Taking A Break From Facebook And Instagram To Improve Mental Health?

I know this is not an airport and I don’t need to announce my departure… but I’m leaving. After hearing about riots in The Hague (my hometown) and various other Dutch cities in late 2021 it’s time to call it as I see it: as social media has played a role in starting and spreading misinformation and polarizing opinions all throughout the Covid19 pandemic, why not just call it a day?

Most people post everything three times anyway and maintain the same presence across multiple networks. Instagram even facilitates that by allowing to post the same thing automatically to Facebook as a post or story. If you think about it, there may actually be very little need to maintain a presence on all social media platforms. I never bought into TikTok and Snapchat to begin with, but even the ones I did use for a while, especially those owned by Facebook (now called Meta), maybe don’t serve much of a purpose either?

But there’s a few personal reasons too… 

To name a few: 

  • I feel a little more sad every time I log on to social media. Instead of connecting with people you care about it’s more unpleasant messages, misinformation and toxic positivity. Oh, and ads. 
  • My mental health has been impacted and being “connected” on social media doesn’t stop the isolation or feeling less lonely. After leaving Facebook I’ve also left Instagram behind to draw attention to how those social media platforms are damaging people’s mental health.
  • I’m tired of fighting the algorithms and getting my posts seen by people who have indicated they’d like to be connected to me. Social media is not the platform for that. 

I’ll miss a small handful of people, especially the ones I don’t see very often. Thanks to my previously busy travel schedule I have friends all over the world – but the good news is you have my number… or good old email.

Several people have told me they felt happier after deleting or disabling their Facebook account. Try it for a while – if you don’t want to quit cold turkey, when you disable it (instead of deleting) you can always come back. 

So instead…

Connecting one on one. Let’s be more than just internet friends, for real. I mean it. I’ve been sharing my number for a while now and enjoyed hearing from and connecting with lots of amazing people. 

Or there’s always good old email. Did you know I send out a weekly magazine every Friday? For now I’ll stay somewhat active on Twitter and LinkedIn as well as (surprisingly) those seem to upset me less. And of course I’ll keep maintaining my blog and weekly magazine. 

Don’t want to leave social? No need. There’s a lot you can do to stop the spread of misinformation. More on that topic here. 

Or maybe you’ll join me and bring these companies to a halt. Whether you do or don’t, be sure to reach out to someone in person today. Just say hello. It can even be me. I’d love to hear from you. 

Get into action

Social media is a tool that everyone should figure out how (and if) to use. I have some ideas on the topic, and you’re welcome to explore some of your options below.

There is more to life than Facebook

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