1 Jan – 7 Jan 17
Because it’s the first for the project, I wanted to start off relatively easy (read: not much effort nor money needed). I would be giving up social media for a whole week. This is scary for me because I’m 20 years old and have FOMO (fear of missing out). Most days, about 90% of my time spent on my computer and on my phone is used to update my social media accounts and to refresh on my friends’ feeds, so going for a whole week without the things that keep my time occupied puts me at risk of dying… of boredom.
At 10PM on Saturday, December 31, I greeted all of my friends a happy New Year early then deleted all of my social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter) on my phone. I also deleted the social media bookmarks in my web browser on my computer. I did, however, allow myself to keep Tumblr and YouTube, since I didn’t personally know any of the people I follow on those platforms. Two thoughts came to my head immediately after deleting the last of the bookmarks: first, this was going to be the longest week ever, and second, I would probably cheat before Wednesday.
I quickly found out that getting off of social media didn’t make that much of a difference. I didn’t have a lot of friends in the first place, so I’ve never had too many notifications to catch up on. The friends who mattered contacted me through text messages or through FaceTime. What did make a difference was my disconnection from people I didn’t give two shits about. I realized how happier I was not being updated about the lives of a thousand other people I only said hello to once on my way to a class. Not being gunned down by my online connections’ downer posts and various complaints about the obscurities world made all the difference. Keeping those in mind eased any feelings of deprivation that built up as a result of stopping myself from doing something I thought I liked.
I would occasionally wonder how many people have liked my last post for 2016, or take and edit a photo of something that I would have wanted to share. But at the same time, I didn’t want to fail my first week of doing something that scares me, so I kept myself busy. My thing for next week needed a bit of preparation, so I did that. I caught up on sleep, watched a handful of Anne Hathaway movies, and took some time to organize as much as I could for the rest of the year. By Wednesday, I wasn’t even scrolling to the page on my home screen that used to have the social media apps.
I’m happy to say that I was able to check this off. I even wanted to extend it, but I figured that I might as well reintegrate myself back into the world by showing off what I was planning to do for the next week. Now that I know I can go a whole week without social media, I no longer feel the need to be updated about everyone’s lives all the time. I still don’t check my news feeds because I realized that if I wanted to know how a friend is doing, I can just ask. Isn’t that why we both have unlimited texting and places to have long catch-up sessions over good food and coffee?