I Quit Social Media Today - Maybe You Should Too
Today, after watching a video entitled How To Quit Social Media And Master Your Focus, I was finally convinced to act upon a truth my soul has been ignoring for years now - That social media is ruining my life. Today, I decided to quit social media.
I've had plenty of "reasons" to put off my departure from social media for years now. My job is in social media. I literally run social media accounts for a recording artist for my living! Day in and day out, social media is my life. Not to mention, I myself am a recording artist. It's practically a rule that being active on social media is imperative to the hopes and dreams of a singer-songwriter. So how could I really justify dropping my social media platforms? That is a question I've been wrestling with for 3 or 4 years now.
I woke up at 7am this morning. Before even taking my tenth waking breath, I had already started scrolling through Instagram. Sure, I have the screen time restrictions on my iPhone set to disallow social media until 10am every day. But with a simple click of the "Ignore restrictions for the rest of the day" button, I can and do easily jump that hurdle daily. So before I had spoken, before I had walked, before I'd done literally anything, I was looking at Instagram, trying my best not to compare myself to the pretty people in the photos I'm seeing or feel bad about only getting 64 likes on my most recent photo, which was the one pictured here.
My girlfriend took that photo of me while we had dinner with her brother and a friend. I like the photo. I thought surely that photo would garner me an all too rare 100+ likes. But it didn't. So by 7:04am, I'm thinking, "Maybe I don't actually look that good in the photo. Maybe people just don't care about me". Does this sound like a start to a great day? Does this sound like the mindset of somebody who is going to do something profound and impactful with his next 24 hours?
I eventually got out of bed, put on some clothes, and decided to take a short walk down the block to grab some coffee. It was a nice breezy, overcast morning in Nashville. The tree leaves were rustling around, the neighborhood was quiet, and the world hadn't quite woken up yet. Nature had conjured up a pretty sweet looking recipe for a peaceful morning walk. Instinctually though, I pulled my phone out of my pocket, flipped my camera onto selfie mode, and attempted to snap a photo of me taking my morning walk to post for my Instagram story. So my morning walk turned into a strange attempt to position my jaw just right for the camera.
Flash forward a couple of hours, and I had made my way to a different coffee shop (perhaps coffee is a separate addiction I should address in the future), attempting to get work done while checking Instagram periodically, watching the Facebook tab on my desktop for notifications, and listening to a podcast about quitting social media. Cal Newport, the man advocating against social media, mainly contended that social media impedes not only your ability to socialize, but also your ability to do what he calls 'Deep Work' - or meaningful work. He argues that the constant distractions impair your focus to the point that you're operating at less than half of your able efficiency. That caught my attention, as I realized he was describing me in that exact moment.
I'm not exactly sure how human volition really functions. As a believer in God, I'm inclined to believe that epiphanies are divine lifting of blinders we've been afflicted with. Either way, I had a powerful epiphany - the kind that felt like it required immediate action. So I acted. I opened Instagram, deleted my photos, linked this blog in my description, and posted one last story asking people to email me if they need me. I followed suit on Facebook.
Ultimately, I've known for a long time that the cons of social media use, for me, far outweigh the pros. My artistry has suffered as a result of wasting time filming videos of me doing things I'm already good at, as opposed to improving on things I'm not good at off camera. My health has declined as I've spent ridiculous accumulative hours scrolling instead of exercising. My soul has suffered as a result of resentment and bitterness harbored in response to DM's that weren't responded to or FOMO (fear of missing out). In a moment of clarity this morning, I realized social media doesn't make me happy. Plain and simple. Not only that, it distracts from productivity, which makes me feel like even more of a failure on top of the comparison game it already tricks me into playing. Social media, for my life, is a bad move.
I have a feeling that 6 months of social media free life will find me more successful, less anxious, more fit, and more focused. I believe that the lack of digital "exposure" will be insignificant in light of the impression I will learn to make in real life without a social simulation crutch to lean on. I have a feeling I will go out more, stay engaged in conversation longer, sleep easier, write more songs, and take longer walks. Honestly, I'm pretty excited for it. Is it countercultural? Sure. But that's the role of an artist. I'll get back to you later about this, but I anticipate this departure from digital "life" will be profoundly positive. I'll continue using this blog as means of informing interested parties about my music and thought processes.
I encourage you to watch the video linked in the first paragraph of this blog. Thank you for reading, and if you feel so inclined, subscribe to this blog to keep up, and share to your social media accounts 😉