Why I left Social Media
Social Media is everywhere. It has become pervasive, spreading throughout every part of my digital life. And sadly, it doesn't stop there.
Like spies, those tech giants are following me where ever I go. Tracking my shopping preferences, my news sources, the videos I watch, all in an attempt to learn as much as they can about me to offer the most compelling advertisement at the right time.
Granted, I prefer getting an ad for life coaching over the newest cleaning supplies. But that's beside the point.
Here are the three primary reasons that made me delete my accounts:
I just want to own my data
No way, Jose. Are you telling me the data I upload to my social media platforms doesn't actually belong to me? Yes, my friend. That's what I'm saying precisely.
Check out this little nugget, taken from the official terms and conditions:
You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others and they have not deleted it.
I admit I didn't read this before I clicked the signup button, oh so many moons ago. And honestly, back then, I didn't care about it either.
Facebook was shiny and new. A way for me to stay connected with family and friends. A place where I could share pictures of my drunken self making a fool out of himself. Those pictures got laughs, and if the people I shared them with aren't deleting them, they'll be on Facebook forever.
Apart from those humiliating pictures haunting my future, my present is even more critical.
Monkey Brain go Wild
Endless scrolling through updates of what my friends are doing is not my favorite pastime. At first, I would think, why didn't I get invited? Then I move to why is my life so dull? I'd still have to click that little thumbs-up button. Because I wouldn't want them to think I'm not happy for their good times. "Fear of missing out" is a phrase I can't remember ever hearing before social media. I'm sure the feeling existed, but it was not as prominent in our culture.
I always felt like I had to post about all the good things happening in my life. I have those moments as well, ya know.
One thing that helped me a lot with taming my monkey brain was learning about thought management. Thoughts create feelings; feelings drive actions. The more I felt I was missing out, the more I scrolled to see what I missed.
After hiking parts of the Pacific Crest Trail and posting many pictures, I decided to earn a Life Coach certification. Learning how to manage my mind was the first step of leaving the fangs of social media.
Talking is Easy
"Words are cheap," and up until now, that's the only thing I did. Arguing for a better world. Envisioning a time when we get uplifted by technology rather than burnt out and feeling miserable.
In 2020, I actually started working on an AI project called Pilina. The idea was to randomly remind the user to think positive, powerful thoughts. As well as learn from the user and ultimately create a community where people can help lift each other up. This idea was further reinforced by watching the "Social Dilemma" on Netflix.
Life was constantly changing, and my priorities did as well. By year-end, I did one last push on Pilina before putting the project on pause to work on financial freedom.
I knew I couldn't stay on social media and cast a vote of approval by using those platforms. That led me to stop posting, checking, and I also deleted all the apps from my phone.
It's been 10 months, and I don't miss it a bit. So in late October, I went ahead and deleted all my profiles from Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and many more.
The only app I'll keep using for a few more months is WhatsApp. I have to teach my mom how to use Signal before I can get rid of that.
Cleaning up my digital life is a journey, and I'm learning more every day. Here is an excellent guide in case you're thinking of doing the same.