Whether you gave Facebook the flick, or deleted Instagram or Twitter from your phone, many of you told us over email that it’d led to positive changes in your lives.
And those who couldn’t give it up completely, found ways to counter its impact on their time, self-esteem and mood.
So, if stepping back from social media has been on your mind, here are some of the benefits of quitting, as told by you.
Regaining time and personal connection
In your emails, two benefits stood out when it came to leaving social media: extra time and feeling closer to the people that mattered most.
- Deleted: Facebook about a month ago.
- Doesn’t miss: the advertisements and fake-news posts from “friends of friends”.
- Gained: 10 hours a week.
“I planted a veggie garden in my new-found time. I feel as if I’ve been liberated from a prison of my own making.”
- Deleted: Facebook after two years.
- Doesn’t miss: Having to curate her timeline and trying to balance using social media between work and personal use.
- Gained: Productivity and time to dedicate towards her profession.
“Seven hours a week could mean the difference between a screenplay, or a novel getting written.”
- Deleted: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Has been social media-free for almost 18 months.
- Doesn’t miss: Being bombarded with targeted advertising, self-promotional posts, disjointed inspirational quotes.
- Gained: Productivity, personal connection with people and more time for his interests.
“I threw myself into my work because you don’t check your feed every hour or two. I reckon I spend a half an hour before bed reading a book rather than looking at Twitter,” he says.
“It’s just more time to be yourself — it’s not this public image persona that everybody seems to have on social media.”
- Deleted: Twitter
- Doesn’t miss: The trolls or bullies and faceless new acquaintances.
- Gained: More time with friends in the real world.
“I was spending enormous amounts of time getting outraged at idiots making bad decisions [politicians and shock jocks]. My mind was not rested but agog at the issues and backlash,” she said.
“I didn’t need a constant reminder that the world was being destroyed by despots. I needed perspective and my time back.
“I now play scrabble games with my known friends and I feel calmer.”
- Deleted: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram. Has been without social media for two years.
- Doesn’t miss: Feeling insecure over other people’s achievements, arguing with her partner over things seen on social media.
- Gained: Time, connection with others.
“We make more of a conscious effort to call our friends and family now since we don’t know what they are up to. We have been able to pick up more hobbies like cooking and reading. My partner and I listen to each other more and spend more time romancing.”
A sense of relief and privacy
Many of the emails we received said that all of the sharing and comparison that comes with social media was getting a bit much.
- Deleted: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
- Doesn’t miss: Being flooded with news (good and bad), being distracted while studying.
- Gained: Relief.
“My partner and I just booked an overseas a trip and I thought to myself, ‘Huh, where will I post all the photos from the trip?’. Then I realised it doesn’t matter! I don’t need to display my life online — I should just live and enjoy myself.”
- Deleted: Facebook but still uses Instagram occasionally.
- Doesn’t miss: Feeling pressured to post photos of her child for relatives.
- Gained: Relief, privacy, connection.
“What I felt at first was immense relief. I needed to focus on myself and not the constant trawling through the lives of other people and by doing so, comparing my life to theirs. This relief then turned into a feeling of power and control over myself and life.
“I started to enjoy being almost incognito. I had my privacy back!
“If I’m missing a friend and feel like I want to see what they are up to I pick up the phone and call them. It is nice to find out what people are up to from speaking to them, not because I saw them online.”
- Deleted: Facebook
- Doesn’t miss: Feeling unsettled, dissatisfied and time poor.
- Gained: Confidence, joy and satisfaction.
“When you do not feel the need to mould an image and frame yourself in a particular way, what emerges is a quiet confidence and authenticity.”
- Deleted: Facebook
- Doesn’t miss: Scrolling newsfeeds.
- Gained: Happiness.
“I found myself increasingly spending time looking up what old friends were doing and one day I described it to myself as snooping.
“I felt somewhat ashamed, so I deleted it. I’m happy!”
Setting boundaries for social media use
Quitting isn’t for everyone, and those who couldn’t stay away for good went looking for a middle ground.
- Deleted: Facebook for six months but has since returned with limited notification settings turned on.
- Didn’t miss: Trivial posts and intrusive advertisements.
- Gained: Connection with others.