Why I quit social media

More stories from Daria London


Photo courtesy of Flicker

Apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter are popular among teenagers. Yet, I found without them I felt better about myself.

I used to spend an hour or two scrolling through Instagram, seeing people I am barely friends with boasting some random event or commenting on someone’s post, even though I haven’t had a conversation with them in two years. I sit there, mindlessly double-tapping someone’s cousin’s post or a random “influencer” who has been exposed several times for Facetune and intense Photoshop.

After I abandon my Instagram explore page and those intense mentally stimulating Snapchat stories, I don’t feel great. I feel tired, slow and frankly, just bad about myself.

Obviously it made me feel self-conscious seeing beautiful people with incredibly sculpted bodies, but social media also made me feel bad about what I was doing. While my sister’s best friend’s step-brother is on a yacht in Morocco, or my co-worker is standing atop a mountain in Hawaii or my second cousin posted the latest picture with her boyfriend – I’m just sitting in my room.

But none of these images are a reality: their bodies are altered and sometimes fake, faces facetuned; the trip to Hawaii seems cool enough, but I’m sure my co-worker spent more time trying to capture the perfect angle and lighting rather than actually enjoying the view. It put a damper on her trip, she couldn’t just freely enjoy it; instead, she is worried about her latest post and showing off her trip to her 2,000 followers (most of whom she hasn’t had an in-person conversation with in years).

Social media is not a real representation of people, and once I stopped pretending social media equates to real life, I was easily able to delete my Instagram and stop using Snapchat. Understanding what goes on in people’s lives is simple. I don’t need a “like,” “comment” or retweet, it only takes a simple text message or a phone call or an in-person conversation.

Social media is not real. It’s a fake reality all about getting attention and validation. The creators made it addictive. It’s fake validation, giving someone temporary happiness from a “so pretty” comment or a couple of hundred likes, but overall it actually made my life a whole lot worse. It is like being stuck in this trap, this unhealthy cycle of posting then getting temporary happiness and validation but then seeing other people’s lives and once again feeling so isolated as if you are the only one not doing amazing things all the time. This mood fluctuation, with more negative feelings, is toxic to anyone.

The only person who can make you dislike social media is YOU! My parents tried to get me off it for years. I listened and thought their points and ideas made sense but never took my own actions to stop my use. Once I stopped using it, I felt so much better. Besides the first few weeks of shock and FOMO, I was eventually able to overcome and realize what was best for me. I know that there are many alternatives to understanding what is going on in the world and in my immediate community than a bunch of liking and commenting nonsense.