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.
My 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.
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).
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!).
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!