A couple of weeks ago, I made the bold move of hitting the little gray ‘X’ on the top left corner of my social media apps, deleting them from my phone. I know what you are thinking: I’m crazy. But I have to disagree. Making the decision to remove social media apps from my phone may have been the best decision I’ve made thus far this year.
Social media is something that gives people a lot of joy but also can just as easily give people a lot of stress. For me, it was the latter — my stress levels were off the charts. There is so much pressure on people today to have a social media following, an aesthetic feed, and maintain a constant presence. I was beginning to fall into the trap of placing too much value on the performance of my posts.
Let’s talk about Tik Tok. When Tik Tok first came on the scene, I basically vowed never to download it. I didn’t really see the appeal or find any of the trends at the time funny. Of course, once quarantine hit in March of 2020 I gave in and downloaded it. Initially, I only wanted to post original dances that I choreographed to highlight my dance abilities, but I quickly forgot about that idea and just fell in line. I posted so many videos just doing random trends or doing “Tik Tok dances” rather than setting out to create a platform just for my creations.
Looking back, I am upset that I didn’t stick with my original plan. Even if I never got any attention from the videos, I think I would have felt more rewarded for making videos that I was proud of rather than copying the trends of that day. That is a big reason I deleted the app. I needed a break from constantly feeling the need to stay up to date with the current sounds and trendy videos.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong with being on Tik Tok and making trendy videos for fun. I just wasn’t doing it for fun anymore. I was making “trendy videos” with the sole goal of gaining followers and views, which always left me disappointed. Videos I worked incredibly hard on flopped and videos I just copied from the For You page got at most 1000 views. Had I kept the mindset of just having fun, maybe I would still have the app; however, my unconscious need for views was becoming overbearing.
Because I deleted Tik Tok, I also needed to delete Instagram. Instagram has this lovely feature called Reels, where I could get around the lack of Tik Tok since the Reels page is mostly recycled Tik Tok videos. Instagram is also another place where I found myself placing too much importance on views or likes. If a certain photo I posted didn’t get as much attention as I had hoped, I would overanalyze why and it would give me a lot of unnecessary stress.
I am usually not one to place my own self-importance in the hands of my Instagram followers, but in this age, it is hard to stay removed from that mindset. That is one thing that removing social media from my phone has taught me — no matter how many times I tell myself that I don’t care about likes or followers or views, the truth is, I do.
It has been two weeks since I set out on this endeavor to stay off social media for a month, and I have to say I am much more productive, happier, and less stressed. I highly encourage everyone to take some time every once in a while to remove themselves from the social media sphere to do some self-care. It is actually kind of fun not knowing what the trends are and just living a little more authentically for myself rather than for likes. These next two weeks are going to be just as freeing, and who knows, maybe I’ll continue to stay off the grid beyond this month.