I recently deleted all social media apps off my phone. It was an impulsive move — the result of an iPhone notification informing me that I had spent an average of three hours and eight minutes a day on my phone during the week with eighty daily pick-ups. That was actually an improvement from the previous week.
Yikes. Almost twenty-fours hours on the phone in a week. Most of that on social media. While I’m too lazy to look up and cite statistics, I’m pretty sure that number is below average for a smartphone user.
This isn’t a judgement on social media, but as you will see from my reasoning it is an indictment on my lack of willpower (and several personality traits). So here it goes. My reasons for deleting social media from my phone.
Reason One: I have an anxious personality. I worry about lots of things. My brain is a congested rush hour superhighway of thoughts, concerns, fears and random information. For me, social media has become a lot of unnecessary noise in an obscenely loud world. I found myself unsuccessful in my efforts to filter the good from the bad without increasing my anxiety levels. I need less noise. Not more.
Reason Two: I worry about what other people think. I know I shouldn’t admit this, but reactions to my Tweets and Instagram posts mattered. I wanted them to be shared and liked. I checked my feeds way too frequently to gauge the response to what I had posted. Each like and retweet was a little dopamine hit, but never quite enough. I was writing and posting to be liked, not because I had something worthwhile to share.
Reason Three: I began to view moments and events for their Twitter and Instagram worthiness instead of their intrinsic value. How can I best capture this scene? Will this picture go viral? What’s something impressive I can say about this topic? My efforts to filter my life through social media became a distraction and hindered my efforts to enjoy the moment (a struggle without technology). The fear of missing out was actually causing me to miss out. Besides, if I post every fish I catch to Instagram how will I lie about their size.
Reason Four: I have a finite amount of time. For that matter, so do you. As is, I can’t get everything done and it is more important than ever that I focus on what’s truly important. I’m no longer willing to spend three plus hours a day on a phone that didn’t exist twenty years ago. There are too many things I want to do. Hike, fish, learn to sketch, play the guitar, rest, breathe, practice photography and do some good in the world. Time on my phone does not add commensurate value to my life. It’s not a priority.
Reason Five: No one cares. Okay. That may not be entirely true — some people may care about my social media posts — but they won’t be losing sleep over my absence. I’m not an influencer. More importantly, I don’t care. I began asking myself if likes and followers would matter to me in ten years, five years, or even two months. The answer was a definitive no. It doesn’t matter and I suspect there is a greater chance I would regret time on social media than losing any presence I might have established.
You might notice I haven’t deleted my accounts — just removed them from my phone. I don’t have plans to be active on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook any time soon. I may write or share photos on this site from time to time, but that’s about it. Feel free to follow or connect here, but don’t tweet me. I won’t be checking 😉