30 Days Without Social Media: (hopefully) a life hack

MJ Johnson, Staff Writer

Over the years, I had ebbed further and further from any involvement on most social media platforms. Tumblr, Reddit, and Facebook had all slowly been pushed out of my life. All that remained was a select few, like Tinder and Instagram, that I hadn’t quite been able to shake. I was still spending about two hours every day on Instagram, according to my iPhone.

Why have I whittled down my social media? It’s become a detriment to my self-esteem and my moral system, particularly the business model that’s being enforced by Facebook.

Facebook has, over the years, become a monopoly, swallowing up any distinct platform in its way, from Snapchat to Instagram. This type of business leaves no space for competition from other companies that might bring new ideas, styles, or innovations to the patrons of the internet. Another problem I have with Facebook (whom, I feel, pretty much owns half the internet) is the censorship. Why can’t women and non-binary people’s nipples be shown? and also, Shouldn’t sex-workers have equal opportunity to build a business on Instagram as any other type of worker? It might be different if there were competing platforms that didn’t censor photos and provided a space where everyone was celebrated, but there isn’t. Have content that Facebook or Instagram doesn’t approve of? Good luck using the platforms to build your artistic career or connecting with like-minded people, and good luck finding a competing platform that will give you the same access to the public.

So, ditch Facebook. And while you’re at it, ditch everything else too, including—especially—Instagram. Or Tumblr. Maybe even YouTube too, depending on what you watch. These platforms have tormented me for years, imprinting perfectionism to my adolescent brain. I felt this unspoken standard of what you were supposed to look like, what your income was supposed to be, how you were supposed to act and so on, being pressed onto my brain like a temporary tattoo. And when, inevitably, I couldn’t meet the standard, I became hyper aware of any and every way I didn’t make the cut. Why is this such a big theme on social media? Because insecure people make the best market for products that tell you they’ll make you prettier or successful. There’s a lot of incentive for models or lifestyle bloggers—“influencers”—to sell you beauty products. I kept Instagram for years, trying to convince myself that I had been using it responsibly, finally concluding that although I’m avoiding the models, I’m still using it to compare myself to others. I see what I could be doing at any given moment and berate myself for not being at a given party, or not being successful with my art, and etcetera. Instead of being a tool for discovery, it was just a constant reminder of everything I’m not.

And so, without further ado, I am now deleting the very last social media I have. This journey will be treacherous. There will be memes I have never heard of. There will be new fashions and trends. I will have to trust my friends to update me on the newest queer theory or what’s newly cancelled. It will be scary, but I am dedicated. I will disregard my FOMO*.

Please join me on this journey, if you’re curious, by either reading my story to come or by trying it yourself. Reach out to me if you have any perspective or experience you’d like to add. I’ll be keeping my email,  [email protected].

(For the sake of transparency, I will be keeping Tinder because 1. I feel that I use it little enough that it doesn’t have much effect on my life, and 2. I am a—out and proud—slut.)

*Fear Of Missing Out