.
Which means that inevitably...
2. Your Focus Returns
In addition to my thoughts being cohesive and conclusive, my focus has improved markedly since taking myself away from the madness. There was a period of my mid 20's where I don't know if I could have sat down to write the post you're reading right now - I was that unable to focus. This was not all social media's fault - but I don't doubt that it contributed as a factor. Spending 9 hours a day on your phone at times would absolutely not help with this.
Since I have not been online, I am able to sit for hours and write, read, code, and just have the deep focus that I enjoy having. I put on some binaural beats, and 90 minutes flys by at the snap of a finger.
I am finding myself in flow state nearly everyday. This was not a common occurance for me a few years back. I am seeing it almost all of the time now. This in and of itself is worth ceasing or limiting your social media use and screentime.
My mood is far more stable.
I remember loading up instagram months ago, and having my mood dragged here or there by the algorithm. Comparison is a hole that once you are in, it is tremendously difficult to pull out of, and when you stop comparing yourself to others, you are more creative, you are grateful for what you have, and you are finding yourself present and in the moment.
I loaded up my business instagram the other day just to check on a couple things, and my heart rate literally increased, and I felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety. It was like I was preparing myself to intravenously inject a drug. When you get clean of this stuff, you understand how fucked that is. It was not unlike opening a porn video when you are getting clean of pornography - the body and mind prepares itself for the dopamine dump that it is about to receive.
I know people that struggle to have a face to face conversation, their phone is far more interesting to them. There are people that I have sat across the coffeeshop table from that found it necessary to have their phone on the table and incessantly check it. Those people I have removed from my life - if you cannot be present, I do not want to drag you kicking and screaming into the here and now.
I am seeing myself be ever present - finding blissful states that 25 year old me would not have believed possible.
I was fully present for the birth of my daughter, and the gift that that was will never be lost on me. I have been present to see her first smile, her first babble, stared into her eyes while she laid on my chest - it is all making me emotional just to type this.
It makes me incredibly sad to think that some people just miss out on this experience because they would rather be somewhere else.
Mental model of the Universe
In taking my time away from the hustle and bustle, it was as if I retired to the countryside from the concrete jungle. I have been able to go inside myself and discover many things about myself and the Universe at large. I have read great works about consciousness, about the mind, and have built a new model for my conception of what this all is.
I would have never done this if I was wasting my time on girls in bikinis, fast cars, and pointless memes.
5. Screentime down like a fat kid on a seesaw
I spend well under an hour a day on my phone now. This is in line with my article where I show you how to spend far less time on your phone and my life is so much better for it.
Not only do my eyes work better, my body feels better, too. I have much less back pain, shoulder pain, and I feel less hunched.
I am sure that in 10 years almost everyone will have drastic forward head posture, and it will be bred into the human race as an adaptation.
6. Business Booming
I have had hundreds of you visit this blog since I stopped using social media.
You are finding these posts organically and that makes me smile inside. I am not sharing them on social media, perhaps you are, but I will never know!
My real estate business is actually up year on year, my book is coming along, I have projects in the works that will be released later this year. All of this is because I am spending more time on the things that matter, and cutting my time on the things that do not. And, all of this with a newborn at home. No excuses - just better use of time.
I have since returned to Twitter, however I am not sure how long that will stand - itt appears that the platform is pretty much going paid and I am not sure I will fork over $7 USD for the privilege of having my tweets seen. I like the platform in that it requires you to read and think, rather than just posting mindless images for people to double tap on.
I do not see myself going back to instagram as a consumer. I may return to post videos and to promote my book, Mountain, but I may just have my wife do that management for me, so that I am not dragged into the garbage. Facebook will never really see my active return, as I am pretty sure it is a dead platform.
The lesson for me is to be a creator, not consumer and to use these platforms with tremendous discipline if you so choose. To this extent, I believe:
- These apps should not reside on your phone
You can download them and post, then remove them. Or, you can have a dedicated device where you post from. I personally have used a tablet to post from for the 6 months prior to my 4 month hiatus. You should spend less than one minute a day on high dopamine apps like Instagram. You can login and post, and then jump off. Forget about using them to communicate with people.
For most people, that would mean deleting the social media from their phone and using the phone simply as a communicative device (I understand that people talk on DM via some of these apps, but if you care about the person, get their phone number and move to signal or some other messaging app.). You are wasting tremendous time on these apps for near (if not, zero) no return on your time invested.
- You must be disciplined and not scroll.
Scrolling is the beginning of the end for your focus and ability to be productive with these apps. Be highly cognizant of what will happen if you slip up.
- Ask yourself if you even need these apps.
If you work a job or have success that doesn't require active promotion of your business, you can honestly forego social media altogether. You will be happier. I promise you that.
If you make your living on social media, feel free to move along. But - If you make zero money or aren't learning from it, burn it.
- Take scheduled hiatuses
You should take months off every year if you can. Reset your mind and use intention when rejoining (if you so choose to.)
If you are careful, you can use these app, but I truly recommend you cease their use and see if you really need them. I think you'll be surprised at the benefits, too.
Have you fully quit social media? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about your experience.
Until next time.