The Downside of Deleting Social Media

Social media has taken over our social lives and there are consequences to deleting it

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Ignorance is not always bliss.

I happily deleted Instagram about 5 months ago because I was tired of the lack of connection I felt when using it. Social media can be anti-social.

People use Instagram to broadcasts their lives in an attempt to garner likes and comments. It is less about meaningful social interactions and more about looking like a pseudo-celebrity.

The overconsumption of social media is not good for our mental health. I can attest to that.

What about our social health?

Social media is the new way to communicate with family and friends. When something is happening in your life most people don’t take to calling or texting those close to them, they take it to social media.

When people get engaged they announce it on social media or when they get a new job or when they are in a new relationship or even when someone passes away. Everything goes on social media. Did it really happen if it is not posted to social media?

What happens when you delete Instagram or Facebook? If I no longer spend hours scrolling needlessly through social media, what will I miss out? As much as I feel better being off social media, this week I had a sharp reminder of how easy it is to miss out on the news of my friends and family. There is a downside to being off social media.

You will miss out on a lot of news

You will miss out on the engagements and weddings and the new jobs and relationships of your friends and family. I almost missed out the news that a close friend’s relative had passed away.

I almost never check my Facebook although I occasionally go on to check out the new Medium writer's group I joined. And at the top of my feed was a post from one of my best friends about the passing of her relative. I sent her my condolences and felt a little relieved that I ‘caught’ the post. I’m sure I would have found out at some point but maybe much later if I had not seen the post.

Whether I like or not, social media is the new way to communicate.

However, the upside is you will miss out on all the boring news updates, like friends you no longer speak to and what they had for lunch.

People will assume you saw their newsfeed

Some people assume you saw their latest update on social media and can be offended if you don’t respond. Did you see my post on….? Is a phrase I have heard often.

No, I didn’t. I choose to interact more with people in real life.

I have posted things in the past and have heard the opposite response, “Oh yes I saw that.” My response: surprised, you saw it? But why didn’t you like it or comment or interact with me? I never said this out loud of course.

When you post something the people that see it don’t always interact. You have no idea how many people saw it because not everyone responds.

If people assume that you saw their post, there is a possibility they won’t tell you personally about it.

Once you broadcast something on social media, what is the point of personally telling your friends and family?

People may still tag you in things

I deleted my Instagram app and Facebook app but my profiles are still up. My friends have tagged me in the odd post and I don’t respond because I am not actively using. I am avoiding it.

They may think I am being rude when I don’t respond. I have considered deleting my Instagram and Facebook profiles altogether but I feel comfortable in my relationship with social media. I don’t scroll through social media needlessly. If I need to check something on Facebook, like a friend’s birthday, I check it briefly and then I leave it be.

You may miss out on friends and family abroad

A lot of my family live overseas or in another city. Social media is a good way to stay in touch.

Now that I am leaving next year to move overseas with my boyfriend I have been thinking a lot about using social media again and whether I want to reengage. On the one hand, I think it is a great way to showcase our travels and let my close friends and family see a bit of our journey. But I don’t want to be forced into using social media. Unfortunately, it is the most popular. I may entertain mild use of social medial to post travel updates and pics.

I have not decided yet.

Birthdays.

I used to rely on social media to keep me updated about friends and family birthdays. Now that I am off it, those friendly birthday reminders are gone too.

The Scrapbook

The other day I was looking at my Facebook page and going through old posts and reminiscing about the old days. Facebook is like a scrapbook of our lives. I looked fondly back at memories I had forgotten about, the trips and family gatherings. I have not posted to Facebook for a long time. Although I don’t need Facebook to collect all my photos; Facebook is like a Dropbox of memories. A neat timeline of our own memories and our friends and family. The best part of social media is the ability to capture our memories. However, we shouldn’t be living our lives to post on social media, we should live our lives and then capture memories that we find most meaningful.

In the end ….

Being inactive on social media has its perks. I have more time in my day to do other things I enjoy and I no longer spend hours scrolling through other people’s lives. I am living my own life. I don’t think I will be going back to social media anytime soon. But it's not all bad, I understand why people love it so much. I worry I may lose touch with some people if I lose touch with social media. I hope that is not the case. I prefer to socialise with my friends and family in real life.

Written by

I am a Lawyer, Writer, Reader and Traveller. From Johannesburg, South Africa. I am writing to find my voice. Fortune favours the brave.

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