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I ditched social media for a week. Here's what happened

 

I love social media, but I wouldn’t say I’m more or less addicted than any typical teenage girl. My day doesn’t revolve around posting Instas, tweeting and snapping, but it is heavily affected by it. From the time I wake up in the morning to when I’m going to bed, I’m connected. But I’m about to give it all up for seven whole days.

That’s right—no more Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter. If it contains the words social and media in its description, you can bet I’m not using it. Tonight I will be deleting all those apps off my phone, so I won’t even be tempted when I wake up tomorrow morning. Seven days may sound like a long time, but I have faith in myself. I’m excited to see what I do with my time when I’m not connected 24/7, but I’m also a bit sad to be giving it up.

Ready? Here we go.

Rules: 1 week, 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds, 0 social media. Anything that is on the World Wide Web and allows you to connect with others via digital interface needs to go. There’s one exception: texting. There is some disagreement about whether or not texting is a form a social media. Even if it is, it just doesn’t make sense to me to give up. I use texting to make plans with my friends and family, so unless carrier pigeons come back into use, I will be sticking with it.

Day 1: Typically when I wake up, the first thing I do is scroll through my phone. I’ll open Snapchats and watch stories, then I head over to Instagram to scroll through pictures for a couple minutes. By that time, I typically feel awake enough to hop out of bed. I’ve heard looking at your phone or social media isn’t great when you first wake up, but I always do it anyway because I feel like having something to look at right when I open my eyes prevents me from closing them and falling back asleep. But this wasn’t even an option this morning because I overslept.

When I was eating breakfast, this morning I opened my phone without even thinking, and then I looked at for a minute, realizing that I had deleted all my social media apps. It was interesting to see how going on social media has become such a natural thing for me that I don’t even think about it. Seeing this lack of awareness about what I was doing was interesting, especially since I wouldn’t have realized otherwise.

I take the bus to work every morning. I always bring a book with me, but I’ll also Snapchat during this time. Today I just read and looked out the window instead.

Day 2: Today was a bit more difficult than yesterday, but really not too bad. This morning when I woke up, instead of immediately popping on to Snapchat and Instagram, I looked up a morning yoga routine. It's funny how devoting just ten minutes to yourself can shift your day.

I was meeting up with some friends for dinner this evening, but I got to Chipotle early. Typically I would pull out my phone and scroll through Pinterest for a couple minutes until they showed up, but I sat down and began reading again. It felt a bit awkward at first to sit in a booth alone and read, but I got over it, and it was a nice way to spend my time.

Day 3-5: Over these days I began to realize how much I depended on technology. I spent more time than I would like to say wanting to use social media. As odd as it may sound I felt I was going to miss something if I wasn’t on it.

Day 6-7: I think these were the first days that I truly embraced not using social media. There didn’t seem to be any factors that changed my perspective—I think I was just becoming used to it. When I woke up in the mornings, I turned off my alarm and either read or stretched. During the days, I didn’t reach for my phone to Snapchat. In the evenings when I went to the gym, I focused more on the treadmill than on the YouTube video I would have been watching otherwise.

While I did enjoy these days, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about using social media tomorrow.

After: I wish I could say that in only a week, my entire approach to social media has shifted and I no longer use it as much. While I have learned how important it is to unplug—even if just for a couple hours—I have also learned that preventing myself from using it isn’t going to make me happy. Like all things in life, social media is all about balance. If you find yourself getting sucked in, then unplug and take a break. Social media is an amazing way to share ideas, images and thoughts with the world...but don’t forget to connect offline, too.

What are your thoughts on social media? Could you ever give it up?

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by Maria Graham | 4/24/2018
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