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I just deleted all of my social media apps and it feels great

I remember getting ready for college back in 2005. It was just when Facebook started opening up outside of a small number of colleges and letting anyone with a college email create an account. That’s right, I’m old enough to remember when Facebook was limited to college students.

I had just gotten back from an orientation meeting where I had met some cool people who would later turn out to be the friend group I’ve maintained for the rest of my life (at least so far — stay on your toes, Nathan), and I was hoping to stay in touch with them throughout the rest of the summer before we actually moved into our dorm rooms for the fall semester.

Since group texts weren’t what they are now, it made it difficult for everyone to stay in touch and see what was going on in each other’s lives as a group. That’s where Facebook came in. We all signed up and were able to stay in touch with each other — individually and as a group — until we were all with each other again in person.

I remember being really grateful such a service existed and wholeheartedly believe it’s one of the reasons our friend group was able to actually form so closely over the months leading up to us heading off to college. We really hit the ground running, and we’ve (mostly) all stayed in touch and remain friends to this day.

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TikTok running on a smartphone.Social media isn’t social networking anymore. Image source: Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe

That’s the social media I loved. That is not what social media is today. In fact, it was called a social network at the time, not social media. Media really came in later with hoards of advertising and a drive to create content for money or fame. Today’s landscape of social apps is a far cry from something that lets you stay in touch with friends and family.

While I’ve certainly enjoyed some entertainment through social media, whether it be laughing at videos on TikTok or staying informed about something in the tech community on Twitter or Threads, I’ve realized that it’s no longer a net positive for me. While there are some benefits, the downsides (divisiveness, time-wasting, anxiety, etc) now greatly outweigh them.

So, I’ve decided to quit social media. I’ve deleted all of them — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (forever will call it Twitter), Threads, TikTok, and Snapchat (I honestly haven’t used this in years). Even LinkedIn wasn’t safe — that’s gone too.

There are two social-ish apps I’ve kept

There are two apps that are arguably social media apps that I’ve kept: YouTube and Reddit. However, for me, YouTube represents a video streaming service from which I get enormous value. YouTube is like Netflix, but every show is made by regular people. I follow a small number of channels that I get enormous value from for my interests.

Reddit is also another service I get a ton of value from, and while there is a social element in the comments, I’m mostly a lurker who follows some subreddits in areas I am interested in. For me, Reddit is basically Apple News, but each article is a post created by a regular person. Who knew that the best form of a social internet was forums all along?

With these two in my toolbelt, I think I have all I need. I deleted my last social media account this morning. It was Facebook. Almost 20 years after I first logged on to make friends, I logged off for good — friends still intact.

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