The continuous draw and reliance on social media for not only millennials but all people with a smartphone weighing down their pocket is growing stronger each hour, like, follow and retweet. Constant connection, an endless sea of information, and a bombardment of images of advertisements from companies selling products and advertisements from your ‘friends’ selling the aesthetic of their lives. Every luxurious travel photo, hyped up snapchat party video, and carefully crafted tweet is creating anxious feelings of inferiority, depression and ‘FOMO’, that lessen your quality of life and adds to the capitalist consumerist lifestyle that results in poverty and environmental destruction. But what would happen if you took a break. Just a little break. Try a week. Delete your social media for one week, and you won’t believe what will happen.
Here are 7 things I learned from deleting my social media for 7 days.
1. You won’t have the answer to everything
Access to the internet age of social media allows us to have the immediate satisfaction of gaining any obscure and non necessary bit of information we desire. Deleting my social media I wasn’t able to tell my friend at a dinner party who Tod’s roommates sister is dating. This lack of access to gossip induced information from social media platforms allowed the conversation to make a pivotal shift. We began to speak about music and tell stories rather than having the night fall into a rabbit hole that would lead us to discussing Maria’s disastrous grad dress choice.
- You’ll go to bed and wake up earlier
Everyone is in bed, not a sound is heard and the lights are off except for every households luminous glow of blue light radiating from hand held iphones. Instead of the late night scroll through your phone to check snapchat and make sure nothing crazy happened at the party after you left, you will actually be able to sleep peacefully without the presence of “fomo” looming over you. Upon waking, the morning social media catch up that is 30 minute part of your morning will be deleted. Instead I went for a walk, did some yoga or made a healthy breakfast. The space for reflection in the morning and at night allowed for a more productive day, and I was on time for my morning classes.
- You will have more attentive practices in your daily routine
Whether it’s in lecture or noticing small details about your neighbourhood the loss of social media temptation allows a furthered grounding in the present moment. In class this means more information is absorbed, and at the dinner table more room for authentic conversations.
- You meet more people, real life people
Your friend takes you to a party where you don’t know anyone and excuses themselves to use the washroom within moments of arriving. Right away you would bring up your phone and scroll to pass the time until they came back, but without the security blanket of social media distractedness, you will be more inclined to engage in conversation. Without media making you look busy you will also appear more approachable. There is something to be said about someone who is engaged in the present moment, confidently embracing their circumstances.
- Your thumb will still go for the places where the app used to be
The week after deleting social media my thumb would constantly return to the place where the apps used to be. This natural response showed me how ingrained social media was into my daily routine, causing me to truly come to terms that these habits were an addiction.
- You will be out of the “loop”
The deletion of social media caused me to realize how much I relied on these web platforms for news. Whether the news is political, cultural or personal I felt gaps in my knowledge. I wasn’t on the cutting edge of what was going on with the world or with my neighbour. But the reality is….
- You won’t really miss anything
When the 7 days was completed I redownloaded the social media apps. I opened the missed notifications, messages and snapchats (somewhat eagerly), only to find mundane snaps of peoples dogs, missed messages from friends that ended up calling me instead, and some irrelevant non time constraining tags on internet memes. This made me realized how much time I truly spend on social media that is being wasted.
Before tapping on your social media apps, question your intent…. Are you procrastinating? Avoiding an awkward situation? Passing time? Or are you using the apps for informational and entertainment purposes? How do you want to be spending your time?