Digital Detox: A Week Without Social Media

No double-tapping, posting, or snapping for one week. Here’s what happened… 

This post comes from our blog intern, Faith!

As a millennial with Instagram and Facebook ever only a tap away, it is weirdly hard to remember a time when social media did not exist. When I do, I often ask myself: how did I let people know I was having fun with friends? That I had friends at all? Today, I realized how sad those questions may seem. I also realized that I am often seated at dinner tables where the conversation is centered around what image I should post. I like to think that I am the one pulling for phone piles and face-to-face conversation, but I also recognize that I,too, have an obsession with my social media presence. Which is exactly why I volunteered to sign off of all of my social media accounts for the week. I thought: if I could just unplug, maybe my frustration with our generation’s constant tendency to be glued to their screen would cease, and that this digital detox was an alternative I could eventually get all my friends behind?

Wellllll….

When Monday came I was excited to start my detox, but I couldn’t help but wonder: would I miss it? Would anyone on social media miss me? The answer to the former was yes, so much so; while the answer to the latter, in-a-good-wake-up-call-kind-of-way, was absolutely not.

The rule seemed easy:

No Instagram, no Facebook, and no Snapchat (except to keep my snap streaks!) for one week.

Is that like going on a juice cleanse but still having a slice of pizza once a day? Maybe. Is it sad that I refuse to let go of my 246 day snap streak with one of my closest friends because I think it means that somehow our friendship will also end as soon as the fire emoji disappears? Most definitely, but more on that later.

Monday

Twelve. That’s how many times I opened my phone only to find a Facebook and Instagramless screen. The empty space where the apps used to be on the bottom bar of my home page seemed to scream at me each time, “stop looking for me, I’m not coming back!” Which, for lack of a better word, sucked. But I refused to hit the re-download button in the app store, because I am not, if nothing else, a quitter.  

My best friend offered to check my Instagram for me, but I decided that would be cheating and proudly declined. I did, however, secretly hope that one of the 684 people I follow would post something outlandish that would end up being the topic of my 11-girl group chat discussion. This did not happen. I came very close to texting in the aforementioned group chat to ask what had happened on Instagram today, but I quickly realized how stupid that would sound and decided against it.  I knew that 1) it would defeat the purpose of my Insta detox, and 2) that nothing really happens on Insta, but I still couldn’t help feel like I was missing out, so I created the following mantra for myself: live your life, and not vicariously through others. I invite you all to steal that one for yourselves.

Tuesday

Social media is, without a doubt, my greatest procrastination tool. Where else is there to go but Facebook when you need to get lost in the hundreds of thirty-second cooking videos and political comment wars? I actually typed the letter “f” in my Safari search bar purely out of reflex today. I got so nervous when I saw Facebook start to automatically load that I quickly slammed my laptop screen shut. I told you, I’m taking this seriously! The point here? I need to find another way to waste my time. Enter, online shopping: the least economically efficient method of procrastination ever to exist.  

I ordered four muscle tees (one in each color) and a suede jacket, although the forecast will not drop below 75 degrees for the next three months. I am not proud of it.

Wednesday

Have I felt more in tune with the world after not being on social media for three days? Absolutely not. Am I completely regretting this? You betcha. I almost entitled this post “I Tried to Digital Detox and only Lasted Three Days” but I like I said, I am not, if nothing else, a quitter.

Thursday

Okay yes, I am still very bored. BUT, I am no longer resenting myself for taking on this detox.

In some ways, I think attempting to disconnect with social media to connect with the world provided me the opposite of its desired effect. If you think you have FOMO when you watch a snap story of an event you are not attending, your FOMO completely grows when you have no idea what you are even missing out on. In other ways, I don’t miss it at all! Something happened between last night and this morning that made me realize it is a-okay to get out of touch for a moment. In fact, it is kind of nice. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. I was prepared to be cynical all the way til the end of the week, but today I woke up not wanting to check to see if it is the birthday of a girl I went to camp with six summers ago, or if my most recent Instagram got me my most likes ever. I didn’t even care that I had lost two of snap streaks (don’t worry, it wasn’t the 246 day one), but still, maybe this is a start of a new me?

Friday

False alarm. There’s no new me. It’s Friday which, in my head, signals the end of the week as well as the end of this detox! Huzzah! I am frustratingly too happy about visiting the app store this afternoon. I have come to terms with the fact that I will not miss this detox. However,  I will remember the five days I spent doing this, partly because it taught me a few things about myself and partly because it was the longest five days of my life. As much as I hoped this detox would affirm my beliefs that I am an old soul, I am without a doubt a product of my generation. I now know, more than I did before, that social media is my crutch in times of boredom and procrastination. I also know, that there is no place in the near future where I see that changing.

Ultimately, I think life is just better with all of the digital distractions. But like my mom says when I try to order dessert after dinner, everything in moderation. So let me just preach for a moment on the lesson this week has taught me: it’s important to know that there is a time and place for posting and snapping. Being out with your friends should never be one of them.When you’re at a concert, actually listen to the music and don’t worry about getting it all on your snap story. When you’re out to dinner, stop letting the phone eat first! Talk about your day, and not the day as it looked via your friends’ feed. I’m not saying to stop taking photos — of course, your best memories should be captured — but wait until you’re at home to run them through your VSCO filters.

Okay, I’m done now, and with all of that said, follow me on Instagram!

Comments

  1. I love this post and was curious to see how you’d end up feeling at the end of the week, welcome back to social media :)

  2. I’d definitely like to try this digital detox, perhaps just gradually instead of a few days with completely nothing.

  3. I was hoping you would not want to go back to social media so quickly. But, I really enjoyed reading your experience!!!

  4. When I was raising up we did not have phones and computers. We spend our days meeting with friends, focusing on our countless talents. Even now, when we are dominated by the virtual world, I do not allow myself to become a slave of it.
    I think it is good to use social media for keeping long distant contacts and promote business but it is sad that now we arrive to a point when people need digital detox and learn to have REAL relations all over again.

  5. Loved reading this and thought it was so cool seeing the daily feelings you were going though when not having your social media. Can’t wait to read the next one xox

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