Brains, Booty and Bardi: Why I Quit Social Media

When I decided to quit social media for a month, nobody believed me. If you know me, you know I am constantly glued to my phone. When I told my two best friends, one said “Bitch, who’s going to play Snapchat games with me?” and the other suggested I give him my passwords so he can like his own pictures while I’m on my hiatus. While these knee-jerk reactions weren’t surprising to me, they made me start to think.

 

Social media has become something our world revolves around, whether we like to admit it or not. I will confess that I use social media more than the average person, but I think we would all be surprised to see how much time we actually spend scrolling and refreshing- shout out to Apple for shoving it in our faces with screen time updates.

 

While everyone discusses the time we waste on our apps, does anyone ever think critically about how the information we digest impacts our emotional well-being? Living in the Instagram model-era can be exhausting for women who are already scrutinized under society’s lens and expectations. Personally, I realized I was comparing myself to others nearly every time I clicked the app.

 

Once I decided that I wanted to improve my physical health by hitting the gym more frequently, I realized that I couldn’t exercise my body without improving my mind as well. Physical and emotional wellness are eternally connected, and if you’re not enhancing your brain– you’ll never be able to enhance that booty.

 

On January 31st, I was on the elliptical machine looking at a story on Snapchat that was criticizing Cardi B’s latest outfit. After I closed Snapchat, I opened Twitter and saw another story about Cardi– that she was invited to speak at a Democratic Reception in Iowa due to her recent voicings of President Trump. I, first, realized that I had just spent five minutes looking at my phone instead of focusing on my workout. And then I realized that the greater population would rather dissect one of the world’s famous women’s outfits instead of run the story on her recent impact in U.S. politics. While my inner (usually very extroverted) feminist could easily go off on a tangent about the patriarchy and how I’m not surprised that the greater population would measure a woman’s value based on her clothing choice rather than her strong stance on immigration, I’ll save that for a separate post.

 

So, I quit. I quit cold turkey, right there on the elliptical machine. I held the screen of my iPhone down and began clicking the x’s in the top left corner. Are you sure you want to delete? Snapchat– delete. Instagram– delete. Twitter– delete. Facebook– delete. VSCO– delete. In a matter of seconds I felt relief, followed by anxiety. I thought about people who do social media cleanses and the obligatory send-off post that they broadcast to all of their followers. Why do we find that necessary? Why do we let these accounts hold such a prominent presence in our lives? What are we afraid of? “Taking a break from this, text me if you need me” translates into, “please don’t unfollow me while I’m gone or feel hurt if I don’t like your pictures.” Do we really

put that much of an emphasis on social media that we require an explanation for just simply wanting a break? Is it that implausible to want be present in our actual lives?

 

I am currently two weeks into my time away from social media and it’s getting easier every day. It definitely evokes a lot of FOMO from time to time, but I feel overwhelmingly less stressed and anxious. Getting off social media has cut hours off of my average screen time and I’ve been able to focus more on the gym, my homework and the relationships of those that are physically with me– the ones that matter the most. I have had friends and family from out-of-state and the country ask me if I’m okay– as if death must be the only reason to step away from Snapchat. Side note– if there are certain people that only communicate with you via Snapchat, it’s probably best that you delete them out of your life anyway, that’s the real tea.

 

My initial goal was to make it through the month of February with no socials, but I’m considering extending it. Admittedly, I keep thinking about the next post I’m going to publish on Instagram. Should I post my bomb outfit from the night I saw Hamilton? Or should I wait until spring break and post a Kim-K-break-the-internet-esque pic? I guess I should stay off all of it until these thoughts aren’t crossing my mind.

 

Stay tuned for the next update from under my rock of oblivion, but while you’re here– follow me on everything, @KKHask. ;-)