How To Quit A Social Media Platform
Why you've most likely failed quitting thus far
I'm not here to beat you up more than you're probably already doing yourself. At least, that's what I used to do. My habits actually started to change when I asked myself: what if I rewarded myself for good behavior instead of punishing myself for bad behavior?
I used to think that every problem was solveable as long as I was hard enough on myself. All these nasty thoughts barraging me for not doing enough. So where did I turn to to hide from them? My social media addiction.
Drinking more of the same poison is never going to cure you.
So I tried, you know, being kind to myself. And what do you know? It started to work. *Wow, I achieve more by being nice to myself?* Who would've thought!
Algorithms Anonymous is about celebrating intentional living. Not punishing auto-pilot living. Two different approaches to the exact same thing, with drastically different outcomes.
Habits shape our identity and vice versa
It's not just about quitting social media, it's about changing how you view yourself
Are you the type of person that wastes time mindlessly scrolling? James Clear wonderfully put it in his book Atomic Habits, that our habits are votes we cast for our own identity.
Keeping that in mind, lets look at the
The cost of inaction
We think that magically, in ten years, we're going to be a different person. You ever see a person well into their thirties or forties with absolute shite habits? Like they remind you more of a teenager inhabiting an adult body instead of an actual adult? Yeah, that might be you! I'd be tumbling down Youtube's recommended videos in my 40s if I didn't take any action.
Your bad habits are not going to magically disappear. You have to make them disappear.
Take a moment to reflect on the compounded effect of your social media addiction over thirty years.
Picture that person in your head. That version of you. What do they look like? What energy do they exude? Are you happy to see them? Do you like that version? Does it scare you? Feel the emotion it makes you feel, and remember it. It will help when you're tempted later.
If you feel anger toward them, contempt, or hatred, I would strongly recommend finding professional help to talk about those feelings. I don't have the necessary training to help you, but harboring ill feelings toward your future self is not constructive.
Let's tackle how habits work. They have four major components:
the human mind is constantly analyzing its environment for cues.
once a cue is noticed a craving is created to change our inner state.
This is the response (for example, scrolling Instagram)
Let's deconstruct your social media habit
1. What cues in your environment are triggering your craving?
When I was addicted to Youtube, this was how my cues looked like:
1. Everytime I took a dump, I opened the app on my phone to watch a Youtube video. I taught my brain that going to the bathroom meant I was rewarded with a Youtube video. Then of course I spent so much time on the toilet that my leg started tingling when I went to stand up.
2. Every time I had food, I would watch a Youtube video on my laptop. I'd eat for two minutes, watch the Youtube video for 15, and then, oh look, that recommended video seems pretty cool... Before you know it, one bad response to a cue can ruin your entire day.
Remove these cues. We want to make cues to your Social Media Addiction as INVISIBLE as possible.
2. What is your exact craving?
For me, I used Youtube to distract myself from anxiety and emotional pain. As an immigrant, my legal status and future were in the hands of the government for a long time. To cope with the stress, I went to Youtube for distraction and temporary relief.
3. Can you change it with a better response?
It's important to note that your craving won't go away by changing your habit. It will require self-reflection and perhaps speaking to a professional. In the meantime, we can satisfy it with a healthier Response. For example, after quitting Youtube I delved right into the fantasy series The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. A book series with a total of over 5000 pages. I read it compulsively. Enough to get me through the early withdrawal storms.
4. Reward Yourself
Yep. Quitting social media is saying to yourself "yeah, my time is valuable. I value it! And I'm willing to make changes in my life cause I am indeed a total bawler, and I deserve everything good that comes my way". You catch my drift.
It's a noble pursuit. You have to reward yourself for pursuing it.
Quitting or changing behaviour is very hard and you're a hero for trying. Any step toward the path of intentional living is a good one, and you should commend yourself. How would your life be different if you were to celebrate all your good deeds instead of berating yourself for your bad ones? List a few rewards that you really want. Indulge. Don't hold back. Could be a PS5. Could be a spa day. Could be a Lego set of a velociraptor. Go crazy but be true to yourself.
1. Here's a list of previous rewards I've given myself to spark your imagination:
1. A Youtube Recovery Chip for each milestone
2. Towel racks
3. A festival ticket
4. Storage boxes from Ikea (i f*cking* love those)
5. A 1600$ workshop I wanted to take but found too expensive
6. A leprechaun's soul forcibly stolen from an archdevil
7. Commissioning artwork for a story I'm writing
Then list the milestones you've set out for yourself to hit and which reward you'll get at what time.
Are you getting excited about quitting social media? You should be!
But there's a balance. Where there is reward, there needs to be...
If you want to give yourself the best choice of success, you need to include ACCOUNTABILITY in breaking your social media addiction.
This is where the Algorithm's Anonymous community can play an essential part. It's much better if you communicate your plans to the outside world. Otherwise, you're left to the whims and follies of your own inner world. You can check out our Discord Server to share your promise there. You can also subscribe to the Social Media Recovery Chips of your platform. I'll send you the chips for each milestone, no matter if you hold or break your promise! That way, you're leveraging your own guilt to introduce accountability.
It's going to feel really bad if you break the promise to yourself and still receive those chips! Which is a good thing!
You can also chose to receive a nice holder that holds a year worth's of chips, which will function as a "progress bar" you can keep in areas where you are most tempted! This will also function as a visual reminder in your environment for the new identity you're building for yourself!
This is not just some "stupid" or "silly" social media addiction. It's making a promise to yourself and keeping it. No matter how small. Make the promise CLEAR, make it TANGIBLE, and keep to it. Suddenly, you'll find yourself growing more confident.
Small promises bleed to larger areas of your life. This stuff compounds emotionally!
Are you ready to get into the nitty gritty?
The Promise & The Rules
How are you about making promises to others? Do you normally keep them? If so, good. Now make a promise to yourself and stick with it. Let's make the promise as clear as you can make it. So clear, that if you add any more specificity to it, it would be weird. And include your rewards in it!
Here's an example:
If I don't watch Youtube for *one* year, I get to pimp my rusty 2009 Toyota Camry with a huge sticker and paintjob of my favorite anime waifu.
I'm not judging what your reward is or which obscure anime you watch. I only judge the clarity of your promise.
Because a promise is best made publicly and loudly, so you are accountable to it, I'd recommend posting it on our discord server. Your anonymity will still be protected by your avatar, yet it will still weigh on your subconscious as an external promise made. Once typed, those words are no longer in your inner world. They're out there. You've said them. They hold power now.
It'll give it additional gravitas. As a wonderful bonus, you'll also surrounded by likeminded people who are going through the exact same thing and wish to support you! In addition, you can also find an accountability buddy in the server.
Now set the rules of that promise. What does *Watching Youtube* mean? Social Media has almost gotten to be like food. You can't completely quit it. It's necessary in our lives. Ironically, it's probably how I reached you in the first place.
WHEN IS THE PROMISE BROKEN?
You might want to quit Reddit because of its endless scrolling. But if you're looking to fix a part in a page of code you're writing, and the top answer on Google is Reddit, will you still use it? That's up to you. Figure out what the exact CUE is of your addiction. What's the problem inside your problem? For me, it was the recommended videos and subscription page on Youtube.
Let me give you the rules I used to quit Youtube for the first year:
1. I will *never*, during this year, visit the Youtube.com frontpage.
2. If a Youtube video is embedded in a third-party website, I can watch it but not full screen (because that's where all that recommended stuff pops back in)
3. If a mate of mine sends me a video I "have to watch", which is rare, I can copy the URL and download the Youtube video as a file directly on my laptop. This takes time and space and was a great friction creator for my bad habit.
4. The same applies if there is a tutorial I need on Youtube. Some video tutorials are much more effective than written blogs.
It's your job to make *your* rules. Anticipate what temptations you will find, and figure out how you are going to deal with them in advance, We don't want to figure that out when our self-discipline is at its weakest. Plan.
Also, plan for when you fail. Let me give you the permission to fail once in a row. But never twice. You might slip up one day. But never two times in a row. That's a new pattern.
I just dumped a whole lot of information on you.
I've distilled the wisdom of my trials and tribulations, my self-anguish, into a nice Step Plan that you can follow to start your social media detox TODAY. You'll receive it for free when you order a recovery chip.
If you wish to give yourself the very best chance of quitting social media, you can introduce accountability and a reward at the very same time by becoming an Algorithms Anonymous Member and subscribing to one of our Social Media Recovery Chips.