August 23, 2017

You Should Quit Social Media for a Week

I've wanted to go on a social media break/cleanse/fast/whatever for a while. I had tweeted that I was more afraid of not coming back than not succeeding. Pre-blog, I was only on Snapchat and Pinterest. I just don't see the value in social media for personal use, so getting used to using it so often and so "seriously" for the blog took time. I felt that tasting a social media-free lifestyle again would cut right through what I've managed to build online in the last year.




I hate mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, which is the primary reason I've wanted to give it up or, at the very least, cut back significantly on my consumption. I'm not adding value to my life, and by the end of my scroll, I've wasted half an hour or more watching all the Buzzfeed Tasty updates, DMing my friends animal videos, and double-tapping photos posted by people I don't even know.

A friend that I worked with this summer told me that no, I would come back because I would use this time to think about how I can use my platform to inspire and encourage others. It only takes one person to read my too-long Instagram caption for someone's day to change.



Maybe I can write exactly what they needed to hear that day. Maybe my photo can make someone smile. On a more surface note, maybe my puns can make someone laugh. I have some ideas, and I'm excited to share, but for now, this is why you should quit social media for a week.

+ It isn't hard.

I found myself constantly reaching for my phone the first day of my fast... so I could send snaps. Two friends texted me asking if I was okay because I hadn't opened or responded to snaps. It's kind of funny, in a way. By Day 3, I was used to it. I stopped regularly checking my phone by Day 2 because I knew there would be no notifications (I turned them all off and put my social icons on a new screen on my phone).

+ I spent more time on me.

Not in a selfish way. I spent time with myself. Free of distractions, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote. I brainstormed blog and social media post ideas that, in sharing, will make me feel like I'm doing more than existing and pushing out content. I thought about my purpose and considered how I spend my time and what I can do differently to add value to every moment. I read and I wrote more and I listened to music and I didn't feel the urge to check social media.

+ I felt lighter and happier.

Not being allowed to check social media made me feel as though a weight had been lifted off of me. I couldn't check Instagram or send a snap, so what did I do instead? I got out of my apartment and explored new parts of my city. I made plans with friends. I took online Spanish lessons (no, really #WhenInMiami). I lived my life without documenting it. This last part— that I document parts of my life— was an odd realization for me. I'm a very private person, so I've never thought of my social media usage as my "life story" or anything like that (ever notice that I rarely, if ever, post photos of my friends or family here or on Instagram?).

Nevertheless, I found that I do document my life, in a way. I send I don't know how many snaps every day, and post on Instagram daily, so even if I'm not documenting much on a personal level, I am still documenting. Because I wasn't allowed to use social media, I found that I stopped thinking this way. I didn't go through the day looking for photo opps because I knew I couldn't share or post them anyway.

+ I don't feel the need to mindlessly use social media anymore.

I already mentioned that I really wanted to kick the mindless scroll habit. And though it's only my first day off the cleanse, I can feel that the effects will be lasting. I waited for class to start today without scrolling through my phone. I waited in line at the campus Starbucks without scrolling. More importantly, I didn't feel the urge to scroll. What am I going to look at on a screen that's going to add enough value to my sitting or standing here for five minutes that I need to look at it?

I've recognized and kicked this unhealthy habit, while also recognizing which habits are not unhealthy; I use Snapchat primarily to stay in touch with friends, especially those who live out of town, and there's no content vortex to suck me in (looking at you, Instagram), so I don't see the harm.


(P.S. I'll be back to posting on Mondays and Thursdays next week. Posting schedule has a been a little off and then I had my social media break, but back to regular programming soon :))

2 comments

  1. Honestly, I've been wanting to try a social media fast myself! I just haven't bit the bullet yet on it... I'm glad to hear it wasn't a hard thing to do! Maybe I'll finally try it...

    Kendal // Life With Kendal

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    Replies
    1. You definitely should! It wasn't hard for me personally, but I'm sure it isn't as easy for everyone. Totally worth it if it can help you kick a habit, though :)

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