At the beginning of my challenge to rid myself of social media for a month, I wanted to break free of the compulsion to check my phone on a near constant basis.
Even with all the apps gone, I still find myself looking at my phone every once in a while to see if I have received any new notifications. Even without Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, I find myself refreshing my email, facebook messenger, and even texts more often.
That being said, here’s my rating of how much I missed each social media platform along with my thoughts:
Surprisingly, this was the app I used most and now is the app I miss least.
At the beginning, I had pangs of regret at not being able to share a moment of my life. However, now those pangs are all but gone. Not being able to see how many followers I’ve gained or lost also helps, as there’s no psychological pain at the sting of ‘losing followers’.
Instagram is designed to be snapshots of a person’s daily life, but I don’t feel disconnected from my friends now that I’m off of it. I can’t really think of people who I follow on Instagram whose updates I miss, and it’s nice not to see 100+ scantily clad, perfectly unattainable bodies everyday either.
I do miss browsing pictures of food before deciding what to order in restaurants.
I don’t use twitter, so I don’t miss it.
However, I do wish I could read Donald Trump’s tweets since the media is always reporting about them.
I don’t miss snapping other people, but I miss receiving snaps from friends.
I’ve had various people come up and tell me, “I’m so upset you can’t see that funny/cute/awesome snap I sent you! Here let me show it to you on my phone.” the first few weeks, but this soon stopped as they probably found someone else to share their snaps with.
The compulsion to capture things on snapchat has subsided without any significant detraction from my life. When my food is served at a restaurant, I eat instead of whipping out my phone. When I go outside for a jog and see a nice scene, I admire it with my eyes instead of whipping out my phone. You get the picture. When I do activities, my phone stays largely in my pocket, and I like that.
I feel like I’ve lost contact with certain ‘snapchat friends’. These are people who I used to snap regularly but otherwise never saw or interacted with much. It was mostly, “Here’s a snap of my face/lunch/new shoes.” And watching their “Work out/dinner/dogface” snaps. I had been wary of this happening before the challenge, and now that it has, I’m not too sad about the loss.
Cal Newport says it best: “Social media is great when it solves an existing problem, but beware of social media platforms that create a new problem which only it can solve – like snapchat.”
I’ll be honest with you, the only reason I use this app is to communicate with my Chinese grandmother. She’s in her late 80s, lives in Florida, and is miraculously adept with an Ipad. We facetime each other and sending voice messages over Wechat.
I had deleted this app for all of two weeks before my grandmother told me, “Why did you not check my messages?” I decided to add back the app. She’s getting older and life is short. I don’t want to have any regrets if something happens to her and I lost a chance to talk just because I was on a social media ban.
Facebook was the app I used the least, but surprisingly it’s the only platform that I miss. While I haven’t checked any of my notifications, I have gone on the website a few times to retrieve photos or dates.
1. I listed some items I’m selling on a Facebook group for a friend. I volunteered to help her out back in December before I decided to take a detox.
2. I checked an event a co-worker invited me to after he messaged me asking if I was going. I had to see the event in order to decide and didn’t want to ask, “Oh please text me all the details as I don’t want to open Facebook.”
3. I was having a conversation with a co-worker and wanted to show her a photo from 2011, which I had to find on Facebook.
I also have had various occasions when I wanted to look up a certain person on the internet. Whether it a new acquaintance, a potential colleague, or a friend of a friend. I found not being able to look them up discouraging, as only Facebook could give me the information I needed to properly stalk them.
Aside from that, I haven’t had any urge to scroll down my FB wall (mostly upworthy.com articles or memes) or even check notifications. (people’s birthdays that I don’t really care about but feel compelled to wish them a happy birthday because I already saw)
Now that it’s February, I’ve gone back to using social media. I’m glad to say that I feel less ‘addicted’ or inclined to check every app. I also care less about receiving likes, followers, and responses than I used to. It’s been a week, and I still haven’t installed the Facebook app on my phone.
The biggest insight I gained by taking a break from social media is a sense of space and privacy. A break from the fast-paced documentation of constantly advertising myself and my activities, and just being able to do as I like without anyone else knowing.
It was a really nice feeling.