Why I deleted all of my social media accounts


Drawn by Sarah Sander

In my experience, social media was holding me back more than it was connecting me to my friends and peers.

Social media has been one of the single most revolutionary forces within the last decade, vowing to bring people together from all corners of the world and give people the space to share ideas and express their true selves. In the span of 10 years, social media usage in adults rose from just 7 percent to 65 percent- usage in young adults is unsurprisingly even steeper at a full 90 percent. However, we don’t even need these statistics to recognize the massive cultural transformation social media brought us. One look outside is enough to show this: phone screens in the hallways, Snapchats at a concert,  moments constantly being documented to display later online. Social media has reshaped culture, in many cases for the worst.

When someone scrolls through her Instagram feed or watches a Snapchat story, she may see pictures of unattainable beauty, people travelling the world, or even just classmates and peers seemingly having fun constantly. We have grown to believe that these social media pages are an honest reflection of their lives, but it’s far closer to a funhouse mirror, distorting and exaggerating the truth. Most people will never willingly share the mundane aspects of life, only wishing to broadcast the most incredible moments.

To compare this to your own life can be nothing short of depressing. On innumerable occasions, I would get jealous of the constant excitement my classmates would be having and the perfectly curated photos to prove it. What was so hard for me to remember and recognize was that these people had bad and boring days just like I did. Not all these moments were as carefree and authentic as they were being portrayed. For this, I truly think that social media accounts were doing the opposite of their initial promise. It appeared that social media was, at its core, separating us more than it was bringing us together.

This is not to say that in every case, social media is inherently wrong or detrimental to a person’s life. Back in middle school at the beginning of the social media craze, my Instagram feed was filled with people truly expressing themselves and their lives without care for mass amounts of likes or whether their feed matched a certain aesthetic. I recognize that there are still people who run accounts in this way, but from my experience, this is not the mentality of the masses. 

In the end, social media didn’t augment my life in any way. It was a self serving way to try to make people think I was cool, as if the opinions of others gave my life validation. My mindless scrolling wasted mass amounts of time that I could have been using for just about anything else that would have given a more positive spin to my life.

It is still an ongoing process to break the mental habit of wanting to share the absolute highlights of my life online so that others will see it and think a certain way of me. What I’ve come to realize is that this is not a healthy approach to life and is certainly not the way to live an authentic one.