Last week I deactivated several personal app accounts because I was beginning to feel I was at the mercy of those apps. I’ve always used social media for personal social behavior. In a way, some of you readers may have been victim to my cynical experimentation and entertainment. Never intended to be harmful but I posted things to understand how people reacted to good, bad, and weird posts. What I concluded of all the responses I witnessed and understood, the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) culture is the most powerful of them all. It is so pervasive because I see how it creates anxiety in people and provokes inner competitive stress and tension. It was so interesting to see how guys would react to the playboy lifestyle posts and girls reacted to the vacation. When I posted personal stuff like playing with my nieces and nephews, or donating and volunteering – crickets. So weird, right? But it’s not. You see there is no fear of missing out in being a good Samaritan. There is only fear of not driving a super car before you’re 30. Not dating that Instagram model before you’re married with kids.
I was also curious how not having social media would impact my time spent on my phone. I began using Apple’s Screen Time to track my usage 7-days before and after. The top four app accounts I deactivated were Instagram, Facebook Twitter, and YouTube. I’m now at 7 days of using my phone without any of my personal social media apps.
The changes I noticed
The immediate results were shocking – I saved a total of nearly 17 hours of screen time. The first day I was still randomly picking up the phone only to realize I didn’t have social apps on my phone anymore.
I took the time to craft quality responses to personal messages. My conversations felt more organized because people now only had two ways to reach me: WhatsApp and Text. I spent more time getting things done around home in the evening and on weekends. I rarely picked up my phone once when I was on my own or with a group of people. The biggest gain was improved sleep ~8 hours of sleep every night. I haven’t slept this long and consistently in several years. I spent more time on my desktop, which meant more time on work. The current top apps I use are all work accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, gmail, slack, and WhatsApp.
Eventually I’ll have to go back to social media because personal branding will be more prevalent than ever in the future. The online clout one individual will matter to future generations.