How do you leave Social Media without losing your network?

I’ve spent the last six months weaning off of Facebook’s suite of apps. Their lack of ethics finally outweighed the value of their ubiquity. Because of this, I began the process of deletion (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger). Almost immediately, I felt a notable change in my overall level of happiness and contentment.

Trending topics and outrage focused feeds may have been overloading my psyche. My brain is only able to effectively deal with the level of stress generated by the happenings of a small community (See: Dunbar’s Number). I was genuinely surprised by how much better I’ve felt once I removed awareness of the continuous-crisis news-cycle from my life.

The major downside that originally kept me from leaving was FOMO. I didn’t want to miss out on dank memes and interesting dialogue. To counter this perceived loss, I’ve decided to start generating more original content and I’m working to develop deeper relationships with key individuals in my life.

Plan of Action

  1. Backup my data from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  2. Deactivate, delete, or refactor accounts
  3. Find a new messaging alternative
  4. Develop more active relationships with my network

Backup and Deactivate

There are plenty of posts on how to backup Facebook and Twitter data and deactivate your accounts. So I’m not going to cover Step 1 and 2.

Text Messaging

I decided to switch my primary messaging client over to Signal since it supports end-to-end encryption, is easy-to-use, and is cross-platform. It also supported encrypted phone calls. The only thing that I’ll miss is the video conferencing – which I plan to handle through Google Hangouts or Skype.

Activate My Network

I now block time using recurring appointments to make phone calls to key friends/family and to blog. I will be distributing my blog via mailing-list and I plan to put hooks into each post to start 1-to-1 conversations. By disintermediating my relationships, I hope that I can build a stronger network that involves more personal and meaningful interactions.

The Question of the Day

How do you feel about your social media usage? On average do you think it makes you happier and more content or does it leave you with feelings of insecurity and anxiety? What’s keeping you from disconnecting from the major platforms?

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