Why I quit social media and you should, too

Graphic by Genevieve Kolar

About two weeks ago I quit social media. Deleted all the apps. By “all” I mean Snapchat and Instagram. Why? Social media sucks.
Deleting social media felt like a huge weight being lifted from my shoulders. I felt like I gained my time back, which according to my father is the one thing you can never get back. Well Dad, guess what? I just did. Instagram and Snapchat and even Facebook (which I keep to find local events in the Bay Area or to keep tabs on UC Berkeley Memes Page) are dangerous. There’s even a word to describe such danger: FOMO. Fear of Missing Out.

We see the classic beach pic that you wish you were there, someone posting a #tbt of a concert? #SryUrNotIncluded. Or the people you have never had an actual conversation with, who don’t know anything about you, and vice versa and yet you follow them? Let’s not forget the invisible communication of passive aggression in which you unfollow someone and they somehow found out and they unfollowed you? #WTF HOW DO THEY KNOW OMG IS THE MATRIX  REAL!? And Snapchat, which allows you to post stories and send pictures to people, is cool until you’re snapchatting every single moment of your life and forget to put the phone down and enjoy whatever you’re doing in the moment? Even to the local artists, who use it as a platform to get their work out into the world. I encourage them to pursue that with their accounts but art isn’t in the screen, it’s literally out in the world- walls, museums, coffee shops, books. It belongs out there, not in a virtual reality.  

I’ve been there too.
I’ve even been there to the point that I’m obsessing over why I don’t have enough likes on my photo or what my ex has been up to or that girl that I don’t like or why I can’t be prettier, smarter, popular, talented, the list goes on. All these why can’t I’s start affecting your self esteem and begins to crumble.  Sure, you can learn to ignore the bad and focus on the good parts of these apps: seeing new artists, memes, news, Rihanna Fenty Makeup drops. But in the back of your mind, you still have that urge, the urge to compare.

There’s no actual connection on social media. No human connection. And while of course it is important to stay connected with friendships, relationships and all, real relationships that matter take effort and work. A snap or a like is not gonna make it stronger.

And if you’re gonna keep social media, that’s great, but at least be mindful who you let into your life. Just like you wouldn’t marry the first person you go on a date with, same with your social media. Keep ya circle tight.

Quitting social media may seem scary but it’s a lot better to remember what it was like to be present in the moment than looking it from a screen.