I had been contemplating deleting my Facebook and Instagram accounts for some time, but it wasn't until I ended my long-term relationship and relocated overseas that I ultimately made the decision. Despite some hesitation, I went ahead and deleted both accounts. While it did leave me off the social media grid, the experience was not as catastrophic as I had anticipated.
1. Honestly, it was kind of a relief
Being disconnected from the online drama was a relief - no more constant flow of opinions on Donald Trump's antics or the latest national outcry about racial discrimination. I no longer had to witness couples flaunting their #relationshipgoals posts, only to later see them and their friends taking sides during their breakups. Now, I had the freedom to decide when and from whom I wanted to hear the news.
2. I felt like I finally had a bit of privacy again
Following my breakup with my ex, I was aware that I might become a target for stalking by him and our mutual friends. Despite him blocking me from every possible point of contact, I was certain that he would still want updates on my life. While it is customary to flaunt a great life after a breakup, I found satisfaction in disappearing entirely, leaving people to wonder about my whereabouts instead of knowing what happened to me.
3. Admittedly, I missed getting likes
While I appreciated the privacy, I couldn't help but miss sharing the cool things I was up to on social media. Living in Europe, I had plenty of opportunities to showcase my travels and adventures, especially since Romania, my new home country, had so much to offer. In just five months, I had already visited Turkey, Spain, Bulgaria, and Italy. I wanted to share pictures of my experiences and inspire admiration (or envy) from my followers. However, not having to worry about capturing the perfect picture for social media gave me more time to appreciate the present moment.
4. I found out who my real friends were
Deleting social media was a great test for me. People who had been engaging with my posts for years suddenly disappeared. The fear of losing connections is one of the primary reasons people hold onto their social networks, but phone calls and messaging are always an option. Deleting a platform doesn't erase a connection; it simply tests it. Communication is a two-way street, and I acknowledge that it's my responsibility to maintain relationships and initiate conversations. However, the experience also revealed to me who I genuinely cared about and wanted to stay in contact with.
5. I had to find different entertainment
Like many others, I used to rely on social media accounts to pass the time while waiting in line or on break at work. However, I have found other activities to engage in during these moments. For instance, during long rides on public transportation or while dining alone, I started reading online books on my phone. When I have less time to concentrate, I enjoy flipping through pictures on iFunny or Pinterest.
6. I didn't feel like it gave me more time
One of the top criticisms of social media is its time-consuming nature. Therefore, when I decided to quit my social media accounts, I expected to instantly become more productive. However, I soon realized that I mostly used social media during idle times, so quitting did not make much of a difference in terms of productivity. For individuals whose social media accounts significantly interfere with their daily schedule, quitting would likely have a more significant impact.
7. I think it made me a little bit smarter
Cutting off the stream of mostly uninteresting and opinionated content by quitting social media can be freeing for the mind, and this is an expectation I have heard many times. In doing so, one can replace that stream with more productive information, such as learning a new language or keeping up with current events by reading the news.
8. I started a new relationship and my lack of social media didn't make a difference
My previous relationship was one of the main reasons I hesitated to delete my Facebook account earlier. I enjoyed posting pictures of us together, celebrating our anniversary, and looking back at timeline memories. However, after that relationship ended, it became much easier to let go. When I started a new relationship a few months later, I didn't feel like falling back into the same pattern. It feels a bit strange not to see my new boyfriend's online activity, but I trust him. Some may think I sound naive, but he doesn't even have a lock on his phone, so I feel pretty secure.
9. I don't want it back anytime soon
When I deleted my social media accounts, I initially thought I might only stay offline for a few months before creating new ones. However, it has been seven months now and I have no plans to return to my old platforms anytime soon. When people hear about it, they are often surprised, but my response is always the same. While I may eventually go back online, for now, I'm enjoying being off the grid.