What’s Led Me to Delete Social Media for the Next Week?!

This past weekend my sister’s phone was stolen at the bar and I could not have been more happy about it.

For the past three days my 23-year-old sister was in town visiting me from Chicago. I am the youngest in our family, so the two of us wanted to have a proper celebration during my last semester in college. A farewell to our collective family’s college days (minus the rest of our family). I was beyond happy to host her, introduce her to all of my roommates and friends, go into Boston and Cambridge, eat good food and drink good drinks, but I didn’t intend on inviting her social media followers along for the ride.

downloadMy sister is a hilarious girl who cares to share her experiences with others hoping they find the small instances in her day as entertaining as she does. While not everything makes the final-cut on her social media, she always has her phone in hand in case some content worthy instances occur. She equally loves creating content as she does consuming content. From spending so much time together this weekend, I can tell she likes to be up-to-date on recent activity, especially on Instagram and Snapchat.

Being that we grew up together, we can be our most comfortable selves around one another so she doesn’t owe me the courtesy of having her phone away the entire weekend. Even so, with her in town for such a short time I grew more and more frustrated with the amount she was on social media. It felt like she wasn’t fully present, like to reach her completely I would have had to send her a Snapchat, slide into her Instagram DM’s, or tag her in a post on Facebook. 

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My sister to me

For that reason, I applaud the person who stole her phone out of her purse when we were out Friday night! From this seemingly unfortunate experience, I got two days of uninterrupted sister-sister time (except of course when her hands had gotten shaky due to withdrawal and she had to sign into her Snapchat on my phone… details, details).

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There is a definite difference between being influenced by social media and addicted to social media. In my opinion, being influenced by social media looks more at the apps as a form of inspiration and expression. It can be a learning tool, introduce new concepts or even recipes (shout out to Tasty videos!). It can connect you to friends living far and near. It can be used as a e-invite for a fun birthday party approaching or serve as an organized photo library, and so on and so forth. But this form of entertainment can obviously be outrageously addicting. In fact, studies show that the average millennial checks his or her smartphone 43 times and spends 5.4 hours on social media per day. If you’re getting 8 hours of sleep a night, that means ⅓ of your conscious day is spent on social media. That sounds like an addiction to me and like any addiction being set free from it’s grasps is incredibly liberating… apparently!

A millennial named Emma Fierberg from Business Insider gave up her addiction with social media for a whole month (gasp!).

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She deleted Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat and in doing so set herself free, seeing no use in re-downloading any of the apps anytime soon. Fierberg explains that the first week was the toughest, she had to learn how to kill time in new ways, how to sit alone at a table and not have a source of entertainment to distract her. After only a week, though, she lost the urge to open her phone mindlessly swiping and scrolling. She explains that overall her, “well-being has improved tenfold. My mind has never been so clear. I feel like I’m learning how to properly communicate in a world without social media. I’ve been given more time with my thoughts.”

I must admit, social media consumes a chunk of time in my day. I turn to it for easy entertainment whether it be through the DIY videos found on my Instagram explore page, or the meme’s my friends tag me in on Facebook. One notification pulls me into twenty minutes of mindlessly scrolling. So, in light of Fierberg’s experiment I have decided to delete my social media apps for a week (aside from Twitter because, well, #IS6621). I know that isn’t as impressive of a timeframe as Fiergberg’s  month long hiatus, but hey, I’m trying! In this week, I am hoping to recognize how often I pull my phone out to check a social media app and how much time I get back in my day’s without these easy distractions. I am hoping to be more productive with my time and sit with my own thoughts more than those of others. If my sister can do it for a whole two-days, I can do it for a week!

I’ll let you all know via Twitter, ironically, how my break from social media goes. For now, wish me luck!

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Sources

http://www.businessinsider.com/i-quit-social-media-for-one-month-it-changed-my-life-facebook-instagram-snapchat-twitter-millennial-2018-1

 

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238294

 

9 comments

  1. Haha great post, and thanks for sharing! Although I am sorry to hear that your sister lost her phone when you both went out, I am sure you had a lot more quality time with her. Like you said, whenever I have an interaction with someone else, I either put my phone away or face it downwards so that I do not see the notification to give my full attention to the other party. It shows that I am fully present, and nothing kills the “catch-up moment” more than checking Insta or Snap. I sometimes wonder how the next generation after ours (those born after 2010 or so) will manage social media. Perhaps, being “social-media present” may have a bigger impact than physically present in the coming days depending on different circumstances.

  2. Kudos to you, Tara! I have never done a full purge myself but I have no doubt that it is a worthwhile experience. I especially liked your comment on how one notification pulls you into 20 minutes of “mindless scrolling” because this is something I fall for all the time. I think that a good first (baby) step for me in limiting my social media would be to give myself a time frame when I check my phone. Thanks for the inspiration! Looking forward to hearing your updates!

  3. Bigs snaps to you on this one! Since the beginning of the year I’ve kept Instagram and Snapchat off of my phone (I deleted my Facebook last semester). It really is cleansing to realize how much more time you have in the day. Additionally, it helps you to prioritize what’s important in the real world. I know exactly how you felt with the interactions of a family member being so absorbed with social media that it takes away from the new memories you’re trying to make. I’m curious to see what you think of the social media-less (minus Twitter) week!

    1. thebobbystroup · ·

      I see what you did there…. (“Big snaps to you”). To echo mmerckbc, I also get easily sucked into a scrolling frenzy anytime I open the app (I guess they designed their trap well), even if it means I’m looking at the exact same content as I was two hours earlier that day. Furthermore, I had a friend who used social media in the same way as your sister, and we made fun of him for it. Then I downloaded Snapchat (I know, a bit behind the curve) this past fall and I realized I got to a point where I was doing things just for the sake of having something to film for a good Snap story. But of course, I’d save it for later in case something cooler came up (you don’t want too many posts, or people won’t see your best ones!).

      In regards to your post: great hook talking about how you’re glad your sister’s phone was stolen. As I read your post, I felt very engaged and had an inner debate of “Do I comment on that, or do I wait until I finish reading the whole thing?” Maybe that’s related to social media addiction. Anyway, I fully support you taking a break from social media. Best wishes!

  4. Tara, I gave up social media for Lent last year. While it seemed silly at the time, I actually saw a big difference. At first, you totally withdraw – what am I missing! are people missing me?! what do I do waiting for someone at a bar or sitting on the T!? – then you see some change. And now, I left Timehop deleted, and I really only utilize FB, Twitter, IG, and SC. Plus, I never added back most of my notifications (I just brought Snaps back. Whoops) Overall? A much calmer, less intense relationship with the rest of the world, who are all trying to keep up with the addicts. I think it would be fun to her about it in your next blog post!

  5. Tara, I really enjoyed your post and commend you for being able to go cold turkey on social media. I think you and Colleen bring up a really interesting point about one of our most frequent and time-consuming uses for social media — a distraction. If I sit down somewhere and have a moment to myself, I hardly ever spend it thinking, sitting in silence, reading, etc. Instead, like most people, I’m on my phone.

    Sometimes, I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve been working or in class for a couple of hours. I just need to catch up on things I may have “missed” on my phone. Other times, I’ve been on my phone all day and out of habit, reach for it again, learning nothing novel or substantial from posts I’ve already seen two times. To me, this raises the question of where we draw the line between the appropriate amount of time on social media and the addictive amount of time.

    Backpacking off of that, I think it’s really interesting that several ex Facebook and Google employees have founded an organization meant to highlight the negative consequences of social media and technology. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the coming years and what impact (if any) it has on our use of technology and social media going forward.

  6. This is such a relatable post! I completely understand your sister. The second I leave the country I do not know what to do with myself since my phone is useless. Social media, I think, can most definitely be an “addiction.” There’s a mental aspect to it that just makes you cling to your phone at all times. Yes, it’s probably an unhealthy habit, but also yes, I am completely engaged on my phone when I am walking by myself or at a table.

    I believe that this will have a big impact on your life, but the real question is will the mental change last in the long run? Regardless of how stupid this sounds, it is an accomplishment to give up social media for an extended period of time. I constantly feel the need to keep up with what everyone is doing. I feel if I personally did this “cleanse” the effects of it would not last a day. I am so excited to hear your results!

  7. Tara, being someone who shares your opinion on social media addiction, I was shocked by just how addicted the average millennial is to social media – 5 and 1/2 hours and 1/3rd of our conscious day??! Are you kidding?

    I’m very much looking forward to your experience deleting these accounts, and one thing I’d be curious to see your thoughts on – how does this affect your news consumption? Will you feel “out of the loop” in conversations if you’re not consuming as much content? To what extent do you think, in today’s world, do you need social media to “function” normal? Looking forward to your thoughts moving forward…

  8. Good point about addiction vs influence on social media. In relationships I find that setting a rule to not have your phone out during meals is a good way to stay present. No one likes when we are talking to someone and they go right for their phone, but a lot of people do this subconsciously.

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