Break up with your social media

Kearstin Calhoun, Contributing Writer

The most liberating thing I have ever done was delete my social media accounts. I have not woke up to my snap streaks or checked to see how many retweets I have gotten in a while.

When I still had social media, I never noticed that I craved the validation of everyone’s opinions so often, including those of my friends, family, even strangers. The big problem with social media is the urge to constantly check in on what people are doing and the need to compare yourself to everyone you follow.

We don’t talk nearly enough about how deeply social media can affect your mental health. Having to constantly check my accounts and seeing that my likes weren’t as high as the pretty girl’s picture above mine used to really damage my confidence. 

I remember my anxiety and depression is so much worse when I had social media. I was constantly chasing after the thrill of being someone else, looking like someone else and acting like someone else.

The truth is, social media is a great mask. You can, unfortunately, be anyone you want on social media. I remember specifically on Snapchat seeing girls partying and believing that I needed to do that too. 

As soon as I attended a party I realized that in real life, no one was talking to each other. Everyone was just taking pictures and making videos PRETENDING to have the time of their lives when they really didn’t even know each other. How boring to constantly pretend to be someone you’re not.

I grew up fast, I started college in my senior year of high school, I moved out of my parent’s house at 18 years old, and I have been living independently ever since. I wasn’t paying as much attention to my social accounts during the first few years of being out on my own and I quickly started to see what it was like to be on the outside of social media. 

I’d log on and feel left out of being tagged in funny tweets or not being on someone’s snap story. I felt as though I had this burden on me to stay updated with my socials, work full time, pay bills, and be a full-time college student and I was failing at maintaining all of these successfully. I quickly realized that the “reality” that was portrayed on social media platforms begins to start to feel like a competition… And I decided I didn’t want to win.

When I decided to finally delete all my social accounts, I was scared. I had read a few articles about others deleting their accounts and I decided to rip off the bandage about a year ago. When I did it, I did it full-on, I only kept Tumblr, my blog site. Everything else including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter were deleted. 

A few months after that I attended J Cole’s concert and it was so liberating to not feel the need to document every second of it, but instead, to really rejoice in the present moment there.

Deciding to delete social media can give students the confidence they may have lost while scrolling, often comparing themselves to others. Deleting social media allows one to appreciate the moment more and create memories without feeling the need to post about them.

If deleting social media is too scary for you, I understand. I do admit that I often feel a bit “out of the loop” on the latest memes and newest drama (though, personally I love not needing that information in my life anymore) Another suggestion is limiting yourself to 30 minutes a day and no more than that. 

Above all, just take breaks from social media, your mind body and soul deserve to feel okay without the constant need for approval. 

Kearstin is a senior ELL major and is a Contributing Writer for The Voice.