FOMO And Quitting Social Media

Quitting social media is not without its pains. A lot of people, for example, mention making new accounts to “keep in touch with those they care about” or limit the fear of missing out.

FOMO and stuff is caused by social media, not resolved by social media. Checking Twitter and Instagram doesn’t actually make you any more connected. If anything, it takes away your precious time to show you ads and posts. The critical thing, however, happens after you close the app.

In the most severe cases of problematic use, including mine, there is a short (minutes-long)feedback loop happening all day long. I would go back to whatever I was doing and then within a few minutes do my loop again: check Snapchat, Texts, Email, and Instagram. A few more minutes would go by, and then I would do it again. And again. Screen time records were up to 5-6 hours on a given day, typically the weekend. I had over 100 phone pick-ups throughout the day. These statistics are available for Apple devices if you turn on screen time.

When I first quit social media, I began feeling so much FOMO. I was worried that I would miss out on important things, become less social, etc. But, I realized something super important that I wanted to share.

I know what this feeling is. It’s a withdrawal pang. That’s what users suffer their entire lives and keeps them addicts. Non-users don’t feel these feelings, it’s an effect caused by the drug/software/app. How wonderful that I am removing this attachment!

Quitting Social Media Means Quitting The Pain

It’s been months now. I just this morning went for a run at 6:20 AM before work, and am confident that I will begin doing it regularly. I will talk about how to make goals like this soon, so subscribe to the mailing list!

FOMO, anxiety, etc. Social media is the cause of these negative feelings. Since quitting, I’ve never felt better. I can’t imagine ever going back to social media, at all. It doesn’t interest me in the slightest anymore. I feel freed.

Instagram was invented in 2010, and TikTok around 2016-2018. Almost everyone, ever, has gone without using social media. You really don’t need it, and if anything it is negatively impacting your life.

How Much Time Do You Give Away?

Take a second to do some math with me. Think about how many weeks you’ve had social media (including Reddit!) for. You can search your email to see when you signed up for your account. Now roughly determine about how long you spend on these apps per week.

I couldn’t find out the data, but I made my latest instagram account sometime around this time in 2016. 6 years, at 52 weeks per year, is 312 weeks.

Spending about 5 hours per week on Instagram, (~42 minutes per day) during this time means that I have spent almost 1,560 hours on the Instagram app. Almost 98 days, taking 8 hours break for sleep.

Now, had I not quit social media, I would possibly use for the rest of my life. That’s not a big surprise, often people believe that they will ~eventually~ stop using social media. But why?

The algorithms keep getting better and new apps come all the time. TikTok, for example, has changed the way social media works. It’s more addicting, more effective, not less. If anything, it will get harder to quit over time.

So, given that I am 21, let’s assume I live to the average 79 in the USA. 58 more beautiful years, at 5 hours per week, is 15,080 hours. Note that this is starting from today, not including any past social media usage. That’s 942 days straight, taking an 8 hour break to sleep, up until the minute I die!

I wonder how many of you readers will, within your last hour of life, check Instagram or watch some TikTok videos. Hopefully this article can help steer you from that path.

I Can Quit Whenever I want

Sure, then go a week without it. Prove to yourself it’s not an issue, and I could be totally wrong. But, you may object, why would I want to do that?

The issue is as follows: You may believe you can quit whenever, but you will never want to. The internet is addicting, and I think you should be informed as to what that looks like.

  • If you are having FOMO, and quickly check your phone to make sure you haven’t missed out on anything
  • If you check social media first thing in the morning and right before you fall asleep
  • If quitting social media seems insane and something you would never do
  • If you check social media while talking to someone, at a party, or at the bar
  • If you have tried to quit but were unsuccessful
  • Using in situations that are risky or hazardous (i.e. while driving or working)
  • Needing more time/likes/follows to get the same amount of pleasure or enjoyment from social media
  • Using social media more than you want to

Quitting Social Media Will Only Free You

The world without a screen in sight

I want to say this point again, about the pangs of quitting social media:

I know what this feeling is. It’s a withdrawal pang. That’s what users suffer their entire lives and keeps them addicts. Non-users don’t feel these feelings, it’s an effect caused by the drug/software/app. How wonderful that I am removing this attachment!

It’s true. After I stopped using social media, I no longer have ANY sort of feelings like this. I remember when I used to feel so worried after traveling without wifi, returning home, and then getting “caught back up”. Social media and the internet created those negative feelings.

Those feelings do not exist without social media. They are what keep people hooked, and understanding the nature of why billions of people around the world turn to their devices daily will only serve to empower you.

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2 thoughts on “FOMO And Quitting Social Media

  1. I see someone has been reading Allen Carr. Nice choice, his philosophy helped me kick a plenty of addictions. Keep up the good work Kendrick.

    1. Indeed, I’ve been reading as much as I possibly can this summer. Thank you for your kind words, James!

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