Cal Newport Suggested I Quit Social Media, so I Did (Mostly)

quit social media

I’ve been wanting to quit social media for a while now, but I haven’t had the guts.

Then I watched Cal Newport’s TEDx talk and that was it. I was in. No more squatting on the fence for me.

He made some compelling arguments, but it was more the fact that someone else was telling me what I wanted to hear.

You don’t have to do this anymore if you don’t want to.

Lame, I know. But I don’t care. I’m free and that’s what counts.

I’d better update my LinkedIn profile. It currently lays claim to my being a social media strumpet, or something along those lines.

Wait, what? You’re still on LinkedIn?

Yes, more on that in a bit.

Cal is hardcore. The man doesn’t even have a LinkedIn profile, seriously.

I’m not judging here, that’s me writing in awe.

Clearly my assumption that he only eschews frivolous platforms like Instagram was wrong. Then again, he did mention that he spends his evenings reading hardcover books by candlelight.

You’d think that might have alerted me.

You can however find Cal Newport on Amazon. I guess when you’ve written as many books as he has, it makes sense.

But back to me quitting social media. I’m sure you’ve got a bunch of questions, not least of which is: Am I still a person Kath?

To the best of my knowledge there are only three people who will get the Kath joke, but maybe I’m wrong. Here’s hoping.

Quit Social Media by Cal Newport

Whether or not you’re on the fence about social media, Cal’s talk is worth watching. He names the three most common objections he gets for quitting social media and offers a valid counter-argument for each. Grab a coffee and have a watch, it’s well worth the time spend.

It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.” —Alexis Ohanian

Why Did I Quit Social Media?

As I said earlier, it’s been a long time coming. It started with my attempt to downsize negativity in September last year. That didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. Mainly because I didn’t stick to the guidelines and goals I’d set out for myself.

I’d post the odd thing whenever it occurred to me and the rest of the time I’d use social media as a distraction. I know, so much for downsizing negativity.

I’d comment here and there, share this, like that, you get the picture. My heart wasn’t in it and it felt like a waste of time. But I’d convinced myself that I had to be on social media, so I kept at it.

Except I wasn’t keeping at, was I? I was arsing about, wasting time and achieving bugger all. Cal’s talk was the tipping point for me and I went over with gay abandon.

Did I Quit Everything?

I immediately deleted —yip, deleted— my Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook profiles. It’s not that hard to do, although they did ask me if I was sure. A lot.

I knew from the outset that I wouldn’t be deleting my LinkedIn profile. It’s served me well as a freelance writer. Plus, it doesn’t distract me with photos of baby pandas or our president dancing.

After some deliberation Sporty and I decided against deleting Mostly Mindful’s Facebook page. I can only see our feed and those of the pages we follow, so there’s no chance of any negativity cluttering up our timeline.

Also, our lovely readers hang out there, so it made sense since they’re all such lovely, upbeat people.

Yip, I’m sucking up, but I mean it too! 😉

How Did It Feel?

It felt daunting beforehand and liberating right after. There’s still an element of weird about it, but that’s only because I’ve broken up with an annoying habit.

By the way, I’m only sharing this with you so you know why I’m no longer retweeting photos of baby pandas. If you want to follow suit I recommend it, but I’m definitely not trying to coax you over to the hipster dark side.

Where to from Here?

If you signed up for  our weekly newsletter —which hasn’t been weekly for a while now, sorry— you’ll know I’m on a mission to write a personal email to each of our subscribers.

The idea is simply to connect on a more personal level with our readers. Think of it as the opposite of social media. Sign up and you could be next, ‘cos I’m not going in order.

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  1. Hi Ang,

    hope you’re having a great day. Big fan all the way from Indonesia (though I’m from Brazil originally).

    I’m debating whether to get rid of Pinterest or not. I love curating my board and I don’t really have friends there, so I don’t consider it as a traditional social media. However, I do think sometimes it makes me crave a life I don’t have yet. In another hand, it’s helping me with building my tiny wardrobe and natural eating.

    What are you thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Diny

      Wow, Indonesia, that’s awesome! Thanks for stopping by. Okay, so I think you’ve answered your own question, because you say you think it sometimes make you crave a life you don’t yet have. That’s exactly what Cal was talking about (did you watch his TED talk?), he says social media does that to us and it’s not healthy.

      I’d say ditch Pinterest and find another way to collate the articles that interest you. I have found Pocket to be a really handy tool for this. You can download the app for your phone too. If you’re very much on the fence you could always commit to not using Pinterest for a month and see how you feel?

      Hope that helps!
      Ang 🙂

      PS If you’d like a postcard send us your address via our contact form. We haven’t sent a postcard to Indonesia yet! You can find out more about our postcard project here.

  2. I was thrilled to hear about Cal Newport, because I personally have never been impressed with social media. I do have a LinkedIn account because it is where I am able to email past employees, but I don’t actively use it. I deleted my career ‘timeline’ and it is just very basic. I don’t actively seek people out to invite , but I do accept invitations. And, I don’t read other profiles or follow people. It is just kind of there for the most part.

    I was on Facebook before anyone I knew because a friend wanted to show me pictures. I got off it pretty quickly as it started becoming popular, because I could just tell that it was not my thing. I can’t handle Twitter or Instagram. It is ‘cloud clutter’ in my opinion. I’ve also unsubscribed from a bunch of blogs and really pared down on reading and commenting. But, I will continue to follow your blog! 🙂

    1. I love that term: Cloud Clutter! I sense a blog post in there and when I write it I’ll be sure to credit you! Thanks for continuing to follow us, we really appreciate it! 🙂

  3. I am on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

    LinkedIn has proved helpful in getting in touch with people I have worked with before or people getting in touch with me for work. I don’t spend much time there, probably 15 minutes a week just to check notifications and respond.

    I spend very little time on Facebook and have it on my list to cancel. I used to think it is worth keeping to see pics of loved ones, but most of them are Whatsapp’d to me anyway.

    Now Twitter is an interesting one – I have recently started trading cryptocurrencies and the quickest and fastest way to get news or find out about market sentiment is on Twitter. The way I have managed this is that I only follow people I respect and that are verified or people that these people follow. If there is any trolling I unfollow them immediately. I also do not scroll through the feed. I only use it on a search term basis or click through to a profile who I think might have some relevant insight on the topic I am researching.

    1. Sporty you clever biscuit! If I’d thought to use Twitter like that I might not have deleted it, but I was one of those ‘feed scrollers’ who got completely distracted by pictures of hilarious baby goats. Not good for productivity! Thanks for sharing your insights, I’ll be sure you buy you a slab of chocolate when that’s on the cards again! <3

  4. Good job. Everytime I quit facebook, my productivity spiked and after reading Deep Work byt C. Newport, I deleted it forever and deleted every other account,except for Youtube which I use for music and tutorials and many other things. I’ve disabled cookies on youtube for my computer, so I waste less time on it. No social media means privacy and the peace of mind I sorely needed. I also have time to live an actual life.

    1. I cannot quit any social media. The reason? I have none!
      I’m not a hermit. I’m a college educated middle age woman living in an industrialized country. I never felt I needed them. Nor I tried to avoid them.
      There’s a catch. I occasionally post my music performance in my husband’s Facebook which is just for family and real friends. It’s encouraging to receive warm comments there.
      So far this dose of social media use is working for me. Sometimes things are not all or nothing.

      1. How wonderful that you have no social media profiles. I wonder if you can Cal Newport are the only ones? Ha ha ha. You’re right, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, unless that works for you. For now, my more minimalist approach is working but I plan on reassessing the situation in early January.

  5. I am in a predicament as I just reached 1000 subscribers on my YouTube channel and I am able to make money on it. So, do I continue making videos or live my life

    1. Well, I guess that depends. Do you enjoy making content for your YouTube channel? Is it benefiting others? Is it benefitting you? Hanging out on social media (whatever platform) just so you can watch other people live their lives doesn’t make sense. But if what you’re doing serves a purpose, then I’d say keep at it. If it doesn’t, then go live your life 🙂

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