Like most millennials, my life revolves around checking my social media accounts hundreds of times a day. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn allow me to constantly stay in touch with my friends, keep up with news, and find opportunities near me. I never thought about not using it for a full day, until now. I decided to do a social media cleanse to see how much it affected my life.
Not using social media is a challenge because most of the time I’m using it subconsciously. If I’m walking to class or just sitting in front of the TV, there is a good chance I’m also checking social media.
Hour 1: The first thing I usually do when I wake up is check all my social media accounts: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Today, instead I turned on the news and did my usual morning routine without opening the apps. I sort of feel left out because I don’t know what my friends have posted the night before or if I’m missing big news story, but hopefully I’ll get everything from the morning news show.
Hours 2-3: I went to the gym and got ready for class, so I wasn’t really missing anything because I was keeping myself occupied.
Hours 4-5: The worst part about this cleanse is getting notifications and not being able to check them. During class and walking in-between classes, my phone is showing me that I have Snapchat and Facebook notifications and not being able to check them makes me feel like I’m missing out on something my friends are doing.
Hours 6-7: This is when I really started to get agitated that I couldn’t check my accounts. I was home and done with class, trying to relax at the end of the day and I can’t be on my phone doing my usual checking of everything. Instead, I found myself completely focused on whatever I was doing in that moment: watching a television show or reading something for school.
Hours 8-12: I continued to find myself reaching for my phone to check to see if anything new had come up. At this point, I have severe FOMO (fear of missing out). What if someone posted something funny that I would like or tagged me in something funny on Facebook? I had to occupy myself with things and put myself fully in the moment. I also decided to go to bed early because I was tired and I was annoyed that I couldn’t do my usual social media scan before bed.
Overall, I think the social media cleanse was a great thing for me to do for a day. I didn’t realize how much I used my social media accounts to stay connected with friends or just keep myself occupied. I found myself being more in the moment, which was especially helpful when I was working on something for school or having a conversation with my roommates. I can’t say that I am going to stop using my social media accounts, but I could definitely limit myself on how much I do use them and let myself be more in the moment rather than staring at a screen.