The Social Media Cleanse

Glancing around a crowded lecture hall, you are more than likely to see at least 20 people with some sort of social media outlet open. Social media runs our society and we are addicted to knowing what’s going on in the lives of our friends. While it can be a great way to catch up with friends who go to different schools, or family that lives far away, more often than not our age group uses it as a sense of validation, gaging our self-worth on how many likes our picture received.

I admit, I am one of the many who is addicted to social media; almost every time I open my phone it is to check Snapchat or Instagram. Recently, I was troubled by how much I rely on social media throughout the day to entertain me during a boring class or more honestly, to make sure my social media presence matches up with everyone else. This past week I really challenged myself to give up social media for the entire week and it was not as easy as I imagined.

The idea of deleting all the social media apps off my phone came to me after I had posted a picture for my birthday. I was so concerned with how many likes it would receive that while doing school work, I was much more focused on whether the cute guy in my Comm class had liked my picture than the paper I was supposed to be writing. It was then that I dared to first delete Instagram. I felt very empowered after pressing the final delete button that would take the app off of my phone that I decided to delete Snapchat too, and Twitter came after that.

Deleting the apps off my phone was the easy part. The hard part came in class the next day when I was bored of listening to my professor, so I opened my phone, but there wasn’t Instagram to give me a funny picture of Chrissy Teigen sitting in the middle of a petting zoo, or Snapchat with a story of my friend having a too-close encounter with a squirrel. There were only old texts to answer and emails to go through, which only took about three minutes combined and then I was forced to pay attention to class again.

Throughout the week I felt more engaged knowing that there wasn’t a snap waiting for me to open or a picture that would make me feel as if I need to be more exciting. I spoke to the people around me and actually said hello to people on my walks to class. I’m usually too busy glancing up from my phone to notice anything other than the Cata bus that’s about to hit me.

Saturday morning I downloaded all three apps again, but something had changed. I scrolled through Instagram, but I didn’t necessarily feel the need to see how many likes my picture had actually acquired or what the girl who lives down the hall did with her weekend. I’m sure that this will fade and I will fall back into old habits of being concerned with who liked my picture or not, but it was a great feeling knowing that I don’t have to feel this way. Anytime I need a break, it is comforting to know that a detox is only a few taps away.