Social Media Blackout: A Week without Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook

The idea was born on a stressful Sunday evening. I was swamped with work, attempting to juggling several assigned readings, a paper, and an impending presentation. Not particularly out of the ordinary for a college student, but despite my academic pressures, I was glued to my phone. In all honesty, I was stressing over a boy. I was knee deep in that odd page on Instagram where you can see what the people you follow are liking. I was fervently and unapologetically scrolling in hopes of discovering if he had been liking a certain someone’s content. My eyes bulged. My thumb was a blur. I was doing THE MOST. Then the big question hit me: Why am I doing this? Seriously, why? There was truly no good outcome. Either I would find what I was looking for, resulting in further distraction and frustration, or I wouldn’t, which would mean I had been entirely wasting my time. “Wait a second…” I murmured, unabashedly talking to myself in my Jonsson Tower single, “I’m wasting my time either way!” High off my almost burdensome intelligence, I defiantly quit out of the app. In a silly, insignificant, first world-kind-of-way, it was liberating. It felt good to separate my real-life issues from the ones that I was, in truth, creating for myself. In an attempt to keep this euphoric feeling alive, I decided to stay away from social media for the rest of the academic week. Until Friday evening, I concluded that I would delete my Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat apps from my phone.

 

With the exception of one weak moment (I got bored before bed one night and creepily scrolled through people’s Venmo transactions) it was a blissful experience. Here are some of my findings from the experience:

 

It wasn’t actually hard:

I anticipated that by the 48-hour mark I would be uncontrollably shaking and sweating, but not so! I noticed that I have a habitual tendency to go on social media while I’m waiting for class to start or waiting for friends in atrium, but with the apps deleted, I was found that I wasn’t all that tempted or on edge. If anything, I was less anxious than usual.

 

I did things I thought I didn’t have time for:

Turns out, without Instagram feeds (both rinsta and finsta fellas!) to scroll through and obsess over, I actually have time to work out. Not only that, but I found myself reading for pleasure and journaling before bed to compensate for my usual, technology-centered night routine.

 

I didn’t really miss out on anything:

When I re-downloaded my social media applications on Friday, despite having seventy notifications, I hadn’t actually missed anything of substance. Aside from a few Facebook invites to events for the upcoming weekend, the majority of my notifications were silly things like comments on a photo album I made several months ago. Shockingly, my crush didn’t ask me on a date in the form of a wall post. Also, no one, aside from my best friend sending me some emotionally triggering memes, slid into my DMs. Shocking.

 

You don’t need to share an experience for it to be valuable:

During my social media hiatus, I did some cool stuff. I went to the Saratoga Lake on a warm day with my friends. That would have made a pretty sick Instagram post. I saw Get Out in theaters and cried/screamed/clenched publically for two hours. People would have loved that content in the form of a Snapchat story. But it’s also fine that I didn’t share those experiences. Nothing bad happened. No one forgot that I existed. The experiences I had were still fun.

 

Everyone was really impressed:

If the four other reasons didn’t convince you, do it for the bragging rights. This week I was commended for my strength, bravery, will-power, and discipline. I love compliments.