I am the friend who talks about the benefits of quitting Facebook. Sure, I admit that. This post is not meant to convince you that “quitting” is a good idea. It’s for those who already agree. 🙂
Nik The Quitter
My first experiment quitting anything was 2011. One of my friend’s senior research projects required that I complete surveys after taking a month-long break from Facebook. (No one really used Twitter at the time and nothing else really existed).
It was then that I realized that quitting Facebook was possible. I deactivated my account for the summer of 2017, then legitimately deleted my Facebook account in 2018. (I do have an account with no pictures or friends to manage the Fraternity Man facebook page. Ah well.)
I have taken some other steps to reduce my social media usage. They will be referenced below. Here are some tips to help you through such a journey:
1. Try Temporary Quit Sessions
Pick a period of time and quit any one service for that period of time. Try your best not to replace the time spent on one with another. Quitting Facebook for a month, and then a few months helped me figure out how different things would be without it. Beyond that, it helped me plan for when I actually did quit the service. Which brings me to …
2. Collect What You Need Before Permanent Fixes
Before I truly deleted my Facebook profile, I went through their handy Birthday list. There, I recorded the birthdays of friends and family into my phone. So, I still remember the birthdays I care about, and don’t bother myself with birthdays for people I wouldn’t otherwise bother myself for. NEAT!
I also pulled a couple hundred photos and send my phone number or links to other accounts to a few others.
3. Time-Limiting Your Usage
There are plenty of apps which limit the amount of time you can spend on another app. I find it easier to just delete the entire app. Call me a weekend Instagrammer. I download the app every Friday and delete it on Monday before I head to work. The amount of time I spend on my phone was cut by 20-40% in any given week.
As of right now, the only “social media” I use throughout the work week are Twitter, LinkedIn and (sort of) Snapchat. None keep my attention for long, which I like.
4. No Native Apps
If you do not want to delete, then re-download an app every weekend, consider using only the web apps for platforms which allow it. (Instagram’s web app is severely limited). For example, I no longer have a Twitter “app” on my phone, even though I use it daily. This means no notifications, less data-collection, and, as expected, less use.
I still check Twitter on my laptop and phone browser, but only when I have something to tweet. The web app works just like the native phone app in the most important ways. I did this with Facebook until I deleted the account for good.
You know how you are. You pick up your phone and click on every icon to see what’s going on. Removing some of those icons will do you a world of good.
5. Silo Yourself & Enhance Your Privacy
The wokest among us say that social media has made us more polarized and that you should be open to other people’s opinions. Well, that’s rubbish. There are plenty of ways to learn about different ways of life than arguing with some bot on Facebook.
It is okay to cull your list of followers or “friends.” Take out the people you do not know in-person, and cherish those you do. I will maintain a relationship with someone I know, but with whom I disagree, above any “verified” account. (just my rule). So, for example, I’ve muted just about every news media organization on Twitter.
Use features provided to you like “see less often,” or restrict who can post comments on your Instagram photos to those who follow you. Such tools are in place so that you have a more enjoyable experience. Facebook’s privacy settings even show you how you are categorized by advertisers. Check yourself off of every one of those lists if you want to.
A Final Word: You Will Be Fine
You will miss out on lots of information. That is probably to your benefit, because it makes conversations with friends more interesting when you haven’t followed along on Facebook.
In any case, I wish the best of luck to those of you interested in better managing your social media presence. Let me know if you have any tactics of your own on Twitter (lol).