In high school, there was one concrete study habit I implemented all four years. Twice a year, during the week leading up to fall and spring finals, I deleted all social media apps off my phone.
I don’t make a big deal out of it. I don’t announce it to all my followers or anyone else. I’m offline for a week or two, then I redownload all the apps after finals are over. The only app I keep, if any, is GroupMe for messaging purposes.
This past December (my first time taking finals in college) started out no different. Since starting college, I had already been trying to curb my social media usage, so Twitter and Amazon were already deleted, with Instagram being deleted on and off throughout the semester.
In preparing for finals week, all I had to delete was Instagram, Reddit, and Snapchat. As stated before, I don’t really announce my short departure. I also swore off Snapchat streaks a long time ago, as I thought they were never really meaningful to me or my friendships.
So I delete Snapchat as usual, finals come and go, and eventually, all my other social media apps get re-downloaded. Except for Snapchat. When I got to its install page on the App Store, I thought “Maybe I’ll wait another week to redownload.” So I did.
I wasn’t in a rush since I don’t keep streaks and Snapchat isn’t the main mode of communication between me and my friends. The next week rolls by and I’m now on winter break. I considered getting Snapchat back on my phone just for the day to quickly catch up on my friend’s stories. But the more I considered that option, the more I realized I didn’t actually want to be on Snapchat.
During my first semester, I realized I had sunk so much time into endlessly scrolling on Snapchat.
You know how it is. You might pull up your story to check how many views it has and see if anyone messaged you. Then something on one of your friend’s stories might catch your eye. And if you’re like me, you can’t just leave one watched and all the others still there at the top of your screen. Now you have to watch ALL your friends’ stories. And then maybe watch The Dodo’s story on the Discovery page to see what happened to this kitten who was found under a car! Oh, and Buzzfeed has their “Top 33 Best Twitter Memes of the Week” article up. What’s going on on the SnapMap? How many views does my story have now?
And before you know it, an hour has gone by. A perfectly good hour you could’ve used to get ahead on homework, study, or hang out with friends in real life.
However, some people can look past the time-waster aspect of Snapchat due to the most common argument I’ve seen in defense of using social media: it keeps you in touch with friends.
Which is true, obviously. I’m not denying that Snapchat doesn’t allow you to see what your friends are doing, message them, and respond with your own pictures. That’s exactly why I got Snapchat to begin with back when I was 14 or so.
But here’s my philosophy: Snapchat is not worth having on my phone because of how much time I waste on it, and although my friends can use it to communicate with me, they won’t stop communicating with me just because I don’t have Snapchat. If a friend really is committed to our friendship, they can communicate with me via text, Facetime, or in person. They can find ways around relying on a certain app. And if they don’t, then that person does probably not care about putting in the effort to continue our friendship.
Friendship should be about connecting offline more often than online. It’s just a fact of life that things can be misunderstood or forgotten about in online communication.
The only reason I’d want to get Snapchat again is to use the Memories feature, but even then I can still export all the videos and pictures I have saved there and transfer them to the cloud, like with Google Photos.
And the truth is, I’m immensely happier without Snapchat. I have more time to do the things I love, and I’m able to manage my time properly.
I firmly believe that to make it through college you need to hone your skills in self-discipline, and maybe one of the best ways to do that is to ghost the Snapchat ghost himself.