Hi, my name is Jeff, I’m 38 years old, and I quit social media. I shouldn’t say I quit social media, I generally just totally lost interest in it. I’ll tell you right now, I don’t miss it, not even a little bit.
Being 38 puts me in that grey area of being a millennial or not. I was a junior in college when Facebook took off (many even say I have a resemblance to the CEO), but I was hardly ever one to take snap a pic of my dinner and post it online. So let’s just say I used social media but never abused it.
History of Social Media and Me
I’ve certainly had my share of accounts. Facebook, MySpace (remember Tom?! ), and most recently, Instagram.
MySpace was fairly short-lived, although there was a time being in someone’s “Top 10” friends meant something to me. Instagram was mostly for sharing pics of my kids, but Facebook was really the main one for me for quite some time.
Again, it really took off my junior year, and in college, Facebook was basically the best thing ever for a guy like me. Not so great with the ladies, Facebook was almost better than getting a girl’s phone number at that point.
Mindlessly finding them on Facebook and simply sending a friend request was far easier and less stressful, for sure.
In any case, as the years have passed, Facebook and other social media juggernauts have morphed into far more than an awkward guy’s chance with a girl, and it’s not looking good.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of good that social media can do, but as the days pass, it only seems that the bad is far outweighing the good.
The original focus of connecting people still has some legs, but that’s been lost in a sea of other issues and problems with social media.
Harmful Effects of Social Media
Parts like a marketplace on Facebook or using Twitter to promote a blog you might write are certainly super useful ways to use social media.
But the harm it’s caused to us, and our kids, for that matter, can’t be ignored. Study……after study……after study simply shows people are typically happier when they are off social media. Being on social media can bring on or make our depression, loneliness, anxiety, and many other bad feelings worse.
It also opens the door to cyberbullying. It’s not enough for kids to feel left out at school, but now they need it posted right in front of their faces everywhere they go too.
Don’t even get me started on the misinformation it spreads.
And I’m not the only one happier to be off it, check this out too.
What really gets to me about social media is that it’s basically the ultimate form of the “Keeping Up With the Jones” mindset. What you see on social media is everybody else’s highlight reel. The perfect pic from a night out that probably took fourteen tries to get.
The amazing vacation pictures likely make it look better than it was. Whatever the occasion, we are bombarded by the best of other people’s lives and trying not to compare it to our day-to-day lives.
This can make it incredibly difficult to enjoy ourselves. The constant need to see how many likes a picture got, or how many comments people are faking to care about is not healthy for our psyche in any way shape, or form.
Comparing our results to those of others might not have many financial implications, but it most certainly could, but it does have the same concept as the “Keeping up with the Jones” mindset as we then try to post pics of ourselves having equally or more exciting lives than those of our peers.
It’s basically a lose-lose situation for everyone. Those of us posting the pictures are addicted to getting more likes and comments and basically need them for validation. The others who aren’t getting likes and comments feel left out and may spiral further into depression and isolation.
Luckily, there is something you can do about it! There is no rule saying we need to have social media accounts. Really, I checked, and it’s not on the books.
I’m not saying to go cold turkey and turn it all off at once, but you can certainly shut down a few of them and make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of time you spend on any remaining accounts.
Trust me, you’ll be happier if you do. I can probably count on one hand how many times over the past decade I thought a social media account would be useful, and the feeling was fleeting. Get rid of the ultimate “keeping up with the Jones” machine in your life and never look back!