Why I Left Social Media

In January of 2023, I went to Amsterdam with a friend - Following my coming back I was going to make a post on the total sensory overload that I experienced there but I never got around to it. I had always wanted to go to Amsterdam, and now I have gone I fully intend to go back before the year is out. This post is not me chronicling that adventure, the truth is that spending two days smoking weed with my Dutch friend is just not that interesting of a story. On the train journey over the person I was traveling with introduced me to an app called “be you”. To the best of my knowledge, the point of the app is that at a random point in the day, you will be prompted to take a photo of yourself or something you are doing, and this doesn’t give you a chance to curate your life. I think in theory it’s meant to break you away from presenting the “perfect Instagram life” that you lead. My friend seemed proud of this app and what she was doing with it, I on the other hand was reminded of Ted Kasycnski.

I left social media during the end of the first lockdown I think? Since then I have occasionally rejoined, only to drop back off the face of the earth a month later. The reason why I initially left it is a pretty personal one so I won’t get into it, but the reason why I stayed off is what I’m writing this.

One big highlight real

It’s a pretty common thing to hear nowadays that all social media is one big highlight real of your life. People typically don’t post the sad and mundane to their insta, and having gone through an emo-phase I can tell you this makes sense. No one wants to follow that guy on social media who only posts depressing stuff. This however ends up meaning when you are doom scrolling through the newsfeed and all you see is people smiling and having a great time and making great achievements, you will begin to think “What is wrong with me”. Now a lot of people will be able to rationalise this and understand that underneath they are going through the same thing you are, however, I wasn’t quite able to rationalise this until I took myself away from it.

The fact is that humans are very social creatures, and a lot of our social interactions and frameworks are based on the people around us. Social media may not be physical in-person social interaction, but our brain isn’t amazing at making that differentiation - this is also seen in porn, where your mind treats porn like it’s the real thing. Our brain, in terms of very basic chemistry, doesn’t care about context - If you get the same hit from watching porn as you would the real thing, then functionally your brain doesn’t care about the difference. Now imagine you are in a room with everyone you have ever met and all of them seem constantly happy, being of a healthy disposition you likely are not always happy. Your brain not understanding this will begin to ask why. Why aren’t you happy? Why aren’t you achieving as much as everyone else? Why are you single, everyone else has a girlfriend, why not you? Are you just weird? Do people secretly hate you but no one will admit it to your face? Why is it everyone else gets significantly more likes on their posts than me? etc. etc.

Once you unplug, and prioritise real human interactions rather than synthetic ones you begin to understand and appreciate that you aren’t the odd one out.

Bucket of crabs

In a way, I think a lot of people understand this, and I think a lot of people are aware they are in an unhealthy relationship with social media. I even think a lot of people would quit if they could. There is this concept called the bucket of crabs in social science that I experienced first-hand after quitting social media.

The “bucket of crabs” analogy is often used to describe a situation in which a group of individuals, such as coworkers, friends, or family members, prevent each other from succeeding or improving. The analogy comes from the observation that when a single crab tries to climb out of a bucket, other crabs will pull it back down, preventing it from escaping. Similarly, in human situations, individuals may feel threatened by the success or progress of others in their group, leading them to engage in behaviors that hold others back or prevent them from achieving their goals. This can take the form of gossip, ridicule, or other negative actions that discourage or undermine the efforts of others. The analogy is often used to encourage people to avoid this type of behavior and to support each other’s efforts to succeed and achieve their goals, rather than holding each other back.

When I initially left a lot of people were supportive, however after being off social media for a long period some people (not all, but some) changed. I was overly happy with the fact I left social media, and yet certain people (including my best friend at the time) continuously tried to get me to rejoin. At one point someone even lied saying other people were angry at me saying I abandoned them, and that I was a bad friend for doing that. To this day I do not quite know what he hoped to achieve by saying this, because despite me not being on socials I wasn’t uncontactable - I found out the truth pretty quickly. The people I wanted to keep in touch with I kept in touch with, and the people who needed to get hold of me could still get hold of me. To this day I somewhat hold the view on it that “if you require me to download an app just so you don’t have to open up another one to message me then that says more about you than it does me”.

Do I miss it

To a degree - But it’s similar to missing an ex. I may miss the good times, but equally, there is very little chance I am going back, and If I did go back it wouldn’t be on the same platforms (this ex analogy broke down pretty quickly). I discovered something pretty interesting about myself since I have left, I am self motivate rather than being motivated by my peers. I feel embarrassed when I flaunt my achievements, and thus I choose not to. I recently got employee of the month in my whole company, and I purposely didn’t tell anyone. My manager knows and a couple of friends, and that’s about it.

The truth is I just don’t think I would be “that good” at social media because I don’t know what I would post. I joined Mastodon for about a week during the great Twitter exit, and I realised that I just didn’t have anything to say. If I am going to write notes into the void I may as well do it on my blog, and thus here we are. I wouldn’t mind having a social media platform where I can post photos, but equally, I think I can probably do that with this site or find a self-hostable solution for that.


A general purpose blog for me to braindump anything I might be thinking about. Please dont hesistate to reach out if you have any questions