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I Deleted Social Media for a Year, and Here’s What Happened

WHAT?! I can’t even live without Instagram for a week! How can someone simply not be connected in this day and age? How do you even talk to people?! Who is going to see me having all this fun??? The world needs to know!

Spoiler alert: You don’t die when you break off your relationship with social media (Just a single tear falls. Or maybe a lot of them).

Checking social media is a constant cycle of whipping your phone out and checking to see all of the fun that people are having as soon as you’re bored, or are not talking to someone mid-conversation. Sometimes, you even find yourself looking at an old friend’s page whom you haven’t talked to in years and end up looking at her cousin’s girlfriend’s page because you were looking at pics with the dog in them.

Honestly, the only reason I was using Facebook was to watch food videos or stalk people I barely talk to. This is when I realized I needed to chill out. I was so focused on checking what other people were up to and who was looking at my pictures/posts, that I seemed to forget that the whole reason I have fun is for me and not my Instagram followers.

So, being as dramatic as I am, I decided to deactivate/delete all social media accounts – not to “become a new person” or “cleanse” myself, but rather to try to claim my “me” time back (also to win a $20 bet, but that’s not important).

I wanted to simply enjoy moments and stop taking pictures of every meal I ate at a restaurant or every dumb thing my friends did (this happened a lot). I wanted to enjoy what the day had to offer me. Social media seemed to creep up on me as an obsession. 

At first, I found myself reactivating different social media accounts, even if it was just for 30 minutes here and there just to see what people were up to. I was sure I could go a while without looking, but kept catching myself trying to go on Instagram and Snapchat and freaking out about there being no app on my phone, and then realizing I decided this for myself. I wanted it all back!

After the first week, I got used to not checking my phone, and it made the conversations with friends I saw all the time more entertaining because I could listen to them tell me how their spring break was, and not be like “Oh I saw you went to Cancun with Megan and Amber,” and then continue to tell them the fun parts of their trip since they posted everything on Snapchat. Literally everything.

The obvious benefits of putting down social media are the ton of extra free time, as well as one less thing to “worry” about. You’re not comparing your lazy days with someone who just flew to Europe, and it’s rewarding to hear people’s stories in person rather than already knowing everything they did on their trip. The downside? Your friends get irritated that they can’t send you cute dog or baby videos, and you don’t have Facebook reminding you that it’s someone’s birthday. 

It’s a different life altogether when you don’t use social media, but it’s worth trying to relearn why it’s nice to physically engage with the friends and activities that you partake in. Social media is a platform where you share your life’s happy moments, so don’t forget to enjoy the moment first!

Photos by Eleanor Ritzman

Nat is a junior majoring in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security at Virginia Commonwealth University who treats every opportunity as a new chapter. All her chapters are filled with music, travels, Pinterest, and pics of friends laughing so hard they snort. She loves meeting new people and hearing new stories because she believes everyone has one. She aspires to influence those around her as well as just making people smile.
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