I bought my first smartphone named Infinix Zero 4 that released in the same year with iPhone X – the phone that has been considered as a game-changer of the smartphone design until today.
The main motivation I bought the smartphone is my ancient Nokia Asha 210 no longer relevant for my current activities. Sending an email, documents, or reading e-book is barely possible using that type of phone. Hence, buying a smartphone is a “need” rather than a “want”.
Albeit I’m expecting more productivity after having a new “smarter” phone, the reality turns unexpectedly. Social media like Facebook and Instagram surprisingly consumes more time, and it’s can be credited to my smartphone.
A lot of my friends have been in Instagram earlier, and I was among the recent joined the party. It didn’t take too long for me to understand the entire features of Instagram and it’s probably the most sophisticated social media platform ever created – including how they created a system to make people spend more time on the platform. That way, they can show more ads and generate more revenue.
That’s their business model, after all.
…and this is why social media platform became a new addiction trend.
My social media account timeline
- June 2011 – Created my Facebook account
- March 2012 – Joined Twitter for no reason
- February 2017 – My Instagram account is online
- January 2018 – Deleted my entire social media account
5 reason why I quit social media
I have a Facebook, Twitter, and lastly, Instagram account. However, Instagram is the one that responsible for my decision to shut down the entire social account I made some years ago.
#1 I spend too much time on social media
A research conducted by Global Web Index in 2018 shows that on average, people in my age (18-24 y.o.) spent 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media. Some even more than 3 hours a day.
That’s a lot of time!
People might never straightly using social media for more than 1 hour, but that number was accumulated every the apps are being open. Let’s say when you feel bored at the bus, and there is a good chance you may unlock your phone and start watching some viral video on Instagram.
A second became minutes, and minutes became hours. We don’t realize until it was too long.
So, by not using social media, I practically can save about 2 hours per day for doing some productive activities. In fact, I accomplish more work these days compared to when I’m still on social media.
#2 I compare myself to others, and it’s stealing my joy
People on social media usually share the proudest, happiest, and best moment in their life. That’s why tons of posting contains someone doing a selfie in an exotic place.
It’s not wrong, but the influence is bad nonetheless.
Look, I’m pretty much sure the majority of people scrolling through news feed for the sake of fun. But the reality is often disappointing.
When I see someone visiting a beautiful place and having fun there with their peers, I start to compare that visualization with my current situation. This state of mind has proven leads to depression.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
– Theodore Roosvelt
Considering Instagram is occupied by the high-class citizen, it is prone to show a swank post that could make the majority of the population feels envy because they’re not having a life like the richer ones. This also has been confirmed by a research published by the end of 2017.
I’m not saying that the high-class citizens suck. It’s their right to post whatever they want as long not violating Instagram’s TOS, and I would stand on their side to defend the right.
The key is better not to follow anyone who tends to brag at anything. That way, you can avoid depression-feeling when using the platform. Tons of research also shows an increase of happiness level after participant closing their social accounts.
#3 Most of us building a fake persona on social media
“What I need to do today to satisfy my followers?”
If an alien visits Earth, and they’ve started using Instagram, they may think human’s life is full of joy and happiness. But that is far from reality.
We’d love building a persona about how others see us. You may ever post a happy moment not because you are happy but instead makes people think that you are happy.
I know someone with severe financial trouble, but she keeps posting traveling posts into her social media account. People around her perceive this woman as a rich and happy person. Some people post a comment that she’s so lucky born in a wealthy family – except she is not.
She used to visit a standard traveling destination which virtually people with a salary under the minimum wage can easily afford that. Yet, as the likes and engagement grow, the necessity to visit even exotic place is higher than ever. So, she starts to take a trip to Bali, Lombok, and a foreign country. That condition only makes her financial situation even worse.
I’m sure she wants to stop but she can’t because her mind has already attached for building that persona thus have an urge to maintain the status.
“Make sure you are happy in real life not just in social media.”
Just because someone loves posted a hilarious quote in his Twitter account doesn’t mean he is a funny guy.
Also, a beautiful woman on Instagram may look different without filters.
#4 Our brain needs boredom, really!
This may sound counterintuitive against popular believe that boredom is something you should avoid.
But science says no.
A study has shown there’s a correlation between boredom and creativity. In a nutshell, some parts of our brain that responsible for creative thinking are only active when we are not doing anything.
Not only that, another study from Harvard suggests when we are bored our mind is wandering about our future which naturally helps us to create a clear path in our life, rethinking about our existence in this world, and our purpose.
Most people use social media to kill boredom and get some entertainment, yet this also diminishes our ability to think creatively and life plan.
Here is a fantastic video from Veritasium explaining that boredom can be useful for you (and actually an essential state of mind for human).
#5 Less spending for internet data
Instagram and Facebook are a hungry-data platform. Their newsfeed dominated by media content like image, video, and GIF. This means I spend more gigabytes of data when using social media compared to just browsing or ordering ride-hailing service.
Since I’m not active on social media, I literally only spend 500 Megabytes of data per month, even less!
The total cost I paid for the service is IDR 100.000 or less than $8 per year compared to IDR 600.000 per year or $42 when using social media.
(Don’t be envy, the internet service in Indonesia is cheaper because of the average income also lower than in developed countries.)
On Android phone, you can check your internet data usage via Settings → Data usage and select which network type usually being used. From there, you can see which app is consuming the most data within a period of time.
Let me guess, Youtube and Instagram are on the top of the list, right?
What I feel after quitting social media
At the early days, I keep checking my phone for notifications even though I know there’s nobody will send me a message. Every time I check my phone, my finger somehow trying to find apps that I usually open on a regular basis. I’m sure there’s must be something to do with the muscle memory.
However, after around two weeks, I’m no longer attached to the social media, and I just fine to not using those platforms at all. Some people are also asking me why I suddenly have gone from the playground I mostly active for years.
Now, it’s been more than one year. There are some new positive habits I can do, such as reading a book, regularly cleaning my room, more exercises, and learn new valuable skills. If I’m still on social medial, those activities could not be possible.
In short, I become a better version of my self.
I believe social media is not always bad. There are some positive things that happen in this platform. I hear a lot of people met their soulmate via Facebook or even found a job opportunity through a discussion on Twitter.
However, in my opinion, for every good post on social media, there are hundreds of negative posts that will influence your mind. So, I think there are plenty of places that offer a better chance to get a positive influence while avoiding the bad ones – like networking event or charity.
In essence, not all people have to shut down their social accounts, but some people certainly need to leave for good.