In the latest study measuring the effects of social media on a person’s life, researchers at New York University and Stanford University found that deactivating Facebook for just four weeks could alter people’s behavior and state of mind. The study found that temporarily quitting Facebook led people to spend more time offline, watching TV and socializing with family and friends; reduced their knowledge of current events and polarization of policy views; and provoked a small but significant improvement in people’s self-reported happiness and satisfaction with their lives.
What’s more, the researchers found that the deactivation freed up on average an hour per day for participants. And the people who took a break from Facebook continued to use the platform less often, even after the experiment ended.
I left the site last year, and while I do feel disconnected from some people I used to only keep tabs on via Facebook, in reality, most of those weren’t real friendships anyway. It’s more work to stay connected without it, but I do feel better without Facebook in my life.
That’s not to say I’ve left it all behind. I do have an active Instagram account that I quite enjoy. Instagram feels like one of the few public places left on the web that hasn’t been completely ruined yet, but I know its days are probably numbered.
Of course, many find Instagram to be depressing. If you follow a bunch of fancy traveling influencers, it make your life seem dull. The trick is not to do that.