One Week Without Social Media

—Sydney Gaff, Co-Head Web Editor—

From day to day there are a few things that are constant in the average teenager’s life, school, friends, and social media. Social media, which includes everything from Twitter to Tumblr, is any website or app that allows someone to create and share content with others online.

Social media is something that I look at everyday—normally multiple times—however, it can be more of a nuisance than anything and a time waster. Due to this negative side of social media, and a busy homework schedule, I was wondering if it would help if I just cut off social media all together, so as an experiment, I decided to just delete the apps for a week.

I wanted to know if I could be more productive without the distractions of social media. However, I felt fairly scared since social media is a part of my everyday life and concerned about missing something online.

Days One, Two, and Three: Friday morning was both exciting and terrifying as it was the day that I was going to delete all of my social media apps. I deleted Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest first thing, which was unusual for me as I almost always check those apps when I first wake up. After school was also challenging because I went into Richmond for Christmas festivities, and while I was there, I took multiple pictures of the lights, but then it hit me: I couldn’t post these pictures anywhere! It was such an odd feeling because I have just become so used to sharing everything that I see on places like Instagram or Snapchat.

On Saturday, Keara and I went to Starbucks to work on homework and at first everything seemed normal, but then, when I reached for my phone for a quick break, I remembered that there was pretty much nothing for me to do on it besides call and text. Because of this, I just choose to go back to my work, but while attempting to do so, I noticed that all I could do was daydream. While I do have a habit of daydreaming from time to time, it has never been as constant as it was then. Later into the day, when I had some down time to myself, I found that I had almost nothing to do and no one to talk to, so I found movies to watch to occupy my time, so I wasn’t just alone with my thoughts.

Sunday is when I started getting used to the feeling of not having social media and the different rhythm of how the day goes without the distraction. Sunday seemed like any other Sunday for me; however, as I finished up some more homework and spent some time with my family, I began to notice I was more present in conversations and with people in general.

Days Four, Five, Six, and Seven: Monday started as any other school day would, but the more I thought about the experiment, the more I noticed my lack of notifications, and it made me feel as if I was alone, which sounds crazy. Just because I am using social media doesn’t mean I am actually being social at all! The rest of the day went on as expected: I worked on homework. I did notice that I didn’t want to stay home; I wanted to go out and do something when, normally, I would prefer to stay home and just relax.

Tuesday was a rather busy day for me personally, and due to that schedule, I hardly even noticed the fact that I couldn’t go on my phone. As the week has progressed, I have started to notice that I don’t need to constantly connect to the world through social media. Between athletics, homework, and hanging out with friends, I am not just sitting at home trying to find something new to look at online.

The last two days went as I expected and just like the fifth day, in that I was so busy that I just never quite had time for my phone or social media; however knowing that the week was almost up made me want to go onto Twitter and Instagram even more.

While it was a fairly good learning experience to not use social media, which I use on a daily basis, it was also hard to feel so disconnected from the world. This may sound weird to some, or possibly that I may have an addiction, but when something is a constant, recurring thing in a person’s everyday life, it is hard to get used to going without it.

In the end this is something that I would try again, and I found that I thought a lot about myself and was more aware of what was going on around me. All in all this was definitely a good experience and taught me more about myself. Would you try it?