Hey WNS readers! So, this semester I am taking a social media class and from now till December you’ll probably see some posts on WNS every now and again!
This post is a reflection of my experience of going without social media for 3 days. If you happen to want to read along, enjoy! If not, simply move along to whatever other distraction you are looking for to procrastinate that paper you’re supposed to be writing.
Social media is a habit. It’s a habit the same way biting your nails or working out everyday is a habit. It wasn’t until these past 3 days that I realized how bad of a habit it actually is. Waiting for a class to start? Checkout that kid’s new profile picture. Sitting on a bus? Read Miley Cyrus’s latest rant on Twitter. Procrastinating homework? You get the drill. I’m not necessarily saying that checking up on your Twitter feed or seeing what’s happening on Facebook is a bad thing. I’m just saying that we, as a general population, do this way too much. Social media has turned from a habit to an addiction.
Ok, I know right now you might be saying: who is this kid to judge my social media use? Well, this kid just went three days without any social media use. Three days without checking Twitter, reading Facebook or posting anything to Instagram. Three days of having to find something else to do when you’re sitting at the computer and avoiding writing that paper for as long as you can. After those three days, I can honestly say it was harder than I thought it would be. I had gotten so used to just unlocking my phone and clicking the Twitter icon that I didn’t realize just how often I did it. I mean, yes I knew I checked to see what’s new a lot, but probably not more than most other college-aged kids. Right?
Once the third day of no social media use had ended and I had come to a realization. Social media isn’t just something that I use occasionally to see what’s new with friends. I use it ALL THE TIME to fill small gaps within my day. It had turned from a habit of refreshing Yik Yak to see what new content there was, to a feeling of necessity to see what the latest buzz around campus was. I didn’t want to be left out of the conversation or the latest trend for the day (FOMO at it’s finest). I never thought twice about opening up Twitter to see what’s new, even though I had just done that 5 minutes ago.
In order to stop this crazy addiction for the three days, I actually deleted the apps off of my phone. This prevented me from having a simple one-touch access to my feeds. As far as the computer was concerned, I had to actually fight the urge to open Facebook a few times as I was doing schoolwork. Overall though, as the days went on, it became easier to resist any urges to check up on any forms of social media. I also realized how much more time I would have for other, more productive tasks if I simply didn’t use social media at all. Hell, I probably would have been done writing this post a solid 30 minutes earlier.
Looking back on the past few days, I’ve learned a lot about my own social media consumption and use. Social media has invaded all of our lives, for better or for worse, and it’s pretty much inescapable in today’s society. Whether you are communicating with friends, checking up on the latest trends or even trying to land a job, social media can be a necessity. However, just because it’s a strong tool for some things, doesn’t mean we need to depend on it. Next time you’re out to eat with friends, save your Twitter feed for when you’re home later. Facebook can wait till after you finish writing your paper (and be honest, you probably don’t care about 80% of the posts on there anyway). All addictions can eventually be broken if you try hard enough, just put some effort in. Social media can be a productive tool to keep you informed and in the loop, but don’t rely on Facebook or Twitter like a smoker relies on the nicotine from a cigarette.
P.S. Ironic how I’m posting this on a form of social media? I think so too.
Note: This post was written on day 5 (9/4/14), but I didn’t get around to posting it until today after I had proofread it.