Read: Why I Deleted my Social Media Accounts

I just deleted several more of my social media accounts, as a birthday present to myself, something I really didn’t think much about, but seeing as yesterday was my birthday the resulting “panic” of me NOT being on Facebook led to a few rather strange conversations filled with both light shock and bewilderment. “Oh my God, I searched for you on Facebook and you were GONE, something must have happened, what happened?” “Did they delete your account?” “Was it accidental?” “How are you going to start over again?”

I did delete my accounts on purpose. I have many reasons which I will attempt to relay below, but I wanted to start with a disclaimer. If YOU are on social media, and you love it, then I say “cool” Stay, use it, love it, do whatever you find valuable or rewarding. I didn’t love it, at all, and found it to be something I was no longer okay with being a part of. Again, I’ll line out the reasons below, and I’m REALLY trying not to finger point here, but I’m sure at least some of this is going to sound like me being high and mighty. Let me assure you, I’m not. I’m a guy still trying to figure out his Monday through Friday and when asked what I do, besides saying “I work for Blurb” the rest of my story is as cloudy as anyone’s. But as you will see, I’m still in the playground, to some degree, something I will also try to explain. Oh, and for those of you saying “Who F****** cares?” Good question.

Gone.
Instagram
Facebook
Google +
YouTube (Probably THE most powerful of all online tools, but I don’t want to film myself.)
Tumblr
Pinterest (Never really gave it a true shot.)

Remaining
Twitter (The BEST tool in my mind, and I don’t follow the stream so no clouded mental space.)
LinkedIn (I was always on here and never knew why, but now I do.)
Vimeo (Haven’t used in ages, forgot I had it, so will probably kill it as well.)

It’s over, done, finalized and official that I will no longer feel the warm embrace of being “liked.” I have officially killed my Facebook page and in the process severed deep and lasting relationships with 2354 “friends” worldwide.
Adios
I’m not really losing these friends, just their online versions, and the idea that we are really connected via these networks.

The only reason I lasted this long was my job. As most of you know, I work for Blurb and our company has a large social following, one that reaches the edges of the Earth. I always thought “I can’t possibly delete my account because it’s essential in deseminating all this critical information.” I’d heard nearly every single speaker for the past five years suggest to their eager audiences, “Well, you need to get your social media up and running and then connect with your following.” I heard art department heads tell their students they can’t survive without it, and I watched as numerous friends began to donate nearly their ENTIRE life to the addictive gesture of checking their Facebook page. I don’t use “addiction” lightly. I’ve spend the past few years monitoring(informally) how, why and how often people “use” their Facebook pages, and what I found, for me, was alarming.

I first noticed this craziness in the early days of Facebook during my time as a portrait photographer. I was photographing kids mostly, and like I do now, I was using a Hasselblad camera with exactly twelve images per roll. During the brief moments when I would reload my 6×6 I would watch as the kids would pick up their mobile phone, punch in the code, check their Facebook page, turn the phone off and place it back on the ground. Within TEN SECONDS, if I had not engaged them, they would again pick up their phone, punch in the code and check their Facebook page. They would do this over and over and over and would continue to do it until I finally decided to engage them once again. Imagine doing this ten times in less than three minutes. I mentioned to my wife that I found this crazy trend developing, but if you haven’t paid close attention, and she hadn’t, it didn’t seem that alarming, at least at the time. Fast forward to today and well, we know what kind of spell these sites have on kids, adults, etc. I guess you might call the condition “advanced” now.

Last year, returning from one of my Blurb missions, I landed at John Wayne Airport in Orange County California. We were fortunate and actually landed eight minutes early. The only issue was we didn’t have a gate. The pilot came on and said “The good news is that we are early, but we are going to have to wait eight minutes for a place to park.” The woman next to me, based on her clothing and briefcase, was who I would label as a midlevel executive, business traveler. During our delay she turned on her phone, punched in the code and checked her Facebook page twenty-four times in eight minutes. Again, I don’t use “addiction” lightly.

I can also tell you that each weekday, during my morning visits to the gym, I routinely sit in a sauna. I do this because I love it, but I also do it because it is helping me rid myself of Lyme Disease. I can tell you that I am routinely the ONLY person IN THE SAUNA who is not on their phone monitoring their Facebook page. Yes, I said in the sauna. The age range is from early 20’s to late 60’s. There is never any talking, unless someone is dumb enough to actually make a phone call, which does happen from time to time, but that person is normally turned on like a pack of wolves feeding on Bambi.

My departure from social media began roughly a year ago while working on my ongoing opus in Pie Town, New Mexico. At the time I was using Instagram in addition to my normal black and white negatives. As I walked the dirt roads around the town I found myself seeing things and thinking “I should put that on Instagram.” So I did. Several hours passed and I realized I hadn’t made any pictures, nor had I really mentally engaged in my surroundings. Instagram was acting as a filter, blocking my actual, real interaction with the people and things around me. I deleted my Instagram account on the spot. To further belabor my point I will tell you another story. Recently, on yet another flight I was positioned next to a young guy who had the classic SoCal surfer look. I was in the aisle seat, he against the window with the middle seat being empty. As the plane readied for departure I noticed he was flicking through screen after screen of Instagram content. The flight attendant came by and said “You need to turn your phone off now.” He faked as if he was turning it off then went right back to scrolling through his IG account. Each time the flight attendant would walk by he would hide his phone and look out the window. After the plane left the ground he kept scrolling until he lost cell signal. I thought this was the end of it, but apparently not. Fifteen minutes from landing he had his phone back out and was scrolling through BLANK INSTAGRAM PAGES. BLANK. There was no content yet he couldn’t stop doing it, staring with a dead gaze into an empty phone. As we neared the ground his beloved signal returned and his face lit up once again. Again I thought this was the end but after deplaning and entering the airport I found myself facing the decision of jumping on the moving staircase or manning up and walking on the fixed airport floor. I noticed the moving stairs were bottlenecked for some reason, so I moved to the outside choosing to walk on my own. The reason the escalator was bottlenecked….yep, you guessed it. “Mr Instagram” was once again on his phone, oblivious to the world around him and was blocking the rest of the passengers who had begun to yell “Hey asshole, get off your phone and walk.” A-D-D-I-C-T-I-O-N. Now again, is this guy you? Is he me? I don’t THINK I’ve ever done this, but I’m sure I’ve caused someone walking down the street to take evasive action because I’ve been on social media. And I know for certain I’ve had to take evasive action, many times, avoiding last second collisions with status updaters. If this seems inconsequential to you, or you are one of those folks who apologizes for this stuff by saying “What are you gonna do?” or “Well that is the world we live in now,” things I’ve heard relentlessly over the past few years, I get it, but I just made the decision to do what I could by not participating.

The moment I began to find myself thinking about social media was the moment I knew I had to leave. I’d heard social described as a “quiet lie” because it’s based on the underlying concept of being “liked” where the participant crafts a funnier, wittier more humane version of themselves to attract more “likes,” followers or comments. More than once I’d thought to myself, “I wonder what the response will be to this post or this image.” “I wonder how many comments I’ll get, or likes I’ll receive.” The realization I was having these thoughts was like mental poison entering my veins.

These aren’t the only reasons I killed my Facebook page. I also did it because nobody I know is able to actually consume what is offered via the interface. My primary need as a guy that makes things is UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. That is what I’m after, and social media is the LAST place you will ever find it. In fact, the volume of information, advertising, messaging and liking is so far beyond any realistically consumable level I feel you are in essence guaranteeing nobody will pay attention to whatever it is you choose to post. Informational heartbeats, lost in a lifecycle akin to the blink of a eye. Look at click through rates if you want evidence. I’ve posted links to essays and had “likes” less than five seconds after posting, which tells me the viewer saw the avatar, the name, probably said “I know him,” and “liked” without reading or really thinking about the story. So I asked myself, “What is the point?” I also don’t photograph myself. I find the “selfie” epidemic somewhat alarming, and I’m that guy still using a portrait a friend made over ten years ago. It is the only real portrait I have.

Social media is also an unbelievable time suck. There is a defensiveness about this. I know a lot of folks who say “I’m not on it that much.” I’ve studied several of these people and “not that much” translates to “all day, everyday.” The idea is intriguing, being connected to the wider world, but in essence many people are alone, at home, clinging to the idea of being connected. I realized I would be far better off talking to a neighbor than being connected via the short attention span theatre of social media. You can point to things like “The Arab Spring” and the validity of social media, and I would say you are absolutely correct, however, the VAST majority of people I know on social media are not attempting to dig their society out from under a repressive regime. Most of the people I know are sharing random information, animal photos, ridiculous videos or SELF PROMOTING at their own repressive level. (And believe me, A LOT of people are at wits end about this self promotion situation.)

Today I was attempting to communicate with someone I had never met. I thought she lived here in New Mexico but I found out she is now living in a remote section of a remote region of a remote country in Latin America. When I discovered her contact information I was at first bummed to see only a mailing address. My first thought was “How is that possible?” This is a first world, progressive, semi-famous person, she HAS to have more than that. Then I realized how great it was. Ten minutes later I had my letter written, my envelope out and a guestimate of the currency required to actually get my post to her doorstep. If you want to communicate with her you have to really put some effort in, which is a great way to cut out the noise of modern “communication.”

Effort. Ah, that slippery slope. I’ve been saying for ten years that convenience and conformity will be what kills professional photography in the end(an opinion that rankles more than a few folks), and I see social as being part of the problem. Now look, is social media inherently evil? I don’t actually know. If you have your ear to the ground and hear the rumblings of corporate driven data mining then all bets are off. It’s been said if you are on social media YOU are the commodity being traded. I’ll let you decide about all this. I’m speaking only of my realization that social media holds no upside to me because when I’m communicating with you I actually want you. I want the truthful you, the calm and centered you and the you that is allowing me to tap your undivided attention, and from what I can tell that you doesn’t exist on Facebook. Never has, never will. In fact I find it difficult to even be around “Facebookers” or “Instagramers” because they seem perpetually distracted, filtering every moment through the lens of the incessant share. I’ve also been around those we begin their conversations with “Did you see such and such on Facebook?” and when I reply “I’m not on Facebook,” it doesn’t even register, and within seconds they ask again “Well, did you see what so and so said on Facebook?”

The responses to my departure have been interesting, and in some cases akin to me saying “I’m going to rob that liquor store across the street.” There were gasps, questions, incredulous faces and shocking statements about not being able to promote my work or survive as a photographer.(I haven’t been a photographer in over three years, something I’ve written about and posted on social media endlessly, which tells you how many people are actually reading the content.)

Again, this post and this action is simply my opinion, nothing more, and you could dispute or dispel any or all of these points. I will leave you to it because, not to be callus, I don’t care. A retouching friend in LA once said to me, regarding digital retouching, “We are living in an age we will look back on and cringe, a time when those in the future will look at our work and say these people just didn’t know when to say when.” I feel the same about this age of social media. I think we will look back at the time and the lives we donated and cringe.

In a ten year period we went from claiming the technology was the greatest thing in human history to a technoconsumerism society where retreats are being held to detox people off of the same technology. I spoke to a film director in Los Angeles who said he now has to tell guests at his gatherings to pile their phones in the center of a table and anyone caught reaching for their device is politely asked to leave. Same for another who explained at business dinners anyone caught on social media has to pay the entire bill.

Perhaps I’m making too much of this. Perhaps I’m not. Again, it all comes down to undivided attention, something I’m finding so rare it feels like it should be on the endangered species list.

After finishing this post I began the great deletion process, four networks so far, and I have to say, they do NOT make it easy. Facebook wasn’t bad, but several other sites made it so confusing it reeked of a ploy to just get you to say “Ah screw it, I can’t figure it out, I’ll just leave it.” Direct support was nowhere to be found. Online tutorials showed screens and menus that did not exist in my account. I also said “Screw it,” but instead of leaving as is I just deleted what I could. Good luck out there.

What is really interesting to me is since I deleted these darn things, which as you now know hasn’t been long, I noticed something. Social media had become my default brain space. When I was in between tasks, or even tabs, my brain would say “You should check your social media accounts.” Subliminal. “Oh, you have a free second…check your accounts.” And now, I have nothing to check. I’m curious just how much time I’m going to save and just how much of that time and energy I can channel, funnel or apply to actual work?

Now, if there is ANYONE who read this far you might be asking “Well, you still have a blog and you still have Twitter, so you really AREN’T off social media.” Yep, true. I will continue to blog because I love writing, and if you know about this blog you know I’m long winded and prefer long-form “journalism.” Twitter for me is a great tool for delivering information. It was the first social media site I used and will probably be the last. I can’t possibly follow the stream, so Twitter doesn’t enter my mental space like the others do.

You see I have a new agenda in life, and to achieve what I’m after will require every once of time, energy, luck and focus, and anything that takes away from this I can no longer afford to be a part of. So, if you still have any interest in communicating with me, I’m an easy guy to find. Email, phone, or even a letter if you see fit.

99 Comments on “Read: Why I Deleted my Social Media Accounts”

  1. First time I read this I was taking a break at work. Yup! Checking my phone … Anyway, I hate typing on a phone so I decided I will answer later on. I forgot. I’m not big into following people and commenting. It has to be something I like and I have to have time to spend on that and I have to be on the mood for it.
    Yes I have social media. No I don’t use it much (and this is true). My average posting on Instagram … once in a while. My average posting on Twiter … once in a while x3. Facebook … pretty much abandoned.
    As well as you I like the real interaction with people. Face to face. Let’s chat over a coffee. Dinner? Sure. Grab a beer? Always. That is my social media. I wish everyone was the same way. Unfortunately not many think like that.

    One thing I completely disagree with you, and one thing only. It is when you said this:
    [… There were gasps, questions, incredulous faces and shocking statements about not being able to promote my work or survive as a photographer.(I haven’t been a photographer in over three years, something I’ve written about and posted on social media endlessly, which tells you how many people are actually reading the content.) …]
    You might not feel as a photographer anymore. At least not for the last three years. Ok. I get it. I read you blog post. But you still a photographer. You were. You are. You always will. You are other things too, and they are taking over now, but you ARE a photographer.

    Oh! Don’t worry about being Sebastiao Salgado. Only Sebastiao Salgado can be Sebastiao Salgado, in the same way that only Daniel Milnor can be Daniel Milnor. There are many ways of leaving a legacy in this world. You keep doing your thing. That is what matters.

    1. Erlantz,
      Thanks for those words. I guess it’s that I don’t consider myself a photographer because when I hear that title it contains certain aspects. Working full time being one. I hold the title of “photographer” sacred. When I pulled the ripcord I left that world and that title. Now, I feel like more of a collector, or journalist, than photographer, but it doesn’t really matter.

      1. Hi Daniel,
        I understand what you mean. And I want to apologize if I came too strong to that paragraph of your text. You know better than anyone who and what you are and I ain’t my business to put a tag on you. Not that I was trying to anyway. My comment was more in the line that I believe you are photographer because you look at the world and see it as images. Even when you write you can see that in the way you describe things. And because I really respect your work and I would like to see more of it. You know … winter is here, creative people we can get a little down, and sometimes we need a little kick to reactivate ourselves.
        But as I said, you know better than anyone who you are and where you wanna go in your life. I’ll sit here in my screwed IKEA chair, in front of my lap top. When I have time. And I will keep enjoying your posts while zipping on my coffee. Whatever come next I’m sure will be interesting.

  2. This is my absolutely favorite blog post from you! It really makes me reconsider my Social Media usage to at least cut way down to only a couple of them. I have some fellow artist friends who have gotten off Social Media due to the time sucker it is. No regrets. How about you? Are you still going strong?

    Cheers,

    Carrie

  3. Hello,

    I found this post on your previous site while I was searching for articles about people who left social media, and why. I’ve been struggling with this subject for a while, and finally broke free of a bunch of major and popular sites in the spring. What’s left is minimal, and I will end up trimming that too eventually.

    What I really love about this post is how it addresses being an artist on social media. You have articulated many of the things I’ve been trying to communicate to other artists who I left behind, the major part of them on Facebook. I could not agree with you more.

    From time to time, I still write about what made me flee many of these sites for good. I will want to include a link to this post the next time I write on the subject.

    In the meanwhile, very glad to know I’m not the only one who finds all this madness, well, nauseating.

    1. Jennifer,

      After doing this for quite some time now, both being away from social media and being a photographer(I’m not anymore) I can say with certainty the most important thing you can do is make YOUR work. Spending time on social, in rare instances, can assist in that matter, but most of the time it’s a complete and total brain shattering waste of time. I’ve seen more than a few good creators go off the deep end on social, and in the process trade great work for a great following. Ultimately the history books will remain, and outside of a wikipedia post about who had the absolute largest following, few of these people will remain or be remembered. Social was developed for people to stay in touch, and it works well in this regard. The marketing monster it has become is now creating it’s own weather system.

      1. Although, I have to say that even keeping in touch via an interface like Facebook felt like a game to me from the beginning. Not to mention impersonal. The email function within was like any other and helped one on one conversation (as opposed to the “five thousand friends kill all birds with one stone mass update”), but this past spring when they “opened the firehose” to sending data even from that area to marketers so they could target you from those particular conversations – I found that egregious. At this point, being a part of an email system NOT attached to marketing to you and mining your personal information is a research project, given that before these companies went really heavy and blatantly on the data mining for their dollars, these systems were pretty much like mail, or more so anyway than they have become – and so to change all my email addresses to a better system… well I’ll have to do it eventually I suppose. So yeah, even keeping in touch in a personal and private manner, outside of texting, phoning, and getting together in person, has become a big cleanup job after the fact with regard to email. Social media with their exchange of your privacy and data for free is not the answer.

        As for the publishing portion – your online face – how tiring. I don’t get paid for performing. I’m not writing for the amusement of others, nor sharing my work for that reason – I share because I have to get something out of my system, and if there’s someone else who gets it, terrific. I used to be a hermit and not really share outside of family and friends, but I think that there’s a benefit both for the artist and others who experience there art which allows for another way of connecting, so it’s good to share your work – just not through a stupid “like” system. And, as a result of sharing my work online, I’ve found some great people all around the world, but none of them came from Facebook – I found them all on sites dedicated to filmmaking and digital art, all of which had some forum for discussion which we used to get to real stuff beyond the stupid like thing – shop and technical talk, talk about other art related topics. And we still keep in touch – outside of places like Facebook. We still share our work with one another, encourage each other, and collaborate. Just not at a manic 24/7 drug addicted pace.

        The thing that I find that clashes badly with the whole social media, marketing, business, promotion thing, is that making art takes solitude. Throwing photo after photo into cyberspace, every day, I mean, yeah one must be thinking that one must share everything one makes – and all the time. Why? How is that normal? Doesn’t that turn into a job? Doesn’t that turn you into someone else in cyberspace, but some weird extremely thin facet of you, an expression of your insecurity, or pomposity, or depression, or anything might not really want the world to think is ALL of you? How do you get depth out of that distorted sliver? Unless you’re doing this as a project which comes with a critical look at all of this – at the end. Because it’s got to be completed, right? Or it just melds into the blob that is art posted on social media. And if you’re an artist, you’re not likely into, nor used to, being a blob in the world.

        Yep. I am very selfish about doing my own work, in my own way. It’s the only thing I really have that is totally under my own control. I would be crazy to give that power over to anyone. I just can’t do that.

        1. Jennifer,
          You HAVE to be selfish, and solitude and stillness are typically required as well. Social is the whirlwind that causes more harm than good. It MIGHT build you a following, but typically the people with largest followings make the least impressive work. Why? Because building an audience isn’t about great work. Great work takes time that takes away from audience building time. The best artists I’ve ever met on not on social. They just make work. I think what you find in your groups outside of FB is conversation and consideration. Real dialogue.

          1. Yes. !

            Just apropos of art and hype, I found this article I stumbled upon recently great:
            http://cphmag.com/on-trends/

            I think it hit the nail on the head about art vs. whatever’s going on in the world of the market, which is very, very much what the internet now is.

            It’s not easy to dig below all that to find people to have real dialogue with, but they exist, as do the rare ones I feel I can relate to in the real world on a deeper level (a very small world).

  4. Hi Daniel,

    For some reason I felt I needed to find articles/ blog posts from people who have deleted social media from their lives, before I did it, as it felt like the only way I could justify doing it was to see people who had done it successfully. This made me realise that it is an absolute addiction. Writing this I feel like I’m declaring my addiction at Alcoholics Anonymous or something. It is actually no different. Something that totally consumes our lives from the minute we wake to the minute we go to bed at night…and a hell of a lot in between. It’s even crept its way into our subconscious where without even knowing it, we are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram feeds and for what? to see something that might make us feel a little more inferior at life. It’s actually exhausting to think that I was filling my precious time on this earth by witnessing warped versions of other people’s lives and manipulated images of ‘reality’. I decided to take the jump and remove myself and start seeing the world through my eyes as opposed to through my phone and various social media accounts. Anyway, your post was excellent. Thank you.

    Vicki

    Ps. I’m an unsigned musician (alongside two ‘real’ jobs haha) and I had been under the false impression that the only way to ‘make it’ in this industry would be to plaster myself all over social media, every minute of every day. I’ve come to the decision that I’m more than content with making music that I’m happy with and if others like it then they will find it. Like we used to do in the past, successfully. I don’t need the constant likes and stroking of the ego to feel like I’ve done something I can be proud of. Ultimately it is consuming and breeds a need to be liked all the time at every given possibility. This is so unhealthy and quite frightening that this is the world we are living in. Anyway, thanks once again.

    1. Vicki,

      Was just watching a documentary about extreme athletes. They get out in the bush for a week or ten days and one of the guys says, “Geez, I look back and see how stupid it is to go through life staring at a device.” Amen. Same for social. It’s pure insanity. BUT, we are the middle of it now, and when someone is in the middle it’s almost impossible to see how silly the entire thing is. But when you get out and look back you will cringe that you were ever on it in the first place. Real life is out there and far more rewarding than the phonyville of social media.

  5. This definitely struck home. As a visual artist who has deleted all of my platforms, I am well on my journey of being organic in my life and creative intent. It’s amazing how much of a chunk it seemed to take out of me. Even more amazing how relieving it was. I’m learning to live and be a true artist. If possible I’d love to chat with you more about this topic. Thank you for sharing and being so transparent.

  6. >After finishing this post I began the great deletion process, four networks so far, and I have to say, they do NOT make it easy.

    That’s because you don’t know of the services that will make it easy for you, for example: http://www.accountkiller.com/en/

  7. I think that this article is talking about nothing. Most of the things you said are true, but very obvious and thats why they seems so true. You should read about Diogenes of Sinope a guy did the same thing you did couple of millennia ago.

    You are blaming the bread knife for killing a person, instead of blaming the person who used the bread knife for killing a person instead of cut the bread. I just don’t understand this kind of point of view.

    Deleting Facebook don’t let you free, is not a cage, this is just your personal feeling about social media, but as far as i know Social medias are inanimate things, no hand for tie you. Social media is not evil, bad use of social media is evil, bad parental education is evil, bad habits are evil (but cmon anybody have, we are humans!).

    I think this is a very opinionated and inconsistent way of express something. Like a person who quit to smoke and now is an anti-tobacco nazi. For instance if you think about it and ask your self couple of question, you will stop using the knife because once in a while you accidentally cut yourself? Less is more, or it was better when it was worst is an OLD bullshit and you guys should stop thinking in this way and start thinking about how to improve the way for people for learning to use tools in the right way.

    Internet has a lot of power, but if we have to discussed about is a terrible place. I will not running away from things i don’t like, i try to used it in the better way, in the way they are an helpful tool, not in the way i am the helpful tool for them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope
    http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/1/4279674/im-still-here-back-online-after-a-year-without-the-internet

  8. Dear Daniel,
    Please update us with how it is all going after two years of quitting social media. Please. Please 🙂

  9. Thanks for posting this article. I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I recently got rid of Facebook, Google +, and deleted the Twitter app off of my phone. Thinking about deleting my account for good. But indecisive. I’ve never had a Instagram or Snap Chat. I use Pinterest and YouTube 3-5 times max in a year… lol! It feels good to be free from it all and to get back to communicating with people I know without using an app on my phone. Now, I won’t have to look at my phone every 5 minutes. Hope your journey is going well. God bless

    1. KJ,
      The idea that you don’t have to look at your phone might seem like a trivial thing but it isn’t. When you stop you begin to realize just how out of control that reflex has become. Good luck, have fun.

  10. Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to find a way to be happier and more productive. I feel like all social media has done is bring me down. I’m always comparing myself to everyone else, and when I don’t get positive feedback (likes and such) from the world, I feel like a failure, especially being a teenager soon-to-be college student. I think what I hoped from social media is that I would make a lot of friends, surround myself with people who made me feel important. Instead, it’s made me jealous and depressed.

    I’m going to slowly work up the courage to delete a lot of accounts (including emails- why do I need 6 emails? It just makes it easier for me to spend money with all the sites where I’m on their mail listing). So… thank you 🙂

    1. Ezzy,
      Life outside social is far more interesting and far more real. Most of the truly inspirational people I meet are not on social. They are out doing great things, and have no reason to brag. Good luck.

  11. This reminds me of the time when I was so depressed that I decided to turn off all the notifications of social media on my phone. This decision lasted for about a month and during this time I surprisingly got ten times happier than before.

    Now I’ve been thinking about giving up social media for a while and I looked it up on google to see whether there’re any one sharing the same thoughts and I found your article which is really inspiring. Everyday when I’m with my family whether we’re having dinner at home or outside everyone is on their phone ALL the time and even if I hate getting on phones when I’m with people I care, I don’t really have a choice cause no one really cares about what you’re gonna say. And sadly it’s not just my family but basically everyone around me and people nowadays are just SO obsessed with phones because of all these social media and stuff and this is just really really sad.

    1. R,
      Yes, it can be a real drag. I try not to hang out with anyone who is so far gone. Nearly impossible these days. Good luck with your pursuit of happiness.

  12. Awesome !!! I recently deleted my facebook and instagram and have got the most strange looks when I tell my “friends”…they look at me like I have 10 heads! I feel like I am no longer a slave to social media and I am finally free! Now my life is mine to enjoy, whereas before I was making sure all of my followers could enjoy my pictures. It’s a great feeling. Thanks for your blog! It helped me realize I’m not crazy 🙂

    1. Gretchen,
      Nope, not crazy. You will be amazed at how much free time you have, and how enjoyable NOT sharing everything really is. Good luck.

  13. Hey Daniel, just wanted to say first, that your article really was truly amazing and the way you combine your words and sentences is truly captivating. My name is Emily and I’m 19 about to turn 2O, I literally came across your article because I was curious on what people had to say about deleting social media.. I actually had my Instagram deleted about a year ago because it was ruining myself as a human being, and I became Unconfident and inscecure and unfortanetly still feeling that way, and now I’m thinking maybe I should just delete it all… I love the part where you explained how people reacted to the fact that you deleted it and actually had no reaction at all and just repeated the question about if you saw “whatever” on Facebook because I encounter that almost every day with my Instagram… I really don’t find the selfies at all worth my time and when I look at others it scares me. But then again I feel like an outcast for not doing it… But I never have posted anything… Mixed feelings! But I just have a few questions for you… You mentioned that people are at wits end with the self promoting thing… I am actually caught in the middle with agreeing and I guess disagreeing only because my boyfriend is an actor and he thinks self promotion on social media is key… And I clearly want to be supportive and take his videos… But at the same time it drives me up the wall because every second should be spent being out there in person, which don’t get me wrong he does… So there, I’m stuck with the question does the self promotion actually help?! Instagram and Facebook like I mentioned before has ruined a lot of me especially with having a relationship because I can’t control who he follows… I can speak for many others too… Sorry I keep blabbering and if this doesn’t make any sense, I’ve been troubled with this for about two years now… And it feels so good to get it out! And discovering your article just now also made me feel much better..! Please let me hear your thoughts! Thanks!

    1. Emily,
      Thank you for taking time to write. Good questions. Social media by itself, at least in my opinion, isn’t a bad thing, but what we do with it can be overwhelming, phony and detrimental to actually making good work. As for self-promotion, sure it can work and can be a good thing. But what tends to happen on social is someone has success and millions of other people try to follow this success by copying what the other person did, in a sense creating a false identity which they then have to live up to. Others use things like IG as a portfolio, not bothering to try to BE anyone or anything, but just use the platform as a place to show their professional work. This is perhaps the best use of the platform but perhaps not what it was originally designed for. Don’t worry about this stuff. You can delete for now, see how things go and then decide what to do later. There is a great life out there ready to enjoy.

  14. Thank you ! Thank you! Thank you! For this post i needed to read this at this moment. I’ve been using social media as a way to take up space. It has ultimately become a distraction. Peace and Blessings to you .

  15. Oh Daniel man, you’ve caught me late at night and definitely made me think. I’m now reminiscing about about pre-Insta with a calm sense of nostalgia and strange lack of anxiety.

    1. Ross,
      I’m on IG again. For Blurb. A lot of people put a lot of stock in it. I don’t but I know I’m in the minority, and my goals in life are very different than most. I find life without all the noise to be better.

  16. Nicely written.
    I’ve been contemplating on getting out of this social web which drains most of my time and experience interaction in its actual sense and not virtually.
    Thanks.

  17. I’m so glad I read this post. I had recently deleted the apps to my social media and was certain it would help direct me to use my fullest potential in all of my doing by putting more time and effort into other and better things. I wasn’t yet full convinced so I decided to search it in google “why should I delete my social media”. First thing I found was this. This gave me much more of an understanding of how it is and the way it affects our lives. This really helped out a lot and I’m thankful for you putting the time and the effort to write something like this.

    1. Dean,
      Once you get a bit of distance from it you will look back and cringe. And suddenly you realize how addicted the people around you actually are.

  18. I loved your article. The reason I came across it is because I was contemplating on deleting my IG. This idea first came to my head when I recently thought it would be a good idea to try going snowshoeing – the first thing that came to my mind was ‘oh, this would be such a good photo for IG’… And of course I caught my thought process and it frightened me. I started to wonder if I do all or most of the things I do because I want to or because it will be a great addition to my beautiful curated ‘life’ on IG. I also find that IG prevents humans from being humble – we feel the need to show that our lives are very interesting and to validate our existence. I became worried by this thought and deleted IG – my friends are shocked and think I am overreacting but in reality I feel great – I woke up in the morning ready to check my phone and I realized I have nothing to check – there was a very beautiful feeling of freedom and an opportunity to do other things like meditating or reading a book.

    Thanks for the great article! Keep up the good work!

    1. Masha,
      Funny you say that. The same thing was happening to me. “Hey, that will look good on IG, wonder how many likes it will get.” THAT, to me, is the end of all things good in the world. Fake, phony, like building, curated nonsense.

  19. I literally just found this blog post and it could not have resonated with me more. I read every word and agreed with every little thing you said. It’s this battle I’ve been having for over a year and I’M NOT EVEN SURE WHY I FEEL LIKE IT IS THAT BIG OF A DEAL. It’s so saddening to see what has happened, but I do see myself going back to twitter and deleting everything else too, or making a blog or something. Some of the things we have in common is the dislike of social media, authentic, true and meaningful conversations, and long-winded “journalism”. It’s sad because even my mother has talked me out of deleting my social media. Events are created on social media. I don’t know how I’ll make it but I will. Enough is enough.

    1. Yazmin,
      Yes, it’s a strange scenario we find ourselves in. If if makes you feel any better just know that many of the most creative people I’ve ever met all avoid social media. What do they do instead? They make great work.

  20. I used to work professionally, full time in social media. My current job does not require that, thankfully. I have deleted all my accounts, save for one I need to run my work’s facebook page, as well as my linkedin.

    Sometimes, since I have the Facebook login for work, I look at things on there, especially in what’s “trending” and it is so much fluffiness. Indeed, many news sites are just fluff as well. The constant news cycle has left no room for depth. I have found myself even using news sites like I would have used facebook in the past – refreshing to see if there is anything new. It’s not helpful.

    So, as a way to still be connected to what is happening in the world, I have been signing up for news site email lists and then I can read it when I want, if I want, rather than using news sites with their constant feed of new, useless, information. When I get the notification in my email, and do finally look at it – I am finding the information is not very interesting anyway!

    I could talk for hours on this stuff, being a creative person (audio) and working in social full time. It has been a journey that is for sure!

    This line really spoke to me, as I was one of those championing all this, and still have talks online (videos) about this very thing, and now I have opted out entirely!

    “In a ten year period we went from claiming the technology was the greatest thing in human history to a technoconsumerism society where retreats are being held to detox people off of the same technology.”

    i actually feel bad now for telling people to jump on the social train at the expense of doing their real, creative work. I have even said in the past “if you are not on facebook, to many many people, you don’t exist.” I regret that..and now im not on there either. *le sigh*

    1. Rin,
      It’s a strange world out there, and when I hear someone say something like you mentioned “IF you are not on FB…you don’t exist,” I always cringe. Like a rep telling all photographers, “You HAVE to be on FB.” Actually, you don’t have to do anything. But perhaps this starts with the definition of “photographer.” Means different things to different people. What gets me is how fake people are on FB, photographers included. It’s so painfully obvious they are after something, so it’s not really them, it’s just a marketing version of them.

  21. Daniel,

    Enjoyed your blog. I am in the opposite position of most folks. I found your blog searching for why I should have a social media account! I am of the generation pre cordless phone and color TV. My lovely wife of 35 years, who is a creative (foot wear and sports wear apparel) and our daughter a budding opera soprano, both have been encouraging me to get either a FB or twitter account. Both use social media regularly. According to my wife and daughter I am a linear person, I enjoy analyzing numbers’ doing research and always taking the opposite position in a vocal discussion no matter what my real point of view is, helps to stimulate the conversation and broaden my thought process.

    Everything I have read on this blog pretty much sums up what I have been observing over the last couple of years. The interesting thing = there seems to be no generational, class, ethnic or gender distinction regarding the abusive use of social media. I am sure younger generations trend higher on abuse but just observing my own generation and peers, I think we are catching up. Just look at what Trump has accomplish with social media. Does not matter if you support him or not, he has profoundly changed our election process by simply using social media to his advantage. This does not mean there is not a positive place for social media. It is a great way for family and friends to stay connected, in my case with my daughter. She is all over the place performing, mainly the east coast and Europe. We live in the great NW, and would have to do a lot of traveling to see each performance. Now we have the opportunity to see some of her performances with live streaming or bits and pieces of a performance on social media, which I access via my wife. It is a great audition tool. It has allowed both parties in the audition process for an opera role to become more efficient and cost effective. The audition is real and must happen and she still has to put in the hard work on her craft 8 to 10 hrs a day.

    Enough bloviating, the question still remains whether or not to become a part of social media scene. Every positive seems to be negated by more negatives. I am not interested in being popular, having my whereabouts tracked, contact from unwelcome persons, or sharing my life. I have traded my professional career for retirement. For the moment access to the web, e-mail, mobile phone and text are enough. Never say never, my own social media account may happen some day, just not today.

    Thanks for this blog

    1. R,

      Thanks for taking the time to write this. What you say is the truth. There’s an upside to it and a downside. And no, there is no age discrimination. I’ve been with plenty of people my age who are firmly planted in the world of the “digital dead.” Hovering nervously on the edges of the conversation, punching that code every 90-seconds so they can “check in.” I don’t think I’ll ever be sucked in to that level. My generation of photographer was taught to point their cameras into the world. Nowadays it seems they make as many images of themselves as anything else. Sharing too much too often. But remember, getting hits on social spikes dopamine into the bloodstream, the same drug that is produced by gambling and drinking. It’s addictive. What we are looking at is generations of digital addicts. Seems strange but it’s true. And all the while the greediest people the world has ever seen are making more and more money by selling your personal data. Nobody wants to talk about this, but again, you can’t hide from the truth. I find life on the outside far more enjoyable.

  22. I just recently deleted all of my social media accounts (facebook, instagram, pinterest, ebay) and it hit me right away how often prople references something they saw on facebook. Social media has gotten out of control! Especially in los angeles where everyone takes a selfie almost every minute of their life. We have become so vain and self involved. Social media is NOT real life. It is what we want people to see. I see it so differently now, every interaction is so much more meaningful, because I am not buried in my phone checkig FB on the elevator, while I am walking. Wake up people there is a whole world out there and your 2 million FB friends are not really friends iftheg do not email, text or call you!

    1. Lisa,
      Thank you for writing. Social media isn’t real. It’s a curated phantasy built to acquire following. Not for everyone but for many. Los Angeles was the perfect incubator for this app. Everyone is trying to be someone else. It’s only natural. Social is an addiction for many people now. Getting likes releases the same drug into your system that you get from drinking alcohol or from gambling. Same same. People get addicted.

  23. Hi Daniel,

    Loved everything you said! I have been off facebook for 4 years now, off snapchat for 2 months, and off Instagram since last night. Its definitely not easy I feel like I’m in detox from an addiction and my brain is craving to check what other people are up to. But I want to experience life and what it has to offer through a first person point of view and stop the thinking of doing things just to post it for likes to seem cool and interesting. I didn’t like the person social media was turning me into: judgmental, braggy, careless, and an addict. When I’m around my family I see all my cousins on their phones and see the adults phone free talking and conversating about past times or just banter. I want to live a life of meaning and grow to my full potential I am 27 and feel excited of all the new things I plan to take on social media free. Things I want to do for me and not just to seem cool on social media!

    1. V,
      You might actually be detoxing. Dopamine. It’s addictive, and it’s what floods you body when you get likes on social. But after a few weeks you will begin to feel a sense of calm. At least that is what happened to me. Instagram life isn’t real. There is no time for real when there is money to be made and followings to enlarge. Good luck with the new path.

  24. I felt as if social media is strangling me(english is not my native language, so my pardons) so I was thinking about quitting for like half a year, until I really did it. I also felt that there are those stupid empty moments while I would normally have checked my facebook account or similar… and there are a LOT of these moments in the beginning. Made me think, what the hell was I doing for the past, what, 5 years of my life? Constant need to stare that digital display? Urgh…
    Anyhow, this is a great article you have written, had many good laughs. Thank you!

    Sincerely

    1. Fredy,

      When it becomes the default brain space, ala the empty moments, it’s all over. Don’t feel bad. First, the bulk of the population is still mired in the sickness, and the fact that you are out puts you in the creative minority. Nothing left to do besides make great work.

  25. Thank you for this post. I’ve known I was addicted to social media, mainly Facebook and instagram for a while. I would deactiveate them for a few days then log back on, I’d set goals and then give in and log back in sometimes even within the day. I’d always come up with excuses. I feel like I’ve literally been living my life thinking of my next post. I’m a young mother and I’ve wasted time on my phone that I should have been engaging with my kids. Today I permanently deleted my instagram, all data all followers, all likes all pictures GONE. I did the same for facebook. Everything gone. Then I read this and you summed up how I’ve been feeling so well. Absolutely love this. My children are young and I’m going to be better for them. I think I’m on the road to swapping my iPhone for a non-smart phone. Thanks again for this beautiful post.

    1. Sierra,
      Baby steps. After a few weeks you will look back and laugh at the silliness of it all. Just keep plugging. Real life is way more interesting. Good luck and thanks for reading. And you are not alone living post to post. It’s a sickness.

  26. Loved it.

    So I found this having still got a phone trigger, having only recently taken a vacation from social media. I’ve been backing off for a long while for many reasons. As the days go on I don’t miss it and I’m finding my fingers reaching for books a lot more than my phone.
    Fact is I’ve filtered my social media for a long time to filter my view of the world. My decision to take a break came from that safe boundary being broken and seeing something I don’t like. I can’t control that but I can control if I’m on them to see it. I’ve not closed the accounts, just deleted the apps and stayed away. I was trying to resolve why I keep social media for work. Certain places like my FB page have certainly helped create more customers. But Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest combined have done bupkis, yet I spend so much time & effort on them, why. All the time and energy I spend on there may generate likes but the outcome just isn’t worth the efforts. I want to spread good vibes but if I put all that energy into my work or into time off for me, everyone benefits.
    I’m tired of being tagged in posts. I’d rather people spoke in person if they ‘like’ my work. I’m tired of the notifications, tired of the upkeep of inbox messages and fed up of the reason I do it all which is because I choose to.
    Yes it’s an addiction to want to know where my phone is and what just buzzed. Tired of it. I want to look up and only take pictures I want in frames at home. I want to do what I did today and reach to to meet friends for coffee, not send a funny gif. The time I put in to promote work I want to invest in studying more research. The panics about the right hashtags are pointless if I’ve no time to rest and switch off.

    Good post and great points made.

    1. MF,

      You would be better off taking the time you spend on social and going outside to stare at the sky. Give it a few weeks to work its way out of your system and you will be far better off. And you will feel better. It’s an addiction, and in the grand scheme has set up back as a population. The real world is far more interesting.

  27. Getting off social media was one of the best things I’ve done. Despite the fact I wouldn’t post often, I didn’t realize how much time I was spending on them and just how much they were impacting my perspective.

    Now I have plenty of time to focus on self-improvement, my own goals, and real, genuine relationships. All the time we spend on social media really causes us to miss out on the incredible beauty all around us that we usually take for granted.

    There’s no desire whatsoever to go back. I’d recommend it for anyone.

  28. You are beautiful. Seriously. Thank God others like this understand the deeper breathing and how slow time is actually. And it’s freaking amazing . In fact even typing this sickened me a bit because it’s on the phone..and it’s media to people again I don’t know. And editing it for spelling errors….eh. . Phone is for a call. For me at least now. And it’s awesome. This will be my last entry anywhere.

  29. Hey, Daniel.
    Nice post, bro!
    It’s kinda weird how I decided to leave several of social networks behind me, but it involved technology anyways.

    Well, at least, for the past 6 years since I’ve had my first phone (2010), I’ve always been an technology enthusiastic person. At that time the only social network I were on was Orkut, very popular here in Brazil at the time. Then I created a Facebook, Twitter, Google account an so on. And I was not that addicted to FB, but was a heavy user. Then I bought a new phone in 2013, and was even more interested in technology in general. FB was still going strong for me. Then, in 2015, I bought an iPhone, and got even more involved in cellphones, and technology. And then I realized I was not only addicted to social network, but cellphone also.

    Now here’s the kinda weird part, I made my decision to leave it all behind.
    As an Apple fan, yesterday I was watching WWDC17, an Apple event for developers to show what’s coming for iPhone, iPad software. And before it started, I thought to myself: “If they don’t announce anything nice, I’ll stop following iOS news, Apple, news phones coming out and technology in general”, as I was doing since 2010. And by the end of the event I was so disappointed from what they announced, as I was already expecting that from them, I started my cleaning up from my addiction to technology. I started unsubscribing from technology related channels on YouTube. Apple channels as well. Then, today I’ve decided to start a fully fresh social network-free life. Started deleting Snapchat, Instagram and Tumblr. Hadn’t posted anything at all in any of them since starting using those anyways hehe. I after reading your post here, I’m seriously thinking about deleting Facebook as well, since I’m not visiting and stopped enjoying it for more than a year. I think for now, I’ll just keep my Twitter account to know what’s happening in the world, and don’t get fully uninformed. And YouTube (Google) account for study, learning purposes. Now only use my phone to listen to music, visiting twitter and YouTube 2, 3 times max a day and that’s about it. Since I started this “new” life recently, and don’t have much to talk about it, I’ll start going out more with my true friends, reading books, a thing I don’t do in years, try to recover at least a bit of my vision as I’ve lost at 20% of it in these years of staring at computers and smartphones screens. And ffs enjoy my life as a 21-years-old not so young man, as I barely ever go out to party haha. I’ll bookmark this page and comeback here in a few months to post an update of how it is going for me. See ya!

    1. Guiherme,
      You made a very important realization. Two actually. One, you have actual real friends. However, if they are all addicted to tech then you owe it to yourself to find NEW friends. Being around addicted friends isn’t fun. In fact, at times, it feels like you aren’t even there because their addiction is too strong. Also, as a 21-year-old, you are REQUIRED to go to the party. You are REQUIRED to go out into the world and explore. Without technology. Get dirty. And two, you can never win with technology. It will always be changing, upgrading and providing something you can never quite get to. Just move on. Life on the outside is better.

  30. Well written! I’ve finished reading it. I currently deleted my social medias too. Contemplating on deleting my tumblr too because I wan’t a real site for my blog. What I noticed with myself now is that, I’m starting to read slowly. Before when I still had my facebook account I immediately search for the important details etc. without reading the whole article or whatsoever. I think it’ll definitely improve my speech and grammar too.(lol) Cheers to us!

    1. Maria,
      Detaching from social will put you in the slow lane when it comes to thinking but you will actually start to get the full story. The next step is to avoid going online unless you HAVE to.

  31. Dear Daniel.

    Thank you for your writing. About 6 weeks ago I deleted my Facebook page. I had a shocking realization after my son was in a motorcycle accident. (He is okay). There was something about his accident that jolted me awake. It was like this light when on and I knew that I could no longer participate in the fake world of Facebook. The reality was that it could have taken his life and I found myself grieving and aching inside in such a way that I knew that the only way to truly cherish people and truly be involved in life was to get out and live it. I find myself making more time for the friends that I love. Going to the ocean, making coffee dates, dinner dates etc. And I make a point to reach out to my son very often. He reaches out to me more too. Everything feels so much more alive to me. My work as a massage therapist has changed too. I feel so much more present. I deleted my business page at the same time as my personal page. Amazing how the world kept spinning and life went on. Only now I feel life so much more fully. It is interesting to interact with my boyfriend who is on Facebook. I can’t stand when he “updates” me on things he sees on FB. It is shocking to my system and the more I am away from it, the more freedom I experience, and the less patience I have with any of it. I am so aware now of the addiction of social media that has permeated our culture. Recently I was at the ocean watching the sunset. There were groups of people at different times taking photos of themselves. Posing with the ocean in the background. Taking photo after photo……..20 minutes at a time……and not once did they just stand there and look at the ocean. It only served as a backdrop for their photo op. I know for sure, that if I had not bailed on social media, I would not have even noticed this strange thing happening in front of me while this gorgeous sunset did its majic on my eyes and soul. I would have been that girl trying to get the perfect picture to post on fb. Thank you for validating so much of my experience in bowing out of the social media fake world.
    Kindly,
    AJ

    1. AJ,
      Life on the outside is far richer and more authentic. I write this after posting on IG, or at least doing so yesterday. I’m still on both Twitter, which I never left due to being asked to refrain from deleting, and also on IG, again after being asked to have an account by my employer, something I’m happy to do because I love my job. But, I dream about deletion nearly everyday. I’m guessing you will need two weeks to detox. After that you will look back in amazement at how you could have been so involved. I know I did. Getting out is like being told a secret. Best of luck and thanks for taking the time to write.

  32. Dear Daniel,

    This article is truly a breath of fresh air. For the last several years I have been on and off of social media, and finally I decided to quit for good. It felt like a 1,000 pound weight was lifted off of my shoulders. In a digital environment of having 238 so-called “friends”, I had never felt so lonely, and even hurt at times. As I was working yesterday, I prayed, pondered, and finally deleted every “friend”, and then permanently deleted my Facebook account. Right after that, I deleted my Instagram account, and today, I deleted my Linkedin (which I never used). I am officially social media free. I just wanted to search out articles about others who have done the same. This is just my own personal preference and I absolutely do not judge anyone who has the social media apps. I just can’t do it. I want to spend my time with my husband, and two daughters who are growing up way to fast. I want to spend time with friends face-to-face, and share my “real” life with them; not just the life that can seem to look so perfect on social media. There was a person who was on my social media with whom I had a friendship with, and was very hurt by. I never heard from her, but she was sure to look at all of my pictures. So, for me, it was a cheap way for people who really don’t care about you to see what you are doing. It’s not for me, and makes me sad to even think about that. So, again, I really appreciate you typing up this blog article. Thank you…I know that it is helping so many people who are truly having a difficult time stepping away from social media. I was born in the early 70’s and am so glad that this was not a struggle. Thank you again.

    1. Natalie,

      “Nobody looks up anymore,” someone said to me yesterday, and I agree. Moving from update to update, always wondering how things will be received. Will your life garner enough attention, likes, etc. If I told you fifteen years ago everyone around you would be moving through life staring at a small piece of metal and plastic you would laugh me off. And yet here we are. I had someone say to me recently, “My son is an addict,” referring to another screen junkie. Not sure what the solution is. And all the while, in the background, the makers of these things, and platforms, enrich themselves beyond comprehension. Then you find out what these same people are like in their “real” lives and it makes it that much more cringe worthy. I think you will find life on the outside far more enriching.

  33. I wrote about the same subject this morning after deleting my Instagram account. As a very active Social Media user I was getting worried at how much time I was spending looking and interacting with complete strangers on these networks and not actually getting on and living my life.

    It’s interesting how you still keep LinkedIn, as do I, but I am planning to lose it as well.

    Here are my thoughts on the subject:

    http://www.kopanosmedia.co.uk/why-i-deleted-all-my-social-media-accounts/

    1. Tom,
      I have to do an update because I’m still on LI but rarely if ever spend more than 10-seconds on it. But I’m also still on Twitter and IG, both for work, which doesn’t make much sense. I deleted IG but was asked to go back on, but I’m not sure I’m using it in a way what actually helps anyone. Surely, not myself. It’s all so strange and consuming.

      1. Daniel,

        I’m still on LinkedIn as I signed up for a trial of their premium service and it won’t let me delete my account until that’s ended. Strangey, since writing my post I’ve found some use out of it by connecting with certain industry people and opening a conversation. Let’s see if it goes anywhere. I also went back on IG so I can communicate with some people I am following on there, but spent a whole afternoon unfollowing accounts that were just filling my feed with noise.

        I’m still off Facebook and Twitter and don’t miss them at all.

        1. Tom,
          I never deleted LinkedIn. I only go on it to respond to requests then turn it off. Work asked me to stay on Twitter, so I did, then asked me to go back on IG. I balked, but also didn’t want to be a jerk, and I love my job, so I went back. However, I much prefer the dialogue of this blog and I’m also about to launch a new photography site.

  34. Daniel,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed being off of all social media. I have been so much more productive, and spend quality time with my husband and children. I absolutely love it! I know who my real “friends” are, and enjoy those relationships in real time!

    1. Natalie,
      Isn’t it funny how fast real people take over when you give yourself a chance to disconnect? Took me about two weeks of detox to realize how nuts that digital path really is.

      1. Daniel,

        Yes! I have been so incredibly productive, and love having the freedom of putting my phone away, and not having a care in the world about what is going on in the social media realm. 🙂 I have a beautiful family and wonderful friends to give that attention to. It is so amazing to me how fast we get addicted to social media. It gives us a false sense of security, and that is something that I don’t want or need. I know who the people in my life are that truly care about me and my family, and vice versa. Thank you so much for your response. It is great to read what others have written, and to also know that more and more people are realizing what they can do with their precious time. I do not judge anyone who enjoys being on social media. It was not a positive for me at all. It actually gave me anxiety, and I never felt more alone being in the midst of 238 fake “friends” on Facebook. I also felt that I needed to post every picture of my kiddos (not that I don’t want to brag about them or show them off). It is a wonderful feeling to take pictures, and not feel like I have to post them everywhere…I just have them to show my friends, and for my own keepsake. Have a wonderful 4th, and thank you again for providing a forum where we can be honest and expressive. 🙂

        1. Natalie,
          I had to sign up for FB for a live stream I’m doing today. As soon as it’s over………

          1. I have no judgement on anyone who uses Facebook, or any other means of social media. It’s just not for me. I have gone on and off hundreds of times, and finally decided to permanently, NEVER go back on.

          2. Natalie,
            I had to create an account last week, for a FB live event. Feels odd.

  35. I moved away from the US about seven years ago, and at first SM was a great way to connect with folks back home, make connections in my new country, and find clients for my freelance business. I was a very early TW adopter, but I had to abandon my first account because I had a stalker (too bad because I had some famous followers, which was fun). I added FB because most of my clients preferred that over TW. I never really used LI (although I’m starting to now), and I use Pinterest like a giant magazine, not to talk with anyone.

    Then a couple of years ago, it all got icky. I got the impression my ex spouse was a little too nosy about my SM accounts. People who were supposedly friends were sniping at each other over FB. An elderly friend of mine couldn’t differentiate between private messaging and my public page and posted all kinds of personal content in the wrong place. The same people from HS who wouldn’t let me sit at their lunch table wouldn’t accept my friend requests. Seriously, it was over 30 years later.

    I ultimately just stopped participating in TW, leaving the account alone and deactivated my FB account. I’ve made a career transition now, and many of the people I connected with through FB would be useful to “know” again. And I was hired to promote a product in my industry, which also means managing their SM. I haven’t reactivated my FB account yet, but I fear I will have to soon. The client is already complaining that he can’t find me on there (like, what does that prove?), and he’s upset that he doesn’t have enough TW followers. Does he think I can hold a gun to people’s heads and make them follow him? He says its because we haven’t posted enough to the account, and I’m trying to gently get him to understand that with only nine followers, it’s not worth it yet. Sigh…

    I do know that since leaving SM, I’ve read more books and advanced my career more than I ever anticipated. I can’t say that I’ve connected any differently with locals IRL, since I was already doing that. My goal is to go back on SM long enough to launch my client’s product, reconnect with a few potential clients, and then call it quits again. In the last several years, I’ve lived without heat, running water, hot water, a stove, and electricity. I think I can handle being without Facebook again, and I’m already looking forward to it.

    Thanks for your post–nicely written. BTW it showed up under a search of what to expect when you reactivate social media after a long time LOL.

  36. I recently cut ties with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I only keep,YouTube, because some school assignments are there. (And I listen to videos instead of using headphones while doing housework.) It is so empowering and liberating! I’ve become more creative with my time and lots of amazing projects are blossoming. It also creeped me out a bit, with how games/apps have links to Facebook and offer bonuses for involving FB friends…. waaaay big brother. Please, drink the Kool-Aid.

    1. Donna,
      Glad you cut the cord. Things like IG and FB only exist to sell your data and information. They go far deeper than you can imagine, and it will only get worse.

  37. I am 45 years old. When I was 37, my now Ex-husband had gotten a Facebook account. (His doing so ended up being the start of his affair). I knew very little about FB, in fact, I thought it was just for teenagers. I had moved away as an young adult, and had no desire to talk to anyone really that I had went to school with. Out of just wanting to be a part of something, and seeing my husband on Facebook, I wanted one. I asked my then 14 year old daughter to sign me up, and show me the ropes. I sat there with her while she put all my information in, and got me all started. She got up from the chair, and said, “ok.. there you go.” I sat down, and stared at the computer screen.. and said, “uh.. what do I do?” She laughed, and said, “you just type what you are feeling or what you did this morning, or whatever you want.” I sat there for a minute, and finally said, “but why would I do that?.. who cares what I was doing this morning or my thoughts about a certain subject.” I did not get it at all. Eventually (about 2 weeks total) I was friending this person and that person, this old high school classmate, my old neighbor.. you name it. I was letting everyone know what I was thinking. I was in.

    I was so in, that I became crazy addicted. I was posting something, then checking every few minutes to see if someone had liked my post or had replied. I was nuts with FB. I posted Hilarious (well, I thought they were) memes, pics of vacation.. you name it. Then I ended up getting together with friends that I had reconnected with through FB, and it was on even more. I started going out to bars, going to parties, and all the while posting on FB, and checking my FB like a mad woman. By the way, I divorced all within 6 months of getting my FB, which actually had a lot to do with my divorce. My Ex was communicating with his affair through FB, and I met someone that was a friend of a friend from FB, and we are now married. It wasn’t until after about two years after getting my FB that I realized I was so sucked in that it couldn’t be healthy. I realized I was 100% addicted. Then, I started to slowly change. I no longer cared what everyone had to say on a certain subject, or what my “friends” had eaten, or cooked, or where they had been, or just all the nonsense that goes with almost every post that I was reading. Then, I finally didn’t feel the need to post every move I made, or where I was, or my vacation pics, (I never posted the food I cooked or ate.. That means something, doesn’t it?) I started to not want to feel like this thing had some kind of power over me. I realized that I could have an experience, and not have to let the world know about it. I could savor it all by myself. I just wanted to enjoy my life, my kids, my animals, everything without wanting to share it with everyone. I no longer needed that approval. Hey! Look at me vacationing in Florida. Oh.. LOOK at me at this awesome bar! or Hey, look at me this morning, ain’t I something special? It was no longer for me. And, I wanted out.

    That was over 6 years ago if my math is right. I have had another child since then. No pics of her online, or her Reveal party (I didn’t have one actually), or her birthday pics. We have visited Florida, and there were no pics of us riding dolphins on social media. No one on FB knows we bought another house. Just are friends that we actually talk to or family that talk to know because they’ve been to the new house.

    I am not saying that FB is bad. Or that it doesn’t connect many many people. It definitely does, and it has it’s great things but for me personally, I could no longer let this thing have that much control of me. I wanted my life back. If I go to a park, or a party, or I am getting ready to eat the most amazing dinner I have ever seen, I don’t feel the need to let everyone I know through social media know about it. That is an amazing feeling in itself. To just live for the moment, and not be preoccupied with having to post something and waiting for everyone’s reactions.

    I have no regret of having absolutely no social media in over 6 years. My life is personal, and I want to keep it that way from now on.

    1. Kim,

      You don’t have to say it. I’ll say it for you. “FB is bad.” The fact that you can distance yourself and look back is a good thing. You are outside the grip with a wide open road in front of you. Sorry to hear about the split and the divorce. Can’t be easy, but at least you are living your new life. And life without this stuff is the only actual life. Good luck, have fun. Thanks for reading.

  38. I have been off of ALL social media since the beginning of July, and my life has been wonderful. I love that I am not consumed on my phone by checking every second. I love that I am spending quality time with my husband and children, and not feeling like I have to post every picture I take. I love having my privacy back, and knowing who my “real” friends are. Life is too short to feel like we have to be connected every second of every day. Embrace each moment….social media free!!! 🙂

    1. Natalie,
      When I meet new people who I like I always tell them, “I don’t want to know you on social because I know it’s not the real you.” And if I only see them or talk to them once a year, but it’s really them, then I’m okay with that.

      1. An update for me – I feel like life just keeps getting better and more “real” the longer I’ve been away. Your comment on getting to know the real person really resonates too – I’ve found myself explaining the same thing to people.

        Seeing something on social media and discussing it with friends are two very unique experiences. Usually the real story is either very different from what they posted, or in more than a few cases, the complete opposite.

        Social media is a production and you’ll never truly get to know or understand anyone through it’s consumption.

        I’m also finding it tougher to interact in-person with consistent social media users. There often seems to be an inability to get into engaged, sustained, deep conversations. Attention spans are shorter, and conversational interest seems to align directly with self-interest, just as it usually does in the world of social media.

        All of this does make one appreciate just how ingenious social media is at generating desire and want. Despite the fact that we know it’s a production, we still tend to look at those pictures and create a story in our head based on the person’s content we’re consuming. Just goes to show how powerful it is in amplifying any insecurity to manipulate us.

        As I tell my friends, it can be difficult to recognize this when you’re part of it and generating content for them.

        When it’s all said and done, the decision to get off seems wiser by the day.

        1. Sean,
          Social media companies have addiction teams to maximize the effectiveness of the platform. I too find it difficult to be around heavy users. They are never actually there. And as we all know, these platforms are built on lies, on the idea that the goal is to be liked, and frankly most people have a darkside you might see in person but never online.

    1. Ronan,
      With what is happening in the news as of late I think we are beginning to get a better pictures of the companies like FB. I think the idea of these things being there to simply connect us is a story that just doesn’t hold water. However, people are so addicted I don’t think it will matter.

  39. I’m got sick from it. People genuinely think people care. No. If someone needs me, text me. Shit is showing how dumb we are.

  40. Hi Daniel,

    Glad to read your words on this, I think I could write a couple of books on what my personal experiences have been with Facebook. I’ve deleted all my social media accounts too, I only use email now a days. The last and only emailaccount I still have is with gmail and will be deleted soon too, going back to having an account with my local provider. At first I started real innocent and sort of very happy with with all this online connecting, made friends, easy way to keep in touch with those abroad but when Facebook became more popular I also immediately felt how more isolated i became and all my friends, even the ones that live in the same town as I do were not into normal social contacts anymore, especially when things are not going very well with someone, its very easy (way too easy if you ask me) to be discarded nowadays. Yes, lonely as I was, I lost myself in facebook, because all my “friends” were out there and it has been an easy way for me to make new contacts because I didn’t have much friends because of early childhood trauma. I read a lot and I learned a lot there, but always missed the normal, loving and fun interaction with real human beings, usually accompanied by something to eat or to drink or listening to music together – in or outdoors. Things I never really grew up with anyway. Next to that I discovered I had an ex-boyfriend who stalked and gaslighted me via this medium and used my real and online friends to isolate me even more. I started yelling (aka speaking my truth in caps lock) and even more people started to think I was/am crazy. I also warned a lot of people that this medium is also being used by certain individuals and organizations to target certain individuals to get them (back) into their mindcontrol program. Because if you do some deeper research in all of this, that’s where one might end up. I also have noticed a lot of good things started and were initiated because people connected and started projects that actually give a shit about something, and do something meaningful somewhere on this planet. Unfortunately I am one of those people who has a shitload of ideas but does not have the means and/or likeminded-spirited people to actually go do stuff together. Plus I got sabotaged and threatened for it, so I am sorry to say, but I gave up. Because I’m just a single girl who has a daughter that she doesn’t want to see killed because her mom has some revolutionary ideas and had a boyfriend once who turned out te be a planetary asshole. Plus…. the amount of bullshit (aka disinformation) that has been spread throughout the ages which now has found its way via the internet is huge. Sure, less trees are being cut since we went digital (my gullible hope talking here) but the stories may have become even more fragmented and are easier to manipulate more then ever. So, writing this I also realize its just another double edged sword. It’s just a tool. Just another tool that can start wars or help bring people together in peace. But is that ever possible? I’m the kind of girl that wants everybody happy and healthy, off drugs, having natural clean water available and organic food for free for all of us, machines running on water etc. Because, well….. IT’S FUCKING POSSIBLE …..

    I’m not a hippy, religious, scientific or artistic and do not belong to any group of whatever. Just a multiple discarded individual. I love things and I hate things. I’m pro life most of the time. Sure, death seems to be a part of this reality, but the fucker and his squad don’t have to rule this joint like it’s an everlasting playground for stuck up little assholes and their bitches while the rest of the family is cleaning up after their business. Nothing wrong here, just go to sleep, here’s another new addiction for you, an electric family who all re-learn to …. not give a real shit offline. By the way, it’s just a game. Nothing sacred here. They just divide, conquer and plunder this beauty while they are fucking around (with us) and we can call them gods while we are at it. Here’s a list of possibilities they designed for us in which we can be bullshitted. And it doesn’t matter what we do. They will be calling us either selfish or unfit in both cases, unless we serve (one of) us. Oo, by the way, they are in on almost all sides of the spectrum and there’s loads of nonphysical entities running around here too, all they want is to take over your body and live your life. Especially the ones who are prone to the addictions they designed us to have are extra sensitive to this. Good luck and enjoy while they watch the show from their awesome places with their big computers. One big happy little family.

    Oo, and it’s all an illusion (???)

    Hurraaaaaaayyyyyy

    1. Hey Lola,

      Great name by the way. This post is five years old but I feel as strongly about it today as I did all those years ago. FB has proven to be a less than honest data collection service, which people should have known from their inception. I’m off IG again too, and I can say how wonderful it feels to not have to think about that service. Keep going.

  41. Hey! Great article.. I feel the same way about these things.. I noticed you have an instagram still – seems like its been up for a few years now. What made you go back? Do you have more of a balance now?

    1. Maurice,
      Thank you. I went back on IG at the request of my employer but I stopped using it a long time ago. I didn’t delete it just in case, but I don’t think about it, which is a good sign. My belief, IG is on it’s way out. If you talk to some of the most successful Instagramers they will tell you the playing field keeps getting changed on them. The platform makes it more and more difficult to succeed. But the truly crazy part is that NONE of these people know what is coming next. An opportunity for someone, for sure.

  42. Maybe I’m late, but better late than never. Great writing that perfectly sums up what I feels lately.

    This year, I must admit that all social media accounts I have just had given its big impact in my life. Ups and downs, roller coaster-alike. At times, being befriended with “virtual friends” makes me somewhat cringed. Do I really have any idea what kind of person that I connect with? Until the point I started to think of “I’m enough. I’m getting sick of all these toxic.”
    As a result, I deactivated some of my social media accounts, tried to know how much precious time that I have lost because of lenghty, endless up and down, swipe and scroll through those sickening contents. Given the experiment, now I’m considering to remove all but two for college purposes. Even planning not to install any social media applications anymore.

    Again, perfectly on point thoughts, great writing that sums up.

    1. N,
      Life on the outside is better. Sure, things on social are toxic but none of it is real, so don’t sweat it.

  43. Hi. I know this post was made years ago, but the points made in this article are still valid.

    Sorry for my english, I’m French.

    I created my Facebook account when I was 15. Had my first email address with Messenger. How time flies…
    Then I created my 1st, 2nd and 3rd Instagram attempts. I even had a Twitter and Snapchat.

    Over the years, I got tired. Tired of the “emptiness”. That “fake, deluded” notion of friendship.
    The first social media I deleted, was Twitter. To my eyes, it was so useless. I kept 30 days and then bye. No regrets. Same for Snapchat.
    To delete permanently Facebook was a challenge. I did several attempts. I did it finally when I realized that it provided NO social, emotional benefits.

    Today, I have an Instagram account. I don’t show my face, and it’s an art account. I don’t consider myself an artist because I am a student in social work. The artistic activities are hobbies which helped me to express deeper feelings. Doing art requires silence, stillness and inner peace. Such things cannot be found on social media. The art of creation itself is demanding and does not tolerate multitasking and distraction. Being fully present and focused, you have to be.
    When I find myself endlessly scrolling pages, I take a screen break. Sometimes I lose control. I reduced my youtube time on my smartphone.

    When I look at this, I find this funny because I am a part of the generation born in 95′.
    As a young person, having one social media account is insane. But more and more young adults are turning their backs to these virtual worlds. I don’t know what the pre social media world looked like. I have a false sense of privacy. In fact I will never know this world.

    Thank you.

    1. Ji-lo,
      I’m glad to hear people are turning their back. We need to. The world won’t survive these networks. Glad to hear you are finding a way out.

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