Monday, August 15, 2016 / 4 Comments

My Week Without: Social Media!


A week ago I decided to do something that most would not be able to do or wouldn't even attempt to do: I decided to go a week without social media.

That's right. That meant no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest (surprisingly I don't have a Snapchat account). Pretty much none of the apps or services that would connect me with others.

The biggest reason I decided to do this was because I was feeling bogged down by the constant stream of information that was being constantly bombarded at me through these sites, especially Facebook. I (usually) love hearing from my friends and family, but constantly seeing all of these announcements (engagement, wedding, baby, dating, new house, new pet, etc.), travel photos, and just overall bragging was getting to be too much. It was making me feel inferior and like I needed to post more things and pictures about my life and how great things were, just to feel relevant and like I mattered. I started to dread checking my Facebook and Instagram and had to steel myself for the onslaught of good news and images, and instead was turning to Twitter (for the blogger community) and Pinterest (because, well, it's Pinterest) exclusively instead. But even then I noticed that those two were constantly taking up my time. I even started looking through Pinterest while watching TV and movies and was missing big chunks of the plot line. (To be fair I am researching ideas for new Halloween decor crafts. So at least it's a semi-useful waste of time. Of crafts I'm never going to make or attempt to do. Ahem)

I decided that I needed to detox and take a break from social media. Facebook and Instagram were making me feel worse about myself and Twitter and Pinterest were sucking up my time. It was time to put away my iPhone, iPad, iPod, and laptop (surprisingly, not an Apple product) and take a much needed vacation from constant notifications and not very relevant information (to me).

I made a few rules for myself:

I allowed myself texting (of course. I didn't want to be cut off from my immediate friends and family) and to able to watch Youtube and Netflix and check Buzzfeed and Bloglovin' so I could attempt to stave off boredom. But other than that, I couldn't check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Not a peek, quick click, even to get rid of all of those pesky red numbers indicting how many live notifications you're missing out on (I love Buzzfeed but I honestly don't care when they go live. Sorry, guys).

Baby pictures, engagement announcements, "hilarious" shared videos that no one else thinks is funny, and slightly disturbing political rants would have to wait a week. I was on a mission! Monday to Monday, I'll be social media free. And here's what I learned from going a week without social media:

You Don't Realize How Bored You Think You Are Until You Force Yourself To Put Down Your Phone
I never realized how bored I thought I got until I finally put down my phone. Anytime I had to wait (at the doctor's office, at a store in line at the register) I would always check my phone and the multiple social media apps I had installed on it. But starting that Monday I just couldn't. I had to suffer through the boredom, or I just checked my e-mail if I felt I just had to look busy on my phone (it probably would look strange to be a reading a book in line at Target). It made me realize that even though I denied it, I was very attached to my phone and used it as a cure for "boredom" and a source of distraction. Instead, I just learned to either people watch (while at a store in line) or if I'm in a waiting room, bring a book (much more appropriate than in a Target).

You'll Want to Check Your Phone- All the Damn Time
And it's so frustrating not to be able to. The compulsion is real, as well as the fear of missing out (FOMO) on whatever may be going on in a friend's (or that random friend of a friend of a friend that you added because you met them once five years ago. We all have at least five of those on our friends list) life. I literally picked up my phone dozens of times that first Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday) to check on my Facebook or Instagram, before remembering I couldn't. But as the days wore on, it got better and I only checked my e-mail/the news/surfed the web a few times a day. Which was a great reduction from what seems like the dozen times I would check social media before that!

You Actually Have to Look Up the News (The Actual News, Not Social Media Drama)
Like, a lot. I used to check my phone for news from Facebook right when I woke up and during breakfast (and by news I mean the stuff that popped in from news sources I had liked that were in between all of my friends', friends of friends', and relatives' status updates) but during my week without checking social media, I had to actually check out news websites or even watch the news on TV (people still do that!) to see what was going on with the world. But the breaking news that people talk about will always be on news sites or TV, not the kind of (non)relevant news that seems to spread and across your Facebook page and friends (who got pregnant! Who's getting a divorce! Who's so in love that they have to post a million selfies and themselves and their significant others to stuff down our throats! We get it, if you guys break up love will die), so you're really not missing much. I learned that if people need you, they'll text or call you, not post something on your page. And that it's kind of delightful to watch an actual news anchor tell you the news, not some radical distant relative who's damning a certain politician to hell via a status update. (So basically, non-biased news)

You Start Using Your Phone for the Actual Reasons It Was Made
Without social media I was forced to text more and use the actual phone part of my phone (I think people forget about that original feature), and I have to admit, it's pretty refreshing to do something pretty simple without getting distracted by someone's new engagement pictures (gag. No offense) instead of replying to your friend's tweet or Facebook message.

You Suddenly Have a Bunch of Free Time
Without social media, my time was now mine. I didn't realize how much time I devoted to checking all of my social media accounts. Facebook took up most of my waking up and falling asleep time. Ditto with Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. But now that I didn't have to check them (as if I didn't have a choice, HA), I had all the time in the world! I could sit and read a book without checking my phone every few pages (I may have been guilty of that. Sometimes. Maybe) and I could watch an entire movie and not have to rewind because I missed a part because I was reading someone's Instagram caption and all of the comments underneath it (yes, I'm guilty of that too). My time was mine and even though I still felt compelled to check my phone those first few days, eventually that wore away and I started to feel relieved that I wasn't chained to my phone anymore.

You Finally Realize That Social Media Is Just a Form of Connection- It Doesn't Have to Be Anything More (And It's Not)
Social media is just that: a way to connect with others, share information and pictures, and communicate. It wasn't intended to become a forum for bragging or making others feel jealous or bad about themselves (at least, I hope so. Mark Zuckerberg, was this your evil idea all along??). Just remember that every picture/selfie you see posted on Facebook, no matter how candid, was posed for and probably taken a few dozen times, then edited until it was finally that "perfect" picture capturing how happy that couple is and the description of how blessed and successful they are was probably rewritten a handful of times. People on Facebook don't post about their problems (unless they're going through a nasty breakup and they vent. That's another reason I took a break from social media. Where there are five people bragging about how great their lives are, there's one person who's spewing hate towards their ex and listing everything wrong with them. It's almost as bad as the bragging but I relate more to the hate. I'm a dark person, what can I say), just the good things to brag and get the likes, as if to prove that yes, since they posted it, it is real and great and everyone should know it. After my week long break, I think I've slightly detached from the social media life and can see it what for really is: it's not real life, it's just a way for people to display the happy and perfect things about their lives aka share their lives with others and vice versa (but more the happy people sharing). Try not to focus too much to the virtual social media life and focus on your real life, not the drama that comes along with social media.


So in conclusion...

As hard as the first few days were of not checking social media. I actually relished the week-long vacation from it. I didn't have to worry about seeing engagement pictures (that make me question my own singledom and wonder how some women can actually land a man who wants to commit to them), "cute" baby pictures that only the parents of the child think are cute (you know you are!), and travel photos (how can they afford to go to Dubai????). But in all honesty, when today (Monday) came around, I was actually afraid of checking my social media because I was afraid of how much I missed and would I have to catch up on everything that everyone posted on their individual timelines? Turns out, nothing too exciting happened (in social media world) and I actually got pretty bored looking through everyone's updates, pictures, tweets, and pins. In fact, I've only checked social media a few times today. The fact that I'm not as attached to my phone and checking it is exhilarating. It also put into perspective that I should stop trying to focus on how I'm portrayed and how I'm seen on social media (new profile picture! Filters! Clever tweets!) and start focusing on me in my real life. Less selfies, more self-actualization! *flexed arm emoji*

I would most definitely suggest a week-long break to anyone who's feeling bogged down from social media and just needs a real life break to focus on themselves, not the lives of others. Would you guys try it? Could you make it a week? I honestly didn't think I would for the first few days, but I ended up going all the way without breaking! Let me know what you think! ♥

-Emily
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4 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. Informative and inspiring. Hopefully more people will take your challenge!! I remember when my "smart phone" broke and I had to get a flip phone until I could afford another smart phone. It reminded me how much I rely on my phone and the realization that technology was taking over my life. The more and more I think about it, the less I use social media. I use to have an excuse that I am an artist and musician and use it for those purposes of networking but would find myself caught in the loop of status updates and memes and the distractions would begin. Now I try to just post photos and art everyone and then incase people are interested but now I am not even trying to do that and feeling like deleting my FB and instagram. But time will till.

    Oh also, from my understanding form the movie and the research, Mark didn't make facebook for socializing but more a way to rate women at the college he was at and then it got word and people started talking and then a profile and messaging came and now facebook is the top tier of social media. People don't ask me for my number, they ask me for my facebook. I dislike it. Its probably because I dislike small talk and rather have meaningful conversations about life and how we live it and that isnt happening on facebook, only in person. haha.

    Once again, when 2 words suffice, I say 200. Apologies for writing paragraph comments and messages. Good post and will be waiting for the next one!! Have a wonderful day in a beautiful way!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great Post! I've done this too. It feels good to get It out of your system.

    Ashley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!! It really does. Just taking a break for one day from all that constantly revolving info is so peaceful and relaxing. I think I'm going to start taking more frequent (but shorter) breaks from social media.

      Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment! 😊

      Delete
  3. Great Post! I've done this too. It feels good to get It out of your system.

    Ashley

    ReplyDelete

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