Challenge: Social Media Fast

A few weeks ago in my persuasive speech class, one of my classmates gave a speech about logging out of social media. At the end of her presentation she asked that each student log out of all of the social media apps on their phone for one day. I didn’t really mind doing this and agreed to the challenge. For the first couple of hours of being logged out, I wasn’t really bothered. I had classes to go to and people to see. I didn’t have any reason to look at my phone. However, once a few hours had passed, the challenge got a little bit harder. I found that when I was waiting for class to start, in line, or watching tv that I would pull out my phone and click on my Instagram app without even thinking. I found that as I was doing homework, I would try to open Facebook. I wasn’t even checking things because I needed to or had time to. Scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat had just become a habit. Something I do without even thinking sometimes.

Even if you don’t want to admit it, this is something you probably do too. Social media offers a VIP pass to always be in the know, and if you don’t check to see what your friends and followers are up to at least 100 times a day, you might miss something. I get it. I have this bad habit too, but doing a social media fast might be the way to break this habit or at least become more aware of where you’re spending your time.

I social media fasted last week and found that a lot of good can come from it. Here are just some of the benefits that I discovered during my experience.

1. You find better ways to spend your time. Instead of scrolling through social media at night when I was bored, I got myself organized and ready for the next day. I don’t know about you, but I consider this a lot more productive than reading about what Teresa ate at the caf today.

2. You pay more attention to the people around you. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who will just not put down their phone and look you in the eyes? Ya, well.. it’s always a good thing to make sure you’re not that person. When you put down your phone, you’re not only more engaged in conversations, but you also realize that the trees have turned colors and that people sometimes smile at you as you’re walking to class.

3. No comparison. It is easy to log onto Facebook and see that Sally is on vacation in Hawaii and question why you have been sitting at your desk for the past 3 hours looking at cat videos. If you’re not on social media, you don’t see all the things you are potentially missing out on and you might like your life a little bit more.

4. No distractions. Who likes writing 10 page papers? No one. But if you aren’t looking at social media every five seconds, you might get that paper done a lot faster.

5. Better sleep. I have always been told by my doctor not to look at my phone or a screen an hour before I go to sleep. I have always waved this off as a suggestion, not a guideline, but she’s right people. You go to bed a lot more relaxed if you put your thumbs to bed a little earlier.

These are just some of the personal benefits I found, but I am sure that there are much more. Not being on social media might be weird for a day or so, but you quickly get over it. It isn’t as hard as one might think and you really don’t miss all that much. Half the stuff people post everyday is pretty meaningless anyway. Plus, once you’re done with your fast you will probably find that you are much more aware of when you do use social media and will become better at regulating the time spent on it.

So today my challenge for you is to logout of social media. This doesn’t have to be a long term commitment, just do it for one day. Life doesn’t happen on a screen, it happens all around you, so put down your phones.

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