7 Days Without Social Media. An Experiment
This blog post was originally created on March 27, 2015 and updated on April 4, 2015.
8am I turn off my alarm and disconnect the iPhone from the charger. My precious. The next 15 to 30 minutes are spent scrolling through all my social media feeds: Instagram (personal favourite), Facebook, Twitter and maybe a few Snapchats.
I started to notice that I often pick up my phone without any purpose or reason: just to waste time. I am also guilty of pretty much every point on this list form Huffington Post. So for the next 7 days I will try to battle my fear of missing out by choosing to miss out.
- I am turning off all social media notifications on my cellphone
- I will not be checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter feeds during these 7 days both from my laptop and phone
- Due to my work and student life being closely tied to communication, I will still check my email and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Why Am I Doing This?
I noticed that the constant social media feeds checking started to turn into an addiction. The urge to ‘pull down to update’ became an excuse to waste time not doing something I have to put more effort into: be it an essay due next week or research of the industry I want to get into after graduation. It may seem that the latter is fun and interesting to do, but the thought of making our brain do something active sends me right back to the Instagram feed. I’d rather scroll and passively absorb pretty things and beautiful people.
At the end of the experiment I hope to have more control over my social media usage rather than it controlling me. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and by no means am I trying to get rid of it completely. On the contrary, I am trying to make all my interactions in life more meaningful and focused, so that at the end of the day I won’t be feeling that I’ve wasted it.
Some more concrete things I hope to start doing after the experiment is over:
- Limit my social media intake to two to three times a day for no longer than 10 minutes at a time
- Stop checking the feeds right after I wake up and before I go to bed (so bad for the eyes!)
- Get more productive and organized with the rest of my daily activities (schoolwork, job market research, attending events and meeting people).
Wish me luck!
It’s April 4, 2015 – the end of my experiment.
Firstly, I want to say that the experiment went well and made me realise that I was not so hopeless after all. Having imagined that I would probably die without social media, in reality it appeared not to be so hard and undoubtedly beneficial. Here is how it went down:
Day one was not the most challenging as one might think. I went about having no social media with enthusiasm fueled by determinacy. Funny enough though, that night I had a dream that my Instagram account was hacked and I woke up with a thought that “oh my god I cannot even check if it’s true”. (It’s not true, I checked today). The rest of the days I did find myself occasionally staring at the social media icons on my phone, but I stayed strong and at the end of the week it felt like I’ve never had that addiciton!
One social space I found it the hardest to be without social media was on public transit, because where else to check your feeds if not when you’re on the bus?! I did find a more traditional way to keep myself busy, however. I finally started reading a book that I was meaning to start a very long time ago. So from this comes my resolution number 1:
- Interchange checking social media feeds and reading on public transport.
Another realisation that came to me after 7 days without social media was that like any other habit in our life, social media is a nice addition, but is definitely not the life itself. Human beings can (yes, they CAN) exist without thinking about which 140 characters to write or which angle is best for this shot. Therefore, resolutions number 2 and 3 are:
- Limit social media intake to two to three a day for no longer than 10 minutes.
- Not pick up my phone after I open my eyes in the morning and before I close them at night.
If your fear is that of missing out, trust me, you won’t miss out on the lives of people that really matter in your life, because you will make an effort to find out yourself or they will update you otherwise: through a text message, a phone call, or a catch up chat over dinner.
My final observation has to do with something that was new to me. Or rather something that I really hoped would not come up. And now I will confess it to the Internet.
I am a lazy person and this is my real problem. Not social media, no nothing is the real reason of why I am procrastinating. And it is remarkable how creative our mind gets if it’s trying to avoid writing a school essay, for example. Oh, I’d rather clean the entire apartment including stove and toilet to avoid mental work. And so my last resolutions number 4 and 5 are:
- Be more ruthless with my laziness and not give in to the endless possibilities of the world wide web and other distractions.
- Get more productive and organized with my life.
On this note, I would definitely recommend this social media (or any other kind of) cleanse for your body and soul. Take your life back, people!
This post was inspired by Get More Done Each Day by Tera Kristen, a fellow Vancouverite, who writes about personal and professional growth and happiness.
Photo from Refe.