Why I Deleted (Almost) All of My Social Media
A few weeks ago, just before Elon bought Twitter and made it look cool, I deleted my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok accounts. “FITT,” their initials spell, and fitter I feel indeed.
The main idea behind minimalism isn’t to save money or time. It is to save mental energy, which physical items take up, even if they’re sitting quietly in your attic. Somewhere in your subconscious, you know the broken volleyball net is up there. Even if it only makes it to the top of your mind on occasion, you’ll feel a burden being lifted once you chuck it in the trash.
Digital minimalism works the same: You can stop using your social media, but the accounts will still be there. So will all the connections. All the posts you’ve created will still harbor the energy you put into them. The weight of sunk costs will be palpable.
“I wonder what Marcus from my year abroad is doing.” That thought hits different when you can check up on Marcus vs. when you can’t — and the latter is not necessarily a bad thing.
We tend to be kinder to people when we keep them only in our memory. Plus, when you can’t see Marcus’ new house, you won’t feel bad about yourself from the inevitable comparison that follows. When Marcus only visits your attention once a leap year, your natural reaction is to wish him well, then be on your way. For many relationships in our lives, this is the way they’re supposed to go. We’re not wired to maintain distant yet infinite contact with thousands of people.
Manage your social media in a way that prevents them from managing you.
When it comes to Facebook, I had logged in to the platform less than five times a year for the last four years or so. I kept it like an address book of people I used to know but never talked to. But you know what? Those people won’t disappear if my Facebook account does. They’ll still be there. I’m sure I can find them should I need to. I told one high school friend to keep me posted about any potential reunions, then pulled the plug.
Instagram was more of the same, except shinier, which only meant more reasons to feel bad…