you can leave social media

Published on May 1, 2020

You can leave social media.

A few weeks ago, I made the conscious decision to opt out of using social media. After spending years using Twitter as a method of building career capital, I decided that now was the time for a break. I was using Twitter not just for building career capital, but also for mindlessly consuming the news, and I knew I had to stop.

What was my secret to stopping? I just stopped.

I don’t have anything special to say about this experience. I remember thinking to myself last year, when I wanted to take a break from social media, that I would never be able to do it. How could I possibly spend a few days off social media, never mind a few weeks?

Seeing such bad news on social media gave me the push I needed to quit, and once I had left, social media was no longer part of my life.

As the days went by, my identity increasingly became one where I did not want to be known as someone who used social media.

There are many ways I could have quit. I could have set myself a goal to quit for one week. I tried that approach a few times last year, to varying degrees of success. Or I could have decided to use DMs, but not scroll my feed. I have tried that too, again to varying degrees of success.

Or, I could have just quit. Which is what I ended up doing.

The easiest way to do something is to just do it. I loved using Twitter, but I knew that it was getting to the point where it was doing more harm than good. So I gave it up. I may return at some point -- there’s no reason to delete my account right now -- but for the moment, I am happy just not using Twitter.

I remember, when I was in high school, people used to say the words “I can’t” quite frequently. “I can’t do my homework for tomorrow” or “I can’t write an essay in 45 minutes.” Sure enough, those people did do their homework, and they did write an essay -- they just needed to get started.

I needed to just get started, too.

It turns out that we have a lot more control over our behavior than we think. We just need to get the ball rolling, and over time our efforts will compound. If you want, you can leave social media. And you can do it literally right now.

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