Disclaimer: Originally posted a few months ago on the Medium. The original was deleted and this is a revised version.
I made some significant changes in my life a few weeks back. One of them was logging out of social media.
Last Saturday I sat down to write a post about leaving facebook and chasing my dreams. It is such a cliche, I know. CollegeHumor wrote an excellent sketch way back when that laughed about people who did these things.
I left because I realized how much time I was spending on the platform. My iPhone helped me recognize it with Screen Time statistics.
Before this week, I would have around 2–3 hours of daily use of the Facebook app. During this week, I have translated these hours into using the Medium app. Definitely a better use of my time since I was writing for Medium and reading other articles.
The reason for this move was part of my attempt to declare war on my debt. I can’t work at getting ahead while I’m wasting my time away on reading BS on Facebook and writing posts that get me nowhere.
I used to write a lot on Facebook, mostly stories or poetry. These would get the occasional like and comment. Nothing serious would happen, and then after fifteen minutes, it’s forgotten. People on Facebook don’t usually read long posts, either.
That’s why I left. If it’s a choice between taking care of my future and spending time on Social Media, well I know I need to take care of myself first.
That week was quite literally — horrible.
You don’t realize how much you’re addicted to Social Media until you try to leave. There were nights I sat on my computer in front of the Facebook login page and hovered between closing it or entering my credentials. On my phone, it was worse. I became aware of a strange habit to take out my phone and press the facebook app when I’m in elevators. Usually, there’s no reception in elevators, so I’m curious what prompted this. At the office, I also opened up the app many times only to reveal the login page. I should have deleted it from the start.
After a while using Medium, I have had a renewed purpose in my writing. Whenever I would have posted something on Facebook, I would get some engagement with the post and would rate it according to how well it was received. That is a huge mistake. The majority of your Facebook connections are neither editors nor writers. They may enjoy your post in their own way. It may speak a little about the value of what you wrote, mostly the clarity of the text.
Here on Medium I just write. I try to write better each time. This platform feels like a true writer space. I respect and value the opinion of people who start a conversation with me because I can identify how much experience they have with writing, just by looking at their profile. Also, everything I write here has a true value that translates into actual compensation for writing. Something that will never happen on a social media platform like Facebook.
Facebook was my worst Social Media addiction by far. I used to feel excited whenever people reacted, shared or commented on my posts. It’s a definite dopamine boost when someone interacts with you in such a big lonely place. If I had been monetizing on this somehow, then I wouldn’t be completely logging out. I didn’t delete or deactivate my facebook either. I do plan to return at some point.
But for now, I realized that not only should I be focusing more on building my future, I also need to detoxify from using Facebook so much.
We should all remember that Facebook — just like any other social network — is merely a tool. A tool we all become addicted to but a tool nonetheless.
Oren Cohen is a Software Development Engineer, Gamer, Geek, and Writer. He is writing in all sorts of topics on Medium, though his passion lies with Fantasy and Video Games.