So on the 3rd of January I decided to take a break from all my social media. I uninstalled Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and even Youtube and Pinterest from my phone. I logged out of them as well on my computer. I decided to do this because:
- I had just listened to a chapter of an audiobook talking about how we’ve become addicted to these platforms. I noticed how I had been constantly, impatiently, even maybe nervously looking at my phone, expecting that new like.
- I was going off on a class trip to Boston for a 20-day period. This aligned well with my impulse to take a break, it provided me a chance to try and be more present in this new place, as well as to help me make new friends.
- I had been thinking about taking a break for some time already.
I knew it was going to be hard, but I ended up doing it. I sent out a quick post on Facebook and Instagram saying I was dropping out for a little and then deleted everything.
I’d say it was very necessary for me to did this. And I’m happy I did it. The first couple days were hard. I would constantly look at my phone and it would stare back at me and I’d wonder why was I staring at it, and why was I so bored? I also wasn’t travelling with any friends; at that point in the trip we were all pretty much strangers to one another.
One of the hard parts of doing this is when you see others using social media. When you’re all in a group and everyone is laughing because of something that was shared on Snapchat, it’s hard. You feel like you’re outside of the group. Not saying they should stop, just noting that this made it harder. At the end of the trip I wanted to get back on social media so I could connect with them there as well as in real life.
I eventually let myself use Youtube and Pinterest, one, because there were times where I wanted to look up some stuff there, or watch a new music video that came out. Two, because it was awful hard without those two. Three, because I felt these were two media that were easier for me to just watch or use a little bit and stop.
But even though it was hard for a long time, slowly, steadily, painfully, I became more used to it. Rather than look at my phone, I could listen to some music, or talk with someone, or admire the clouds, the trees – their shaking leaves in the white wind. I also started to find other ways to record my experiences besides taking photos. I could also draw, or do a quick sketch of what I was seeing as well as write and journal a bit. I could do a watercolor of the place I was in.
The whole experience helped me notice how addicted I’ve been to social media. And now that I’ve gone back to using it, I can already see how often I want to just scroll through feeds mindlessly. I think I want to take a couple steps to decrease my social media use and I think that I’ll try and use this blog and even social media itself to keep myself on track. I don’t have many practical steps, exactly, that I think I can take, but I tried coming up with a short list of actions I can take and I’ll see how it goes. I guess this will be actions I can experiment with and decide on next steps from there.
So. For the month of February here are some actions I’ll take:
- I’ll not use any social media on Sundays; any posts you see will have been posts scheduled the day before.
- I’ll choose a week in the month to not use any social media except for Instagram.
- I’ll write a blog post at the end of the month with an update and future plans to making social media more manageable.