I was 10 years old when I joined Facebook and I was 12 when I got my first Twitter account. I’m 23 now, so that’s over half my life, including my entire adult life, that I’ve been visible on these platforms. I joined both of them when they were fairly new and it was really fun and exciting to see the sites grow, watch as all my friends joined up and have something to while away the time when I was secretly on my iPod Touch in bed on a school night.
I joined Instagram as soon as I got an iPhone 4 (back in the day that was the only device you could get it on) and I quickly knew I preferred Instagram to any other social media platform. It’s been my social media platform of choice since then and while I’ve done social media ‘cleanses’ and deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone in the past, Instagram has remained a constant for me that brings me nothing but happiness.
I find it odd because so many people complain that Instagram is setting unrealistic standards for people, whether its how to look or how to live your life. People are always saying that the platform is having a negative influence on people by giving them unrealistic standards to live up to in everyday life. However, I haven’t personally found it that damaging as far as I’m aware. I think it’s nice to have some pretty pictures and fun captions to look at, even if it’s of totally unobtainable stuff. I’m not too bothered about people being ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ as long as I keep in the back my head that that’s what it is – staged and not real. Basically, I love Instagram and I definitely see it as a positive in my life, not a negative.
I had been fed up with Facebook for a really long time. I actually deactivated my account between 2012 and 2013 because I had been going through a really tough time and fallen out with my friendship group and I considered it my way of ‘bowing out gracefully’ of the social circle. It helped me to remove any reminder of those ‘friends’ and made me feel invisible online. However, I don’t really know what I was trying to prove because they all still followed me on Twitter and probably saw me tweet every day about how depressed I was and also how much I loved One Direction #directionerforlife. I reactivated my account at the end of 2013 because my university halls flat had a group chat and I didn’t want to miss out on group invites to the shop and planning of nights out. Between 2013 and 2018 I only posted a status once and was tagged in about 5 photos and that was the extent of my Facebook presence for those 5 years. In the end, I was fed up with it, I didn’t use it and every time I scrolled down my timeline it just reminded me of why I never used the site. After it all came out about how corrupt Facebook was, I decided that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain from deleting my account. (Btw, I know Facebook owns Instagram now and that my data is still at risk but as I get a lot of use out of Instagram it’s a chance I’m willing to take.) Since deleting my account I have never looked back. It’s one less piece of my internet self that I have to worry about.
I deleted Twitter a couple of days ago. So far it has been a bit strange. I like the fact that I don’t feel like I HAVE to use it anymore. The main thing that has been holding me back from deleting it was I felt like as a blogger I basically had no choice but to be on Twitter. But to be honest, it’s always been a bit of a set back for me. Not only because I have to answer to notifications and actually schedule meaningless tweets but because the content I was viewing every day was not only a time waster but actually negatively affecting my mental health. I would constantly see screaming tweets from bloggers literally shouting that we should ALL SUPPORT EACH OTHER and to be honest I found that most of the bloggers preaching this stuff would also be the ones who were the cattiest and most judgemental. It felt like so much pressure to be supporting other bloggers as well as having the perfect blog with the perfect engagement. It felt like no matter who I muted, followed or unfollowed it was always the same shit splashed across my feed that I really didn’t need to be seeing.
It was only when I took a step back and really looked at it out of context that I realised I didn’t HAVE to be a part of this platform and that if it was affecting me this badly it was worth losing a couple of page views over. Most of my hits actually come from Google rather than Twitter but if it’s a loss, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I would much rather concentrate on actual blog content and growing my Instagram than put any of my time and energy into a platform that overall makes me miserable.
The last few days I have spent without Twitter have felt a bit isolating. I have found myself constantly checking my emails and rerunning through Insta stories because I’m so used to having something there on my phone to just read, whether I’m liking what I’m seeing or not. It’s also really disconcerting because it’s made me more aware of the fact that for the last few years I’ve found myself actually THINKING in tweets. My thoughts actually read like already formed tweets in my mind which is just really sad and sort of terrifying. I really want to be able to learn to think freely without thinking ‘this would make a good tweet’ or ‘this one-liner might get me a few retweets’ and I really hope that after a while I’ll stop reaching for my phone so much and stop thinking in 280 characters or however many it is these days.
Basically, I was just sick of all the negativity that I subjected myself to every day and I really hope that I’ll see some long-term benefits from staying off Facebook and Twitter. One thing I know is, I’ll definitely never go back to either platform. Because despite what all the shouty bloggers might think, you definitely don’t HAVE to be on there to create a successful blog.