8 Great Apps To Stay Away From Social Media

Asmita Karanje

Do less, gain more

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In January last year, I did a small experiment — I uninstalled all the social media apps. I stayed off social media for three whole months — three times longer than my original plan. It helped me realize one thing — it is entirely possible to survive without social media.

Any app that has an advertising-based revenue model caters more to their advertisers than to their subscribers.

While those were pre-COVID times, it was still easier — we weren’t in lockdown. We had plenty of entertainment options outside of our home and we didn’t rely on the internet alone for socializing with people.

However, with the stay-at-home restrictions, staying off social media is not that easy. It requires a strong will and a few alternative apps(I will come to that in a moment.) Being tired of mindlessly scrolling through my feed and stories day in and out, I finally decided — it’s time to repeat my little experiment. This time, however, besides social media apps, I have deleted all the news apps too.

No more funny cat videos or toxic news stories.

I also felt that these so-called free apps aren’t free. They take our data, time, mental bandwidth and trade that with advertisers for an enormous sum. What do we get in return? Not much. Yes, we get easily accessible information and entertainment, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Any app that has an advertising-based revenue model caters more to their advertisers than to their subscribers.

Now what, you might ask?

I wanted to use this time to do things that never made it to the top of my list, like reading, meditation, and improving my writing skills.

So, I installed a few apps to help me achieve these goals. After having used them for a while, I can happily say that I have not missed social media at all. Okay, maybe a little like those birthday reminders or my sister’s vlog. But apart from these, there is nothing substantial I miss out in life.

Here are the 8 apps that I use and recommend.

Blinkist

It is like reading or listening to a summary of a book. Each blink is short and bite-sized to consume powerful insights without losing focus. It is not an alternative to reading books.

In fact, I love listening to it blink when I’m finished reading a book. It’s like reading about a movie once you’ve watched it. It also has tags, bookmarks, and highlights for organizing your blinks the way you want.

They summarise the central message of the book really well.

It’s not about how many books you read, but how well you use the teachings in these books.

Subscription — USD 9.99 monthly

Reviews — 4.6 with 5M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — Outline feature helps to understand the key lessons from an author’s viewpoint.

Insight Timer

It is a simple, guided meditation app. With meditation, I don’t want to spend a lot. Also, a simple timer can prove sufficient if you know how to meditate.

I am using this free app called ‘Insight timer’ — if you are new to meditation, I highly recommend their ‘Learn how to meditate in seven days’ course.

With the help of stats, you can also track your journey into the world of meditation. I have only just begun to explore the benefits of it and am yet to understand the various states of mindfulness associated with meditation entirely.

Subscription — Free

Reviews — 4.8 with 1M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — It is all-encompassing — it has everything you’d need, from a simple timer to guided sessions from the experts in the industry.

SkillShare

It’s a brilliant concept. If you want to learn a skill-set, all you need to do is register, login, and start watching at your convenience.

They break these classes into bite-sized pieces of information. You need not schedule them in advance; you can watch them at your convenience.

With so many teachers in each category, you are spoilt for choice. The videos have several projects and resources to help you practice those skills.

You can also engage with fellow students if you want to.

Subscription — USD 8.25 monthly

Reviews — 4.6 with 1M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — Variety of videos in each category.

Buffer

As I mentioned earlier, I have uninstalled all the social media apps from my phone (I cannot tell you how liberating that feels.)

Still, being a content creator, I want to engage with my writer’s community and socialize my articles. For the former, I have subscribed to a few different Facebook groups and would love to continue doing that. But for the latter, I figured I needed an app that could help me post my content without ever logging into the app.

That’s where Buffer is super helpful.

You can connect to your Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts. Signing in and syncing your account takes time, but it’s a one-time effort.

You can also custom schedule it — this is a significant benefit for content creators, as you will sometimes want to time your content for a later time.

Subscription — Free

Reviews — 4.1 with 1M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — Ability to schedule your content for a later period.

Medium

If you are reading this article on Medium, then perhaps you need no introduction to the app itself.

It is a reader’s delight and a writer’s paradise. Their tagline is straightforward — read and write wherever you go. It caters to those who are looking for a fresh perspective and an authentic voice.

The platform being ad-free makes for an easier read. It has also changed the world of blogging by democratizing the entire process of writing, editing, and publishing.

It has given a lot of power to the two players that matter the most — writers and readers.

Subscription — USD 6.99 monthly

Reviews — 4.6 with 5M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — Read. Learn. Write. Grow. Repeat.

Pockets

It allows you to save articles and videos from your browser or other apps, so your feed has stories of interest to you.

It declutters your feed to give you precisely what you want. It also has an “explore” tab that curates stories based on the most common tags such as Technology, Politics, Food, Business, and Sports.

As it sources stories from a zillion different sites, you will always have a fresh stream of news. You can also listen to these stories or find similar stories within the app.

Subscription — Free

Reviews — 4.6 with 10M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — Feed tailored to your interests

Google Keep

As simple as it may sound, I love this app for taking notes, creating a quick To-Do list, and even writing some long-form articles that I publish on Medium.

There are several Productivity apps available such as Any.do, Evernote, OneNote, and a million others with a lot more functionality than Keep. However, for note-taking, I prefer an app that is simple, clutter-free, and easily accessible.

Google Keep meets all these criteria, and it is free.

Google Keep is free and syncs with your Google account on any device you use. I do not know the word limit, but I have written 1500 word articles on it and have never faced any issues.

The other cool thing is the tagging and color-coding notes. I use a different color for each tag for easy sorting.

Subscription — Free

Reviews — 4.4 with 500M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — Syncs with all devices and is clutter-free

Peak

Peak is a cool gaming app, but not just any gaming app. It stimulates the brain cells like a workout, but for your brains. They have short 3–5 minute games that you can play any time of the day to improve your focus, memory, problem-solving skills, and Mental Agility.

I usually complete my daily workout comprising 6 quick games targeting each of these skills, and it takes approximately 15–20 minutes. I do it post a physical workout routine, so it builds on my existing habits.

As James Clear says in ‘Atomic Habits,’ — stack your habits and embed them into your routine.

Subscription — USD 5.99 monthly

Reviews — 3.4 with 10M+ downloads

What I love the most about the app — Games are engaging but not addictive

These are the eight alternative apps that I have subscribed to, to stay away from the social media madness. You can too. If you sum it up, that’s USD 30.25 per month. And if you are like me, you’d be easily spending that amount or more than that in one dinner or drinks session.

One of them, however, is an expense and the other — an investment. Invest in improving your focus and mental agility. A skill that will help you get more out of life.

If you have long been struggling to break your social media addiction, knowing the fall-back alternatives will help you break this habit.

We don’t choose to be addicted, what we choose to do is — deny our pain — Anonymous

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Disclaimer — None of the above is an affiliate link. These are the apps that I have truly enjoyed and thought you might benefit from my experience too.

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Thinker, self-experimenter, and a newbie writer. I write about personal growth, socio-political issues, and career advice.

Dallas, TX
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