Are You Leaving Social Media This Year? (Have You Already Left?)


close up of the white iPhone screen with social media apps visible

With more and more people ditching Twitter since Elon Musk took the reins a few weeks ago, today we thought we’d ask the readers a very timely question: Are you leaving social media this year? If so, which platforms are you saying goodbye to? If not, what’s keeping you from leaving?

With Twitter “gutt[ing] teams devoted to combating election misinformation” right before the midterms [Washington Post] (plus, you know, being run by Elon Musk), Facebook insufficiently cracking down on COVID-19 misinformation [Gizmodo], serious privacy and security concerns surrounding TikTok [WIRED], and much more — not to mention posts from your conspiracy-theory-spreading relatives — it’s easy to find many reasons to leave.

{related: what is social media inspiring you to buy?}

On the other hand, a lot of us — me included — are hesitating to jump ship. Here are my reasons as a person who’s aware of the drawbacks of social media platforms but has stayed on so far:

I joined Facebook in 2008 so that I could manage the page of the nonprofit I worked for, and besides using it to keep up with friends and relatives, I belong to a lot of Facebook groups that I find really valuable. I’ve joined groups for women freelance writers, for moms/parents, for alumni of my college (multiple groups, in fact!), for my neighborhood, and more. I’ve gotten rid of tons of unwanted stuff in my local Buy Nothing group and have picked up a few cool things, as well. Most of these groups aren’t actively planning to migrate to another platform, but some are leaving Facebook for Discord, for example.

I’m a big fan of Twitter for keeping up with breaking news, following editors who put out calls for freelance pitches, and making sure I expose myself to diverse voices and views (while avoiding the, uh, fascists). (As a great New York Times op-ed (from Twitter’s pre-Musk era) points out, “groups including African Americans, survivors of gendered violence, and transgender women have used Twitter to build vibrant communities and to influence news and politics.” While people love to call Twitter a “cesspit,” you can’t deny it’s been essential to activism and education.

{related: how to take a partial social media break}

Besides watching an excessive number of cat videos, I use TikTok for finding DIY, cooking, and tech tips; health information (from actual professionals, don’t worry!); and more. I know I should quit TikTok because of its privacy concerns, but I just … haven’t. And because the algorithm quickly and accurately (and very creepily) learns what you like, I rarely see the stuff that people complain about when they criticize TikTok.

I’m a casual Instagram (owned by Meta, of course) user, and I use WhatsApp (also owned by Meta!) to keep in touch with my UK in-laws in between FaceTime calls. (A lot of countries use WhatsApp rather than texting because of SMS costs.)

{related: our recs for the best career & beauty TikTokers to follow}

Now that I’ve listed some factors that make people to hesitate to leave social media, we’d love to hear from readers who feel the same, and those who absolutely do not. Have you left one or more social media apps, or will you soon? Have you tried Mastodon, Discord (I recommend it!), Signal (end-to-end encrypted messaging), or others? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of social media?

Stock photo via Stencil.





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