Goodbye, Social Media; I’m Leaving You

This is story that has been told many times already, yet this is not a rant. I’m not saying that social media is useless, or a futile attempt to facilitate communication. On the contrary. Social Media is, above all else, a vehicle for inspiration, motivation, and also the quest for freedom.

Just because I’m no longer on any of the social media platforms available doesn’t mean that I cannot continue to enjoy the great tools of communication open over the Internet. I still very much live inside the Web, and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. If anything, many of my daily routines are dependent on being constantly connected to the Net.

Social media is a great thing, and can help people spread their message. My quitting isn’t in any way a condemnation of these platforms. Instead, it’s merely a personal choice to spend less time sharing, and more time creating.

I do respect the work of other writers, photographers, and anyone with a talent. Just because I don’t retweet it or share it on Google+ doesn’t mean I wasn’t inspired by something read or seen. Just like the readership finding its way onto LockerGnome. Is it considered the rule that only shared, commented, and retweeted content is valuable? No, of course not. Even just one comment could make the difference.

We don’t do what we love just to get so and so many shares, likes, etc. Writers, photographers, or anyone who does something out of passion does it simply for the love of it. People, I believe, appreciate and honor this.

I quit social media because it’s not the only way to consume great content on the Internet. In a way, I also wanted to be able to focus on the two things that matter most in my life. On one hand, I now have the task to write great content for LockerGnome. On the other hand, I also have duties in domestic life, including learning Swedish, but also spending time with my fiancée.

In my experience, I cannot say that my most meaningful relationships came from social media. Yet, perhaps one should categorize forums and instant messaging also as a kind of social media. In this sense, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are just ways to digitally network. Beyond the endless stream of cat pictures, there is a real importance to social behavior on the Internet.

There’s no scientific, overly self-conscious egomaniac reason behind me saying “I quit!”

The truth is that I don’t want my persona to stand out any longer. Instead, I would like my name to become analogous with great content. If anyone is still interested to find out more about me, though, it’s not like I’ll be hiding. This is me merely stepping out of the limelight. Who cares what services I use? I’m not a Miley Cyrus. For one, I don’t look like her, and second, I’m not as popular as her.

Another matter to keep in mind is that privacy isn’t an issue. I’m not paranoid about what you can find out about me over the Internet. If I choose to use services by Google or Microsoft for free, I have no problem giving away my data into some random server farm. Yet this is a whole different subject. If I want to share photos, videos, and memories with my friends, I can do that without using any social media platform. Those whom I care about will always know what I’m up to. It is completely unessential to me if my former 17,000 followers on Google+ know more or less. Frankly, I doubt they even noticed that I’m no longer there.

Social media, social networking — whatever you want to call it — is a beautiful thing. When it works, it can connect people. Yet disconnecting is not the same thing as being disconnected. However, I admire those who use Twitter to express their will to survive on their quest to freedom. In those cases I can understand the endless possibilities with which these individuals are presented. Anyone who feels enriched by the effects of using social media has something I never was able to find. That’s the reason why I’m saying goodbye to social media.

However, by definition, I’m essentially engaging socially online by writing this. In the back of my head, I’m perhaps hoping to receive some kind of confirmation. So I’m guilty as charged. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t be writing for LockerGnome. Everyone seeks some kind of positive feedback. It’s what keeps us running the distance. So I’m jealous of those who are able to get this gladdening resonance from their social media experience, while also reaching out to support others. To them I say: “Don’t stop!”

What’s your relationship with social media? Do you embrace it fully to the point where it consumed a good portion of your daily activities, do you use it sparingly, or do you not use it much at all? Drop us a comment and give us the feedback we seek!

Image via Google+

Article Written by

He's a writer and photographer living in Sweden. Technology, philosophy, and films are some of his other interests. In 2008, Maximilian completed a BA in creative writing in London. So, being a writer has been important to him for a long time -- although he prefers to be called a "storyteller."

  • Jay Martin

    I’m wondering who abandoned who first. Perhaps social media found you useless in the same way you found it useless once it felt like you were running up a buttery slope. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but typically the crowd that leaves the party first is the crowd no one wanted to be there in the first place.

    I would have rather you tweeted “i’m leaving social media, even though I find some value in it”, rather than to have written a huge blog post.

  • Joelle

    I commend your decision to disconnect. For me, social media is more of a tool to avoid complete boredom than a way to really connect with people, so I can’t see myself getting rid of it. Plus I monitor my company’s social media sites so I would never truly get away. Because you already seem to have a following and a presence online, this might not be an issue for you, but others should be wary of extricating themselves completely from social media, especially job hunters. More and more employers screen potential employees using Facebook and Twitter, and if they cannot be found, apparently they look suspicious

    I loved what you said about writers:

    We don’t do what we love just to get so and so many shares, likes, etc. Writers…do it simply for the love of it.

    While this is true…I also hope that people will read it and give me feedback or be inspired. No one wants to perform for an empty room. For those of us without a following, social media is a nice, easy way to get our work out there, hopefully so it may be appreciated.

    Overall, great post! Thanks for sharing and good luck staying disconnected!

    • Maximilian Majewski

      I still have a website, and it’s not like they can’t read my articles. So, I have not completely disappeared from the Internet, of course.

  • derikp

    So true. I know many who have left (Turned off their twitter/LinkedIn and yes even Facebook) accounts. They all stil have web pages and hope to get comments/dialog that way. But no longer do it for the links….. I agree. It is a time sink and the folks that I know quit social media are also the people who don’t know how to do things in moderation. They are the EXPERT at xyz or the geek that is totally into abc. They are not the casual hobby-ist. So i think it goes with a personality type. (I’m just saying…)

  • Richard Dambrosi

    I believe to say goodbye completely to socail networking you would have to turn off turn off your internet connection completely ..
    the internet in its self is about communicating and networking at its very roots from the start there was Bulletin boards , Use net , Email and searching data bases for information ..
    IRC, Forums, Multi player games planing together as you play, messenger, then it moved on
    Web portals, Social site, blogging Smart phones , SMS to keep in contact no matter where you went even if some didn’t have cell phones ..

    its always been about social groups and networking only thing that has changed the evolution of how we connect and how we use them …

  • sdeforest

    Here is the confirmation you seek. I agree with you entirely. I used to say that if large numbers of people enjoy something and you do not, then you are probably missing out on something. That is a good argument to use on your kids when they do not want to eat something. But now I am not so sure. Sometimes we need to take the other path.,

  • Candice Cassandra

    A couple years back, I actually documented what happened when I quit Facebook and Twitter and was shocked to see how many guilt trips I got from BOTH arenas. When I would go to delete the pages — I got numerous screens asking if I was “SURE” I wanted to do that. While I ended up coming back (To keep connection with family & other friends.) It was seriously the most quiet six months ever.

    • Maximilian Majewski

      I already lived without Facebook for over a year. I’m pretty sure I can live without any of the other social media platforms as well.

  • Patrick Antonio

    We all’ve considered it i bet – i know i have. However, it is, and will become more and more, a natural extension of how we relate. …as natural as talking/having a conversation (another human invention way older than social media) is now.

    So, to actually quit will become more and more impractical, if not unhealthy, over time.

  • Ryan Matthew Pierson

    It’s a huge time suck. I often wonder if I would be better off without it, too. Good luck with this.

  • Chris Pirillo

    Social Media, I admit, can be a tremendous time suck.

    If you don’t accommodate its place within your flow, it will get you absolutely nowhere. It’s an investment of time, but that investment costs just as much money as anything else that pulls your attention.

  • Scott Allen

    Had I not seen this on Twitter, I would not have seen it. And as you said, you’re “essentially engaging socially online by writing this.”

    It’s a communication form — no more, no less. You might as well quit the telephone. Or talking, period.

    And art is meant to be seen — music is meant to be heard.
    Is it the rule that only shared, commented, and retweeted content is valuable? No… but it’s of more value to more people.

    So, if sharing that valuable content to more people can create real value for you, then not sharing it is foolish. If it creates real value for others, then not sharing it is selfish.

    Of course, you have to balance that against the constraint that there are only so many hours in the day, and compare the value of time spent on social media vs. time spent on other activities. But generally speaking, yes, I think everyone should be spending some time on social media either making money, making the world a better place, or both.

  • rick

    i do feel somewhat enriched by it BUT its NOT SOCIAL ANYMORE! When one considers all the corporations pouring money into it and the gov also watching all of it, all the time, and recording it. well u have to ask HUH? WTF? The motives well its up for grabs but I cannot think of any positives – can u?

  • Casey Frennier

    I deleted my facebook account a few years ago. It was so overloaded with the useless information from everyone that I’d ever met…

    I did end up making another account but I only friend my closest friends and relatives now and developers that I need to keep up with.
    Really, though its just so much easier to SMS everything that I don’t see the point in any of it. I have found that it’s not something I can do without entirely. Some people that I need to communicate with choose to communicate this way. The best I can seem to do is keep my friends list and people I’m following to a manageable level.

    Since you write for lockergnome you probably could live entirely without social media and still have your work read because Chris Pirillo promotes the content here so well. If Superman or Batman lived in my town I probably wouldn’t spend time with the neighborhood watch either.

  • Curtis Coburn

    Social media is most of the internet. I’d say lockergnome is one too because people post stuff, and other people read it. To end social media, you need to get away from the computer, which, today is not as easy as what some people will think.

    I use social media, to get content. I don’t always reshare it with people, or +1 every post. It doesn’t matter how many people are following you or whatever. It only matters if the content you are creating means something to you, and someone out there is impacted by it.

  • Maximilian Majewski

    People seem to misinterpret what I mean when I say that I quite social media. What I means is that I say goodbye to the sharing aspect of the Internet. Of course I still interact with the Internet, through writing, and on forums too.
    I can find great content even without social media, but this way I don’t waste 1 hour or more everyday to look at my Google+ or Twitter stream. Beyond that I never really used it anyway. I stay in touch with my friends through Skype or What’s App. No need for FB or anything really.
    Honestly, many of my friends don’t use social media that much. They have a FB account at most, but it’s not like they use to promote themselves.

    I say goodbye the social media platforms, but still continue to take advantage of the Internet in many ways.

  • Frank Schulz

    Hi Max, great thinking and some good points. I shared this story on Google+ with some opinions from me:

  • Sullivan

    I don’t think Max is quitting social media entirely. He’s just quitting Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ because these do not work out for him anymore. I myself use these social networking websites just keep myself updated with the latest news and technology, not for looking at pics or tweets or posts which I’m hardly interested in. Some use them for business, and that’s perfectly okay. If you’re consumed with spending time connecting or sharing or tweeting and that makes you happy or feel special, then that’s your business. I don’t think anyone can label you ‘selfish’ for not sharing on these particular sites.

    • Maximilian Majewski

      Yes, practically speaking you’re correct. I just quit ‘digital’ forms of social media, but continue to engage through my writing, photos on Instagram, and of course talking to people face-to-face using technology also.

  • Marsha

    Life is a balancing act. Too much one way and you fall. Social media has its place and usefulness in all manner of ways. However; the danger is becoming unbalanced where tweeting, blogging, and Facebook take the place of connecting face to face. There is something to be said for touching, smelling, tasting, i.e. using your senses to experience someone. Social networking is somewhat of a Utopian experience. We imagine a great deal about who we are connecting with. There may be some fact but a lot of the time, we fill in the blanks and make the person we’re interacting with who and what we want them to be. We form relationships built on air but hurt deeply when what we thought we had is not what we had at all.

    I’m no fan of social media to be sure. I am a gamer and the gaming world not only has the usual suspects where it comes to social media but also sites like Second Life. I can say I was addicted and paid a huge price i.e. my marriage because the social aspect of online came before anything else. Had there been a balance to online and physical life, my life might be very different and less lonely online. Human touch has always been and always will be very important to our emotional health. Social media cannot replace it. I applaud the writer for realizing the need for balance in his life.

    • Maximilian Majewski

      Thank you for your insightful comment. That’s exactly what I mean. I’m just quitting the digital form of social media, to find more time to engage with people on a personal level. I choose to stay in touch with people through more direct means, like talking on the phone, meeting in real life, and Skype even.