Over the summer I read the book, 10 Arguments to Delete Your Social Media Accounts by Jared Lanier. If you haven’t read it, please do. Your eyes will be opened for sure, and you just might find a compelling argument or two on why you should delete yours as well.
Reading the book was for me an eye-opening experience. I’ve concluded that I must delete most of my social media accounts. While I don’t have 10 arguments, I do have three reasons to share why I’m deleting mine.
But first, I think I need to clarify my statement. I’m not deleting all my social media accounts. I am deleting my Facebook Profile, my Facebook Page, and my Instagram accounts. Over the years I have had many social media accounts. Recently I had Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, and more. I have already deleted those. I will still maintain my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
What are the three reasons I’m deleting my social media accounts? Here we go:
I once listened to a podcast episode where the person on the show described how parents were blaming TikTok for their child’s suicide attempt because the child started searching for darker themed content after a breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend. The parents contend that TikTok kept serving their child that content to drive them to attempted suicide. I don’t think the algorithm has a moral component. It’s just giving you more of what it thinks you want to see.
I’ll be frank, blunt, to the point, and just plain honest with you. Social media allows you to watch and consume all manner of content. As a male, I get served lots of stuff in my Instagram Reels that I should just not engage in. It was the same with Snapchat and even worse on my TikTok #ForYou page. I’m sure that each of you can understand and have experienced this point. I have a hunch that once Instagram, TikTok, and other algorithms latch on to what it thinks you want to see, it is on an all out quest to find those things and put them in your feed to keep your eyeballs.
While algorithms are complex and difficult to understand, I think that it’s just another expression of the old theologian John Calvin’s observation that man is an idol making factory. Algorithms don’t have morals though. They don’t think, “hey, I should probably not put that content in front of him/her.”
I still remember the day I first signed up for Facebook. I was a seminary student and I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Well, that first time I signed up for the social media service I spent 2 and a half hours scrolling, searching, exploring, reconnecting, and posting. I couldn’t believe it. The sun had set, it was now night time, and I had neglected to do the reading for that day all because I was engrossed in likes, pokes, and friend requests.
I have found that whenever I log on to Facebook or Instagram, I’m on it for far too long. I could be more productive with my time, read more books, do more chores, and work on things that matter more than just being a target to the infinite scroll.
What if you dedicated the time you spend on social media to something more worthwhile, like reading your Bible, reading another book, exercising, working on a side-business, or anything more meaningful.
Closely akin to Jared’s book, I’ve also watched the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma. It describes social media as nothing more than a technology meant to keep you glued to the screen so that they have your attention as long as they possibly can. Notifications, like the little red dot with the number of emails you have yet to read, and the bells and the dings and all those little sounds are meant to hook you and keep you hooked. In a lot of ways I feel like that people have lost control of their lives and maybe even their humanity by being enslaved or at the very least held captive by the technology that has been created. I think it might be time to regain a sense of agency in my life.
As I understand it, the best way to delete your social media accounts is to request a copy of your data and everything social media has on you and then delete my accounts.
So far, I have downloaded all my data.
Now, it’s time to delete the accounts.
I’ve already uninstalled the apps on my mobile devices. I have a plan to go super minimal there as well.
I intend to share with my connections on Facebook and Instagram this post and also share with them how they can keep in contact.
I’ve decided to delete my Facebook and Instagram accounts because they represent an unnecessary temptations, time wasting, and controlling technology.