“No Facebook, almost no one remembers my birthday” – why I deleted the profiles in social networks

A freelance writer Gina van Tomm eighteen months ago, deleted all the profiles in social networks. In a column for The Huffington Post she tells how this decision affected her life and attitude.


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Gina Van Tomm

For 7 years since then, as I got permission from mom to start a Facebook profile, I have countless times tried to restrict the use of social networks.

I deleted the app on my phone, created a mini-warning about how long I could hold out and not publish anything, and even had disabled their profiles.

However, all these approaches have never worked. And how could they work? I – the millennial. Social media is my diary, my journal, my newspaper, my photo album, my own PR team and a part of my life as a communications major and writer-freelancer. They were even base some of my relationships. I couldn’t lose it all.

But what started with an innocent teenage desire to be in touch with your distant friends and family eventually turned into an obsession that I could not overcome. Every morning, half asleep I checked Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, starting the cycle of “play, upgrade, repeat”, which lasted until, until I fall asleep in the night. I felt like my life is on screen in an endless stream of selfies, portraits of Pets, bows of the day, gossip about celebrities, politicians, advertising and the hashtag.

I was so involved in the life of innocent people that have forgotten about their own. And this was not all. Despite my dislike of math, I was obsessed with numbers.

I was thirsty for likes and retweets. I lived on the emissions of dopamine, which is received with each notification that someone liked my post.

I knew that fixing this statistics was stupid and useless, but even now can recall the feeling of jealousy when someone of my friends got more likes than I do. Due to the fact that my life revolved around these figures, the difference between the number of likes my friends and I seemed tangible proof that people like me less than they.

And it was not the only case. For several years I would hold my breath every time after the publication on Facebook, updated, updated, and refreshed the page until, until the first notice – I didn’t really proud of their achievements, an important decision or a new post until then, until my friends in the social network has not expressed his approval.

In the worst moments of my life, I was marriage, a promotion at work or vacation, but not how remarkable are these events, and then how impressive will the stats look. (I mean, to travel around Europe or to get an offer from a guy to spend the rest of my life is wonderful, but I would also finally got to three the number of hearts in Instagram, right?). I knew that I could no longer live like this.

Photo: Unsplash

So, in March of last year, I downloaded all your data from Facebook, copy photos from Instagram out of Snapdata and even deleted his account on Twitter, which was created in 2009 and boldly entered into a world free of retweets and endless photos of other people’s children.

In the 16 months since that day, I feel more and less of peace than ever before. I did much less selfie that led to the growth of self-esteem, because I’m never caught off guard with a front camera Snapdata. I said goodbye to my identity as a girl who once retweeted Starbucks and said, “Hello.” a girl who learns about all the important things in life from the texts of his sister and mother.

My new offline life has forced me to change how I learn about current events. I found other ways to stay connected with people and found that some of my friendships were kept only on online communication. Every day has ceased to be a #Nacionalnega-totalnum, inspiring all for hundreds of themed photos that I scroll during its daily hunting posts about engagements and pictures of cats for ed Sheeran.

Before you take me for off-grid hermit, let me explain: even without an account you can keep up with social networks. Through public profiles, which you can see without logging in or even using a profile for browsing and searching – there are people whose posts I missed last year. But, despite the fact that from time to time I check their pages, scrolling through social media feeds no longer occupies my every free moment. They no longer play the role of a constant source of entertainment, communication and confirmation, and feeling really good.

Of course, due to the fact that most of the world is associated with social networks, it is difficult to feel fully included in society without account. When I deleted my profiles in social networks, I’m including lost data, over the years accumulated in my application to run. I missed many details of the journey my sister in Berlin, which she showed in Snapchat. I had a few uncomfortable conversations with relatives and friends, who believed that I neglect them because I trendily in social networks. Without reminders on Facebook, almost nobody remembers about my birthday and I try not to pay attention to it.

Once it seemed impossible, but I’ve grown to the point that enjoy the inviolability of its private life – the feeling that my days are full of little secrets and sokrovisha that are available only to those who know me close enough – even if the secret is that I ate for Breakfast.

Photo: Unsplash

But perhaps my biggest discovery was I, a man, who stood all this time in front of the screen. The platform was never the problem. The problem is that once awake in the morning I couldn’t remember the last time I left the house and did not use Instagram, not through Twitter and not part of Facebook.

Last year I spent to return to the driver’s seat of your own life and evaluate who or what was in front of me, instead of having to drown their comparisons and unnecessary distractions.

For years, I used social media in an attempt to find myself and when I couldn’t do that, tried to formulate itself as someone more prolific, more professional, more balanced than I am offline. I may someday reach the point when you’re ready I’ll be back. Maybe no. Now the bonuses of my decision outweigh any FOMO (from the English phrase fear of missing out — fear to miss something important that is happening now that makes us constantly update the news on social networks)that I may have.

My decision to log out improved so many things in my life: my job performance, my relationships and even my view of the world. I realized that my personality doesn’t fit in 140 or 280 characters, or in a section “About me”, or even the entire site. Nobody, online or offline, will never be able to “shrink” your worth, your identity, your influence to gigabytes, pixels or code. And knowing this, I feel much better than any number of retweets or likes that can be.


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