By: Imran Khushal
It is funny when I quit smoking I was asked HOW? When I quit Facebook and Twitter I was asked WHY?
The HOW question made me feel like I have achieved something which others failed to but the WHY question made me feel that I have done something wrong.
Have I really done something wrong, I asked myself? And the answer I got was NO. I did not do anything wrong and I can support my opinion with Cal Newport’s article, “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It” from The New York Times, who is a professor at Georgetown University, and believes that Facebook and Twitter are the biggest career spoilers.
But I won’t do that because I did not quit Facebook and Twitter for my career alone.
I quit it because like smoking it is injurious to my health and my physical and mental well-being.
I don’t know why people respond differently when they hear that I have quit smoking and social media, Facebook and twitter. The way I see it, it’s quite simple, I applied same logic and rationality on two problems of similar nature.
Smoking is an addiction. An unhealthy habit and a waste of resources. So does social media. Facebook and Twitter are also addictions. Unhealthy and waste of resources.
Studies have shown that “Social Media Will Soon Become The New Cigarettes” according to Oren Frank who posted a blog on Huffpost.
Though wasting time, energy and resources like everyone else bothers me too and stopping the wastage was one of my concerns but this is not the main reason why I quit smoking, Facebook and Twitter.
My major concern was restoring authenticity and validity of my opinion and protecting my self-respect. After wasting a lot of time in years on Facebook and Twitter, though not more than any average user, I felt like I’m being bullied on social media by trolls. I felt more I say less I was heard though I had friends and followers in thousands.
My decision was neither emotional nor based on any recent likes, dislikes or comments instead I made my mind in more than six months.
From last six months, I restricted myself from posting and tweeting. I restricted myself from commenting on a friend’s post or replying to a tweet. And it was not easy, as you can guess.
But after six months when I evaluated my social media behavior I found that I ended up spending less time in the virtual world and more in the real world. And there was more to it. I ended up with no arguments, cross comments and being trolled.
I admit by quitting Facebook and Twitter I apparently lost connection with a lot of strangerriends (stranger + friends) but at the same time, a handful number of real friends and acquaintances filled my circle.
Now I’m spending on average three hours a day with my friends on hiking, in study circles, outing or other activities. Previously, I was not seeing them in months though I was connecting with many of them 24/7.
I have read George Orwell ‘s 1984, Elif Shafaq’s Forty Rules of Love, Tehmina Durani’s My Feudal Lord, Krishan Chander’s Ghadaar, Ch. Muhammad Ali Radohliv’s Kuliyaat, John Elia’s Shaid, Gumaan, Yahni, Goya, and Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Kuliyat.
I also succeeded in designing, developing and maintaining my own website www.imrankhushal.com as well as in making audio and video blogs along with blog writing. In last six months, I made more calls to my family and friends than in previous two years combined.
Quitting Facebook and Twitter helped me adopting an active lifestyle. People other than my social media friends and followers know that from December to March, for three months, I walked more than 10 miles every day and lost more than 7 kg which makes me feel great.
Story first published: 31st May 2017