A little more than a year ago, I decided to step away from social networks. It's time now to look back at that year, and count all the ways this was a positive or negative change. Spoiler: it was ALL GOOD.
In my post a year ago, I outlined three main reasons why I was leaving behind my social media accounts. These reasons proved to be spot on in hindsight, but after I look over each of them, I want to talk about mental health, which turned out to be a really good outcome that I had underestimated. But first, let's look at the original three...
Since I stopped using social media, I've been feeling more in control of my own life. I read more, I choose the media that I consume based on direct conversations with actual human beings instead of from an algorithm's insistent suggestions. I also spend more time making stuff, such as open source software, preserving and restoring old hardware, writing, etc. Facebook is no longer profiting from the data they accumulated on me.
Doomscrolling is gone for good, and I don't miss it one bit. This was actually easier than I thought it would be. Fear Of Missing Out is unreasonable, and the only thing you're missing out on is not worth worrying about. For me at least, social media were just a bad habit that I was able to give up way easier than it was to give up smoking a couple decades ago. Your mileage may vary.
Everything I create, and all my data, are on servers that I have full control on, or on distributed systems that have no centralized owner, such as git. Nothing of importance is on proprietary data silos. A notable exception is email. I need to plan going away from Gmail.
The time I used to spend on social media is now free to do other things: writing software, building electronics, home improvement, reading, movies, video games, etc.
I should have expected this one, but I probably didn't fully realize how badly social media consumption was affecting my mental health before I let go of it. The sheer toxicity of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube discussions cannot be overstated. Reversely, the quality of life improvement you'll get from letting go of correcting People Who Are Wrong On The Internet is truly impressive. You don't have to keep that drain on your sanity. It's not like arguing solves anything.
All good. I feel much better and have a newfound ability to stay away from toxic people and relationships.
To sum it all up
Social media are almost 100% toxic. You can let go of them and you'll be surprised how little you'll lose and how much you'll win in the process.
Really. Do it, it's all good.