Quitting Social Media

It’s been a little over two weeks since I said my final farewell to Meta’s favorite child, and seemingly most profitable venture, Instagram. What began as an impulse fast off the app a few months ago, finally lead to me being fully convinced of a permanent exit . ‘So, what happened between then and now’, you may ask. I’ll let you in on the full gist….

Actually, let’s go back a few years….

I joined Facebook in 2009. This was the year when desktops still had ogo’s (a protruding back-head), tower CPUs were in, and everyone had a email. I remember back then, using the computer was like going on an adventure. Time flew as happy enzymes rushed through your system. The internet was still a fairly new phenomenon on my side of the world. I had dabbled a teeny tiny bit with it in elementary school for class projects, but now, it was becoming more mainstream. No longer just for homework, but to be used for fun. It provided the possibility of communicating with people in real time, and was a lot more seamless than email. Several secondary school mates and friends were already on the platform, so it was a no brainer for me. I was happy to reconnect with old friends from grade-school, and make new ones in high school. It was fun, truly.

A few years later, I joined other platforms; BBM, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat and finally Instagram. I was already in my second year of Uni before I joined IG. I hesitated for a while before taking the plunge, because IG felt like another extra app on my phone. I didn’t understand how it worked for the longest time, and heard it was just a high maintenance version of Facebook. With FB, I never worried about ‘aesthetics’ like lighting and filters, nor gotten worked up over captions. I didn’t however fully enter into my IG era until after Uni (I can thank the paralyzing telecomm network service on my school campus for this), but when I did, it became an everyday ritual, and progressively had me in a chokehold.

Many real life experiences were had, with deep consideration given to how it would subsequently appear online. I could be getting ready for Sunday fellowship, but honestly, at the back of my mind, the effort behind the church fit would be the after-church IG pics. I could be getting ready for an outing or movie night, but the rationale behind the outfit choice would be IG pics. Heck I could be picking up ice-cream at the grocery store, but you bet, the rationale behind the ice-cream brand of choice would be, you guessed it, IG pics! My life online became very different from how it was truly. I remember quite vividly, one year either on Christmas or New Years, being the saddest I had been in my life, but still posting the prettiest picture, with the toothiest smile and cheesiest caption. Conversations over DMs were also incredibly shallow and unnecessary. There are only so many, random “how far“s or “what’s up” a woman can take before she is mentally ejected off to Mars.

The 2020 panoramic year had me living on IG. I had a 2 bedroom duplex on the app where I ate, slept and drank the endless scroll. In retrospect, it was more of a coping mechanism for being locked down and craving anything with a semblance of regular human interaction. Also, in retrospect, I am grateful for being so hooked on the app, because it was on said app I somehow heard the gospel and was confronted with earth-shattering truths that changed my life.

After 2020, my IG content shifted drastically, and for the first time in my life, I was confronted with the question of motive. The ‘why’ behind what I did. I clearly realized that I posted for attention, plain and simple. I wanted the likes and comments, as they were a strong form of validation. With this new conviction, I decided on making my page a platform for sharing the gospel. I spent less time editing pictures, and more time writing. The same way the Lord drew me to himself using a girl on IG, I wanted to be that girl for someone. I cleaned out my following list, and made my feed more of what I wanted to see. Still, I found myself refreshing the page numerous times after a post to see how the likes changed. Still, I found myself revisiting stories to see how the views changed. Still, I found my screen-time increasing and my actual quiet time dwindling. Still. I still deeply cared about the validation, but had it baptized and renamed as something else, “service to God”.

The human heart is an idol factory, churning out new idols like the conveyor belt in a manufacturing plant rolling out new widgets.

John Calvin

I slowly began to ponder over the needfulness of social media. Over the past 14 years I had been convinced of it’s necessity in my life. Not only to keep up with friends and family, but to be in the know. It somehow provides a sense of convenient omniscience. I could know what what was happening in people’s lives, without putting in the effort of getting to know them, really. Comments and likes on friends photos replaced actual conversations with them. Are you truly still friends with your seat-mate from kindergarten, or are you merely acquainted, because honestly all you do is wish her happy birthday every year, and decorate her comments with emojis. Do you know your social media ‘friends’, truly? Their likes and dislikes, what they are going through currently, their struggles, their future plans, etc? I slowly realized that I didn’t actually need these apps, it was merely a want. If I truly wanted to create and maintain intentional friendships, it was almost always done in the context of long convos over the phone, or in person meetups. And geez, I don’t know about you, but it is extremely overwhelming maintaining 15 friendships, talk less of 900! Finally, who says the gospel can only prevail on an online platform? The power of Christ and his gospel will prevail with or without the media. Don’t be mistaken, it is a morally neutral tool, but my sinful heart produced negatives. The bad, greatly outweighed the good, and I realized it had become an idol for me.

As I reflect on my time spent on social media, I am very grateful for the entire experience. I was very privileged, having been exposed to it from it’s mild beginnings in the early 2000s, to the Behemoth it is currently is. My initial need to keep in touch with friends is now achievable through easier, less overwhelming means, s/o to WhatsApp, Face-time & iMessage. At this point in my life, I need to let go of social media apps, and live life in real time. Real life is much more interesting. You’re not missing out on anything by being offline, and anything you do miss out on is really inconsequential. I literally cried the day I made the decision, but deep down, I knew my future self would thank me.

Replacing old habits with new ones has honestly been an uphill climb. One of the things I want to prioritize this year is reading books. Not only because reading helps build my vocabulary, but it also motivates me to write. I got kindle and audible recently, and it’s been pretty good. I also listen to a quite a few podcasts and spend time curating playlists on Spotify. Most importantly, I am prioritizing getting into the Word and Prayer. I don’t think I will ever be bored with the list of things I have to replace social media. I might be lazy to do them, but certainly not bored. I might write on my current favorite things and recommendations for anyone considering either taking a break or quitting social media. We’ll see how it goes, but honestly, so far, so good πŸ™‚

If you made it this far, you are honestly a G. Thank you for wading through nine paragraphs within 5-10 minutes. Please let me know what your experiences with social media have been in the comments section.

Until Next Time…..

Stay Safe & Groovy,


One thought on “Quitting Social Media

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s