Quitting Twitter? What People Say About Life After Social Media
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Quitting Twitter? What People Say About Life After Social Media

How does it feel to flee from the feeds? Mostly worth it, say people who ditched Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

By Dalvin Brown
Tue, May 10, 2022 9:50amGrey Clock 4 min

When Twitter Inc. accepted Elon Musk’s $61 billion offer to buy the social-media company, many frequent tweeters vowed to deactivate their accounts. For a while, it seemed like everyone on Twitter was talking about quitting Twitter.

Not too long ago, people said they would flee Instagram. Before that, it was Facebook.

With every social-media controversy, people talk about shutting down their accounts forever. Few actually do it. Roughly 70% of Americans used social media in 2021, a level that remained steady for five years, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Meta Platforms Inc. in February reported Facebook’s daily active users fell for the first time in at least a decade, but it said Wednesday that population was growing again.

Social-media apps are crafted to keep people coming back. The dopamine rush that comes from other people’s likes can leave you feeling celebratory. But there is a downside. The constant exposure to other people’s lives can hurt your body image, sleep, anxiety levels and productivity.

“Those feelings drive people to consider how much time, if any, they want to spend on social media,” said Kate Rosenblatt, senior clinical manager at Talkspace, an online therapy company.

Many people who have left Twitter, Facebook and Instagram say they are happier because of it, but they also realized they miss some things. Here is what they want others to know—both the good and the bad.

Withdrawal fades quickly.

When you’re used to checking an app every day, or multiple times a day, you sometimes mindlessly open the app and scroll through your feed.

“I was so sucked into the negative memes, clapbacks and spirals of conflict I saw on Twitter that when I first left, my muscle memory told me to open the app and start scrolling,” said Kimberly Katiti, a 28-year-old artist in North Hollywood, Calif., who quit the platform in April 2021.

“I got over that within a week,” she said. “I would just put my phone away. And before I knew it, I wasn’t getting the urge to scroll and see what’s happening in the world.”

You’re still connected to the world.

Social media started as a way to connect with friends, but the platforms evolved to become places for companies and people to share news and politics—Mr. Musk called Twitter the world’s “de facto town square.” But with that increased role came misinformation and other issues. Cutting social media out of your life may nudge you to find other sources for news. And just because you’re not on Facebook doesn’t mean you’ll miss big cultural moments and trends.

“I got on Twitter in 2008 because it was a different and newer communication method,” said Christopher Britton, a 34-year-old who runs a marketing business in Inlet Beach, Fla. “At the time, I worried about not being so-called relevant.” He deleted his Twitter account in 2011, and now keeps informed via Reddit, Apple News and other sources.

“And my Messages app is just as good as any social-networking site when keeping in contact with people I know,” Mr. Britton said.

People are nicer.

You don’t have to be on social media for long to encounter Facebook rants or Twitter feuds where people you know communicate differently than they do in person. When you no longer see those posts and instead interact with people in real life, your views can change.

“It’s so much easier to post rude stuff when you’re behind a keyboard wall,” said J.J. Garcia, a 54-year-old business analyst in New Braunfels, Texas. “But in person, your neighbors seem less inclined to talk about that stuff. And you can get along with them better when you’re not seeing all their opinions online.”

You might have trouble sending or donating money.

On Facebook, you can add your payment information to buy and sell items on Marketplace, send money to family on Messenger and donate directly to causes. Leaving Facebook can make that more cumbersome, said Bobby Buchler, a 57-year-old retired high-school teacher from Las Vegas who ditched the social network in 2019.

“On Twitter, I follow organizations that rescue dogs. And they make posts saying to donate on Facebook, or they link to a post made on Facebook,” Mr. Buchler said. “But I can’t easily check it because I don’t want to go on Facebook.”

People don’t miss you—or remember your birthday.

Kristen Womack was active on Facebook and Instagram, running groups, sharing articles and operating a small-business account. But when she left Facebook in 2016 and Instagram in 2020, no one seemed to notice.

“Not one single person said, ‘Oh, wow, I don’t see you on Facebook or Instagram anymore. I miss you,’” said Ms. Womack, a 42-year-old product manager at Microsoft Corp. in Minneapolis. “Once you leave the party, it’s like you’re not missed.”

And those birthday reminders and comments on your Facebook wall? Say goodbye to them. Though doing so may not be a bad thing.

“On Facebook on my birthday, 300 people would pop up, and then you have to respond and like comments from random people,” said Verlin Campbell, a 42-year-old IT project manager in Los Angeles. “Now my interactions are more genuine. On my birthday, like 20 people texted me. I’m happier with that.”

You feel more productive.

Leaving social media gives you more free time—sometimes more than you know what to do with.

“I was surprised to realize just how much time I wasted on scrolling. You hop on your computer to write, and it’s easy to get sidetracked,” said Lindsey Zitzmann. The 39-year-old online life coach in Villard, Minn., quit Instagram in 2020.

“Now, in those in-between times when I have a few minutes, I read books, I’m more present with family, or I’ll cook without picking up my phone,” she added.

Friends drift away.

Social media can make you feel like you’re in touch with people just because you double-tapped a post, or because someone commented on one of your photos. Once you leave, some of those relationships fade.

“It makes me sad to think about it,” said Oliver Murray, 18, of Fayetteville, Ark. The freelance digital artist says he lost contact with some online friends when he deleted his Instagram account in 2019. He now shares his artwork on Tumblr and Twitter, where he doesn’t feel pressure to post constantly.

“I got annoyed with all the superficial vanity posts,” he said. “The only way I’ll go back to Instagram is if Elon Musk ruins Twitter.”

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 5, 2022.



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Appliance technicians blame a push toward computerisation and an increase in the quantity of components inside a machine

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Our refrigerators, washing machines and ovens can do more than ever, from producing symmetrical ice cubes to remotely preheating on your commute home. The downside to all these snazzy features is that the appliances are more prone to breaking.

Appliance technicians and others in the industry say there has been an increase in items in need of repair. Yelp users, for example, requested 58% more quotes from thousands of appliance repair businesses last month than they did in January 2022.

Those in the industry blame a push toward computerisation, an increase in the quantity of individual components and flimsier materials for undercutting reliability. They say even higher-end items aren’t as durable.

American households spent 43% more on home appliances in 2023 than they did in 2013, rising from an inflation-adjusted average of $390 to $558, according to Euromonitor International. Prices for the category declined 12% from the beginning of 2013 through the end of 2023, according to the Labor Department.

One reason for the discrepancy between spending and prices is a higher rate of replacement, say consumers, repair technicians and others. That’s left some people wishing they had held on to their clunky ’90s-era appliances and others bargaining with repair workers over intractable ice makers and dryers that run cold.

“We’re making things more complicated, they’re harder to fix and more expensive to fix,” says Aaron Gianni, the founder of do-it-yourself home-repair app Plunjr.

Horror stories

Sharon J. Swan spent nearly $7,000 on a Bosch gas range and smart refrigerator. She thought the appliances would last at least through whenever she decided to sell her Alexandria, Va., home and impress would-be buyers.

That was before the oven caught fire the first time she tried the broiler, leading to a 911 call and hasty return. The ice-maker in the refrigerator, meanwhile, is now broken for the third time in under two years. Bosch covered the first two fridge fixes, but she says she’s on her own for the latest repair, totalling $250, plus parts.

“I feel like I wasted my money,” says the 65-year-old consultant for trade associations.

A Bosch spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the company has been responsive to Swan’s concerns and will continue to work with her to resolve ongoing issues. “Bosch appliances are designed and manufactured to meet the highest quality standards, and they are built to last,” she said.

Kevin and Kellene Dinino wish they had held on to their white dishwasher from the ’90s that was still working great.

The sleeker $800 GE stainless steel interior dishwasher they purchased sprang a hidden leak within three years, causing more than $35,000 worth of damage to their San Diego kitchen.

Home insurance covered the claim, which included replacing the hardwood down to the subfloor and all their bottom cabinetry, but kicked the Dininos off their policy. The family also went without access to their kitchen for months.

“This was a $60 pump that was broken. What the hell happened?” says Kevin, 45, who runs a financial public-relations firm.

A GE Appliances spokeswoman said the company takes appliance issues seriously and works quickly to resolve them with consumers.

Increased complexity

Peel back the plastic on a modern refrigerator or washing machine and you’ll see a smattering of sensors and switches that its 10-year-old counterpart lacks. These extra components help ensure the appliance is using only the energy and water it needs for the job at hand, technicians say. With more parts, however, more tends to go wrong more quickly, they say.

Mansoor Soomro, a professor at Teesside University, a technical college in Middlesbrough, England, says home appliances are breaking down more often. He says that manufacturers used to rely mostly on straightforward mechanical parts (think an on/off switch that triggers a single lever). In the past decade or so, they’ve transitioned to relying more on sophisticated electrical and computerised parts (say, a touch screen that displays a dozen different sensor-controlled wash options).

When a complicated machine fails, technicians say they have a much harder time figuring out what went wrong. Even if the technician does diagnose the problem, consumers are often left with repairs that exceed half the cost of replacement, rendering the machine totalled.

“In the majority of cases, I would say buying a new one makes more economic sense than repairing it,” says Soomro, who spent seven years working at Siemens , including in the home-appliances division.

These machines are also now more likely to be made with plastic and aluminium rather than steel, Soomro says. High-efficiency motors and compressors, too, are likely to be lighter-duty, since they’re tasked with drawing less energy .

A spokeswoman for the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers says the industry has “enhanced the safety, energy efficiency, capacity and performance of appliances while adding features and maintaining affordability and durability for purchasers.” She says data last updated in 2019 shows that the average life of an appliance has “not substantially shifted over the past two decades.”

When simpler is better

Kathryn Ryan and Kevin Sullivan needed a new sensor to fix their recently purchased $1,566 GE Unitized Spacemaker washer-dryer. GE wasn’t able to fix the sensor for months, so the couple paid a local technician $300 to get the machine working.

The repairman also offered them a suggestion: Avoid the sensor option and stick to timed dries.

“You should be able to use whatever function you please on a brand new appliance, ideally,” says Sullivan, a 32-year-old musician in Burbank, Calif.

More features might seem glamorous, Frontdoor virtual appliance tech Jim Zaccone says, but fewer is usually better.

“Consumers are wising up to the failures that are happening and going, ‘Do I really need my oven to preheat while I’m at the grocery store?’” jokes Zaccone, who has been in the appliance-repair business for 21 years.

He just replaced his own dishwasher and says he bought one with “the least bells and whistles.” He also opted for a mass-market brand with cheap and readily available parts. Most surprisingly, he chose a bottom-of-the-line model.

“Spending a lot of money on something doesn’t guarantee you more reliability,” says Zaccone.

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