• Miriam Wheeler, ND

Why I Quit Social Media, And Why I Rejoined - Part 1

Updated: May 14





So here it is. My honest answers to 1) why I haven't used social media (personally or professionally) for many years now, and 2) why I chose to create professional accounts recently.


I started by deactivating my Facebook account. It was sometime in 2014, though I can't remember exactly if it was before or after graduating from naturopathic medical school. There had been some big changes in my personal life around this time, and social media just added to the stress and anxiety I was already experiencing. I was fed up with the fakeness of it all; I was tired of assumptions being made based on the narrow glimpses of our lives we typically share publicly. And I was exhausted from the habitual tendency of waiting for and checking the seemingly constant notifications.


Sometime the following year, I permanently deleted both FB and Instagram (I've never used Twitter and had long since forgotten my MySpace account log in info). Facebook I didn't miss at all; I considered FB the armpit of the Social Media platforms. No one logged off FB feeling better about themselves or the world, at least not in my experience. Facebook was like this never ending stream of videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge and a random acquaintance's vacation photos. None of this enriched my day. I remember being extremely grateful that I wasn't using FB throughout the 2016 election cycle and didn't have to block friends and family (as a mental coping mechanism to our differing political views), or be bombarded with political ads (many of which, it turns out, were probably fake). [1]


Instagram was wonderful to be away from permanently, too. Once the addictiveness of it subsided, my mental health significantly improved. I was no longer comparing my life to everyone else's. My relationships improved, too. I started reconnecting with friends and family in more fulfilling ways, actually calling or texting them to check in. Since I no longer saw the play-by-play of their curated and polished "lives" on these platforms anymore, I learned about their achievements, losses, and other major life events from them directly.


And so, I have happily stayed off with zero plan on returning. I have felt justified in this decision based on all the research that has come out identifying the harms of social media, from addiction to poor self-esteem. [2] For personal reasons, I didn't want to support companies like Facebook because of the risks they pose to democracy and privacy.


Yet, I rejoined recently. Why? Stay tuned for the second part of this post :)



[1] https://www.wired.com/story/russian-facebook-ads-targeted-us-voters-before-2016-election/ Wired: How Russian Facebook Ads Divided and Targeted US Voters Before the 2016 Election. April 16, 2018.


[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/i-hear-you/201906/is-social-media-bad-you Pyschology Today: Is Social Media Bad for You? Research links excessive Facebook or Instagram use to depression and loneliness. June 21, 2019.

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