Much has been made of the social media “detox”: a break, however permanent or temporary, from the digital world.
Of course, because each person’s relationship with social media is unique (terrible), the way people deal with unplugging varies, too. For some, logging off for a while can be genuinely rejuvenating. For others, it’s fine, but it doesn’t change their habits in the end. And some people simply hate social media and never want to touch it again. That’s fair — it’s often bad.
But what is the final straw that makes people delete the app, suspend the account? We asked eight humans to share why, exactly, they quit a certain platform — down to the occasionally weird details.
1. Amanda, 25
Length of break: 3 months and counting
The reason: “I didn’t quit on purpose. I woke up one morning to find my Facebook had been hacked.”
“I actually tried to find a way back on, but it was a really difficult process. Instead, I decided it was a good time to take a break, reported it to Facebook so they would shut down the account, and I’ve been without it ever since. I guess this was the push I needed to make a major change, even if it was a little dramatic.”
Will you be back? “I’m looking for a new job in a new city, and Facebook is a great way to be up to date on what’s happening locally. I don’t want to become a hermit, so I’ll probably return eventually.”
2. Natali, 33
Length of break: 2 years and counting
The reason: “I had moved overseas and didn’t really want to keep up with the lives of anyone back home, on top of constantly being exposed to their (previously unknown to me) bigoted opinions and questionable political beliefs.”
Will you be back? “I’ve been legitimately happy without it ever since and don’t plan on reactivating my account.”
3. Austin, 22
Platforms: Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. He re-downloaded Instagram so he could like his girlfriend’s photos.
Length of break: 1 month and counting
The reason: “When I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions, I decided I wanted to read more. I used to read a lot and when I thought about why I didn’t anymore, I realized it was because I was killing time with social media instead of truly doing what I wanted to do.”
“I thought more about how I was so active on Twitter and thought that maybe it would be good for my mental health to take a break for a while, given the state of social media now.”
“Then I just kinda said ‘Fuck it, I’ll give up everything.'”
Will you be back? When I feel like I can use social media more moderately.
4. Monica-Tezla, 39
Platforms: Twitter, Snapchat
Length of break: 1 year and counting
The reason: “They don’t give me more than my regular sources already supply me with. I am happy with how I am currently connected to news and pop [culture] via regular morning news, Facebook, and Instagram.”
“Most of the time it just felt exhausting… like oh, now I have to check one more app to see if I missed something. And 90% of the time it gave me information I already had or comments from influencers I just didn’t care about.”
“If I were a high-profile celeb or executive I could see how the apps would be beneficial, but as a follower, I gain nothing personally or professionally from being active on either of the two platforms.”
Will you be back? “Maybe. I haven’t thought about it.”
5. Tyler, 27
Length of break: 1 week and counting
The reason: “I deleted Facebook off my phone last week after catching myself suddenly being invested in the progress this guy I haven’t spoken to since middle school was making on the deck he was building.”
Will you be back? “No, I’m all the way out. I don’t even log in on my computer anymore.”
6. Cheryl, 26
Length of break: 5 years and counting
The reason: “I hate to say it was because of a boy, but it was because of a boy. My evil ex-boyfriend reactivated his account after a hiatus, and I decided it wasn’t healthy to over-analyze his every cyber move, or stalk him incessantly.”
Will you be back? “Nope! I’ve enjoyed having one less platform to keep up with, and being ignorant of who my Trump-supporting friends are is something I will cherish.”
7. Lilli, 15
Length of break: 2 weeks and counting
The reason: “It consumed too much of my time, and I had stopped doing other things I loved to do.”
Will you be back? “I re-downloaded the app, but I deleted my personal account. Now I just have an account for my dogs which is easier to manage and doesn’t consume me as much.”
8. Stephanie, 25
Platforms: Twitter, Instagram
Length of break: 2 years and counting (Twitter), 1 month and counting (Instagram)
The reason: “Twitter is too much to handle constructively. Instagram is inauthentic and makes me compare my life to others, which I don’t like. I think it forces us to look at our lives as a snapshot and equate our worth to likes. It lacks depth.”
Will you be back? “I am still on Facebook to stay in touch with friends overseas. I don’t think I will ever delete all social media, but I don’t plan on it being a big part of my life.”
Some interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.