My life on social media has ended. Last year in 2021 on the first day of the year I (Douglas) logged out of all my social media accounts for the year. (Facebook messenger being the exception at this point)
This began a process of clearing my habit of endless scrolling and double-tapping late into the night and the early morning draws to see how everyone else’s lives had progressed in the 8 hours since I’d left them. I write this will full transparency as I know I was not alone in this cycle.
We are all familiar with that new years’ resolution that turns out to be a fleeting memory just a few weeks into the year. I decided to commit to not a week, not a month, but a full year of a social media freeze. I changed my status to “away” on all of my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. I stated that I will not be accessing these accounts for the year 2021.
Nearly a month into this pause, I had felt such a relief that there were no phantom scrolling motions at night or red bubbles on the applications. I felt a freedom from a trap that I was unaware that I had been caught in since 2008. This feeling of freedom truly felt real when I realized that due to this decision, I was calling and talking with my family more than I had in years. Because I was not seeing their day-to-day lives, I needed to ask them directly what was happening.
Six months in with this feeling, I had come to the decision that I would no longer be returning to the world of Insta-hearts, Facebook likes, and Twitter DMs. So, I began researching “how to delete my digital life”. I quickly found out that these companies that we all have so blindly clicked the “I agree” to their terms and conditions, that they do not make it easy to remove your digital life.
What I had found was even if you deactivate your accounts, some of your content may still show up in online results. So, I went through each of my accounts, removing every Tweet and posting 1 by 1. It was a feat that took many hours, but this was rewarding as well to see the life I had lived, all the places I had visited, and people I’ve met!
I recently just finished the INCREDIBLY difficult task of removing every wall post, birthday wish, and tagged photo from my Facebook account. This took far more time than I ever expected as this process was riddled with “there was an error, please try again later”. So, I had to remove each post from 2008 until New Years’ Eve 2020.
I would like to thank every person who wished me happy birthday, told me how amazing my previous show was, or simply just posted to say hello. This walk down memory lane has shown me the massive impact that I have had on so many people over my short 15 years of online life.
If you are reading this and you are contemplating giving up or pausing your online life, I cannot recommend this decision with higher regard. It has changed my life, and I will never return to the once esteemed “influencer” status.