Why We Can’t Give Up Our Social Media...No Matter How it Hurts Us

By: Courtney Boone

There’s a danger that comes from a world that’s constantly connected. Last fall, after years of waiting, I got to see Bon Iver live. During his most popular single, Skinny Love, I found myself watching this near spiritual music experience through the camera on my phone. It was in that moment that I caught myself.

When we record moments, concerts included, are we documenting them to look fondly back on? Or, are we filming from ~just~ the right angle that makes you look closer to the stage for you to post on Facebook and Snapchat the minute you have decent cell service? This brings me to my next question:

Can we live without our social media accounts?

I asked multiple women about their experience taking the plunge and finally hitting the delete button. Some severed the cord and didn’t look back. Others struggled with actual physical side effects and major FOMO.

What made you want to give it up in the first place?

RD: “I would use it as a method of procrastination- and then when i thought about it, I did not actually care about most of what I was seeing on social media/ was not even friends with many of my social media “friends” anymore”

JB: “It first started out with me avoiding certain peoples Snapchat stories. I didn't want to watch things that made me upset for varying reasons but didn't want to unfollow because I didn't want to make waves. Then it became a weird feeling to be getting upset over an app so I started to just delete it for varying amounts of time until I officially deleted my account.”

Do you think you’re happier overall?

RD: “Yes, I am definitely happier. As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, social media has certainly been my crutch for a long time. Whether it is an avoidance tool to push off assignments that are causing anxiety, or a method to tunnel my own unhappiness.  I used to be so concerned about how many “likes” I’d get on my posts to the point where I would only post at “high traffic time” and delete posts that didn’t receive sufficient (to my standards) attention. It was unhealthy to place my own self worth on someone else’s click of a mouse.

JB: “...Even now it sounds weird to talk about a social media account as something that can make or break your mood, but having eyes everywhere can be content overload and it can be nice to shut off.

What advice would you give to someone considering “cutting the cord?”

AH: “Why not try it? if it doesn't feel right, get it back. the best case scenario is that you feel much better about your place in the world, more at ease, more confident that what you are doing is enough.”

I also spoke to women who seemed to make their way back to the apps, no matter how conflicting:

What made you want to try to give up social media in the first place?

KT: “I have really bad FOMO, and I also commute so I live about 45 minutes from school. I also work a lot of early morning shifts on the weekend. So all of this combined with seeing everyone on social media every weekend looking like they were having the time of their life would get me really down on myself. I thought that giving up a good majority of my social media would help. I was going to keep Facebook for family and Gamma Phi, but I got rid of Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram.”

Why do you think you can never fully "cut the cord?"

KT: “I don't think I'm ever able to fully cut the cord because I'm so used to being connected and I'm so invested in it. Also I just use it now as a way to cure boredom.”

How do you think social media shapes our day to day behavior?

SM: “Leaving it all together made me realize that my inner thoughts would revolve around what I thought would be a good status or tweet or post. Also, when I was off of it, my daily perceptions and outlook on life was more positive.”

Do you think you'll ever be able to disconnect in the future?

SM: “As much as I would love to, it would be detrimental to my brand as well as the organizations I’m a part of. I know that social media is also a vital tool in business which I will ultimately need for my future career. However, I have limited my time on  "useless" forms slowly, such as Snapchat, Facebook, and my personal Instagram and plan to consolidate my accounts more as I get older.”

KT: “If I'm being totally honest with myself I probably won't be able to completely, but I think I can definitely get rid of some things. I already see myself using Facebook and Snapchat less, but I think for a long time I'll keep Twitter and Instagram just because I like to keep up with everyone. In the future though, I think it'll be even harder to disconnect as we get more and more engrossed in social media.”

Our love of cultivating “likes” will not go away any time soon. Collegiettes, is now the time to muster up the courage and cut yourself off from social media feeds for good?