One Week Without Social Media: A Diary

(Image Credit: WavebreakMediaMicro)

(Image Credit: WavebreakMediaMicro)

Day 1. February 4, 2015.

First urge to check Facebook: 11:35 a.m.

Total number of times desperately wanted to check Facebook: 4 (v.good).

Actually cheated and checked Facebook: 1 (v.bad).

Asked my sister to look at something on Facebook: 3. Eye twitches because I could not check Facebook: too many to count.

Total number of ignored notifications: 8

 

11:35 A.M.

Dear Diary,

Well, it’s happening. I’m starting my one week purge of all things social media just for the sake of writing what will hopefully be an entertaining article. I’ve taken Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and placed them all in a DO NOT TOUCH folder in the very depths of my iPhone (deleting them altogether just seemed far too harsh and unnecessary; I’m way too lazy to go through and reinstall and reverify all that info in seven days’ time). I have NOT turned off my notifications because in some way I am sick and twisted and want to further tempt myself. It’s like working out with a big bowl of candy only a few feet away from you. Finishing the workout always makes you feel great, but it feels even better when you finish without immediately sticking your hand in the bowl. But…I am known to go for a mini Snickers when I finish an especially vigorous workout. They have protein you know; not a total wash. Have bad feeling about this…

Today has been far easier than I anticipated. Yes, it’s not even noon, but I’m holding out hope that I will remain strong, feign disinterest in the latest going ons in my social circle and find other forms of entertainment when I have the strong desire to scroll through Newsfeed. Bring your worst, spawn of Mark Zuckerberg!

12:55 P.M.

I’m off work now and the temptation is growing. Just received a notification that I’ve been invited to a pub crawl to celebrate a friend’s 30th. If I don’t RSVP immediately, will that be rude? Texting a mutual friend for the invite info as we speak.

10:25 P.M.

Damnit. I caved. All day I’ve been dutifully avoiding it. Okay, that’s a lie; I asked my sister Abby to check something fishy out for me. I had to go on just now though or I would have seriously ticked off a co-worker who went out of her way to write a status dedicated to me. Abby told me about it. Was I really not supposed to acknowledge it and risk a bad case of stink eye the next time I see said co-worker? Not chancing it. I did NOT look at my notifications and I did NOT go through Newsfeed. So one comment on one status is no big deal. REALLY. Tomorrow I will prevail and be social media free all day.

10:59 P.M.

Not being able to tweet during Broad City should be a crime, just sayin’.

 

Day 2. February 5, 2015.

First urge to check Facebook: right when I woke up. (BAD).

Number of notifications gained while I was sleeping: 4.

Actually went on Facebook: Once. (punishing myself).

Productive activities done: 5 (v.good).

Total notifications ignored: 21 (damn you, red alert number).

 

7:49 P.M.

Dear Diary,

I’m weak, so very weak. BUT it was extremely appropriate that I went on Facebook today due to the fact that it was my favorite Spanish teacher’s birthday and it would have been horribly inconsiderate if I didn’t shoot her a ¡feliz cumpleaños! That was all. It’s not like I have her cell phone number.

Birthday incident aside, today was a major success if I do say so myself. During lunch with Mom I was completely focused because I wasn’t constantly checking Instagram every five minutes to see what interesting things people were doing. Did she seem to notice my newfound attentive ear? No. Not at all. But was I able to think clearly in Marshall’s about which picture frames would best match my bedspread? Yes, yes I was. I was focused on myself and not on whatever Jimmy Fallon did on his show last night that all my friends were talking about. (P.S. Jimmy, I love you.)

But really, I’m starting to wonder what’s up with those 21 Facebook notifications, 3 Snapchats and 1 tagged photo on Instagram. Thankfully, Twitter notifications are shut off because I just can’t deal. Phone just lit up. Facebook again. Leaving phone upstairs for remainder of night. Temptation is growing.

 

Day 4. February 7, 2015.

Number of ignored notifications: 38.

Times tricked into opening a Snap: 1.

Times opened a Snap on my own accord 2 (v.bad).

Urges to check Facebook: blah.

Urges to check Twitter: none (v.good).

Noticed differences in mood: actually less agitated than normal.

 

8:45 P.M.

Dear Diary,

I must admit that this social media free thing is getting slightly easier by the day. Initially, as I watched my number of notifications growing, my anxiety levels continuously shot up a bit more each time. But today, the increasing number really isn’t bothering me so much. It’s taken four days, but I have realized that whether or not I’m active on social media sites does not play any huge role in the way my day to day life unfolds. I haven’t missed any catastrophic events, my friends have not started to ignore me and it actually feels good to not constantly be aware of what is happening in every single acquaintance’s life. I even feel slightly less agitated than normal.

It wasn’t until I was technically off Facebook and Instagram that I really started to notice the effect that notifications had on my mood. Getting notifications must be the equivalent of a drug, or caffeine at least. If I put my phone down and return to find I have new notifications, my mood increases by the tiniest amount. If I go a whole day without looking at my phone only to find I have no notifications, my mood goes down quite a bit. It’s actually sort of sick. I may only be happy being off social media right now because I currently know I do have a lot of notifications waiting for me. I actually really may only be feeling loads happier because I’m finally done PMSing for the month and social media may not be playing a role in my mood at all. Writing this, I feel like a completely crazy person. Really hope other people out there know what I’m talking about. Hmm.

I did cheat yesterday. But when a cute guy sends you a Snapchat, you’re going to open it even if the President himself has given you orders not to. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Day 5. February 8, 2015.

Times looked at Facebook indirectly via my sister: twice (weird circumstances, neither bad nor good).

New notifications: 7. However, total number of notifications has gone down…does Facebook start deleting your notifications if you don’t check them??? Must google search this. Also found out that multiple Snaps from one person continue to show up as 1 Snap total.

Things I’m focusing on instead of Social Media: 5 (organizing sheet music, feng shuing my room, catching up on Gilmore Girls, drinking coffee and the fifth I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you).

 

5:21 P.M.

Dear Diary,

For some reason, I feel like I now remember fully what it’s like to live in the 90s. Yes, there weren’t texts, or really even awesome cellular phones, and yes, I was only 9 when the 90s came to a close, and yes, I still have 24/7 access to the internet and am plugged in socially constantly through text, but I do have less distractions and life just feels a little simpler.

Now that I’m halfway through day 5 of my social media free week, I’m shaking my head at how ridiculous I was on day 1, literally tweaking out that I wasn’t going to be able to make it a week. YES I KNOW, I’ve cheated a few times, but I’ve been completely social media free the past two days so I consider that winning. Maybe I’ll even extend this experiment (J/K you totally know the minute Wednesday morning rolls around I will be right back on my social media grind). My mood has remained fairly good; my focus has been on point. My closet has never looked more organized. I say the good in this situation far outweighs the bad.

5:26 P.M.

Oh dear god. I just looked at my Timehop (full disclosure – no idea if Timehop counts as social media or not). Definitely extending my social media free week to social media free forever to save myself from further social media embarrassment. Or at least deleting Twitter forever.

11:28 P.M.

Wow, Beck, wow. And get over yourself Kanye. Seriously wish I could Tweet right now.

 

Day 7. February 10, 2015.

First urge to check Facebook: hasn’t come. Who am I?

Number of ignored alerts: Too many to count, definitely over 50.

Productivity level: very high (v. good).

Times I’ve felt inadequate because of stuff I was seeing on Facebook or Instagram this week: Zero.

Number of pictures on camera roll ready to be Instagrammed: 3 (not too shabby).

Time left in experiment: about 20 hours.

Feelings about being able to go back on tomorrow guilt free: undecided.

 

3:58 P.M.

Dear Diary,

How is it even possible that it’s already been a week? I swear I’m not trying to be overly obnoxious and act like this challenge was super easy just because the time has gone by fast. I’m just genuinely surprised about how fast it went. I can’t really even whine today about my cravings to log on or admit to having cheated because I pretty much haven’t at all in the tail end of my social media free week. Oh, well, wait. Yesterday I did send out one mass snap, but only because it was a snow day and I walked in on my sister doing this:

 

 

How could I not share that moment?

AH, I just had that light bulb go off in my head. Maybe, just maybe, this experiment has led me to realize that less is more when it comes to what I post on Facebook and Instagram or Snap and Tweet to my friends (Snap, Tweet, are those verbs in the dictionary yet?). There were very few moments this week where I was like “Oh wow, really feel the need to share this on every social media platform I’m on because it’s just way too awesome.” So I came to the conclusion that I post things that really don’t need to be posted because I might be bored and not thinking about what other stuff I could be doing.

In addition to this realization, I retract my statement that I needed to be tweeting during the Grammys because Timehop once again reminded me that I’m just not good at Twitter. For example, during the Grammys two years ago I felt the need to Tweet “Johnny Depp could be in drag and id still be gaga for him.” Sarah of two years ago, keep certain things to yourself, always use proper punctuation, and don’t say gaga, you sound like someone from a bad black and white noir movie. Thank you, Timehop, for unexpectedly becoming my voice of reason.

 

February 11, 2015.

Eagerness to check all social media outlets this morning: Ehhh.

Total number of missed Facebook alerts: 52.

Unopened Snaps: 23.

Instagram notifications: 5 (for all you “like” obsessed people, I didn’t post any pictures a few days before this challenge so stop laughing!)

Twitter alerts: Yeah right, Twitter is deleted thanks to TimeHop. J/K, not really, but not willing to go on it for another few weeks.

Lessons learned through a week without social media: more than 5 (v. good).

 

11:09 A.M.

So, I am officially done with my purge and could log onto Facebook or Instagram guilt free right this second if I wanted to. But before I do, I just wanted to do a quick recap on a few surprising lessons I learned while attempting to stay away.

  • Staying off of social media actually caused my stress levels to go down in some weird way. That might be saying a lot about me as a person, but I feel like when you’re constantly flooded by what everyone else is doing or has going on, you can tend to compare yourself to them. For example, every time I see someone is engaged at my age I wonder should I be engaged? Not really, but the thought has crossed my mind once or twice.
  • Not being able to log on if I was bored made me do more productive things. It’s not like when I’m on social media I’m this lazy blob incapable of doing things that need to be done, it just helps me to procrastinate more.
  • As a society, we are obsessed with all things Facebook and Twitter. By not actively being on either, I started to notice more and more how often other people were on it. Waitressing this weekend, I could not get over the number of people who had their phones out and were scrolling through newsfeeds the entire time they were out to eat. I’m guilty of having done it, but I’m going to try really hard not to (we’ll see how I hold out).

These were the big three lessons, and if you’ve stuck with me and read all of my ramblings, you know there were quite a few others. I think for now, I’ll keep everything in that Do Not Touch folder, only so it’s not so easily accessible. Just for now. I’d love to stay and chat some more, but…I have a few notifications to check out!

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A Modern Girl’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette

(Image Credit: Ra2 Studio)

(Image Credit: Ra2 Studio)

Everything we say and do communicates the kind of people that we are, and now that almost everything we say and do is posted publicly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on…we ought to put some deeper thought into the content. The trouble with social media is that it distances us from our audience, which causes us to be more daring and frankly more careless about the things we say and do online. This distance opens us up to bash on other users and be unnecessarily nasty and disrespectful, and also to get too personal with our own posts and status updates—boldly stating what a lonely wreck we are, etc., a.k.a. attention seeking. It’s one thing to be ironic. It’s another to actually fall into these unhealthy habits. Continue reading

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How Does Social Media Impact Relationships?

(Image Credit: Zea Lenanet)

(Image Credit: Zea Lenanet)

There’s no doubt that social media can benefit relationships. It helps us keep in touch, lets us see what’s going on in each other’s lives and even sometimes can connect us with romantic partners. But does social media hinder us more than it helps us when it comes to sustaining meaningful relationships? Continue reading

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Dealing with the Temptation to Social Media Creep

(Image Credit: Zsolnai Gergely)

(Image Credit: Zsolnai Gergely)

It happens to most of us. I’m talking about when you’re on a social media website and you’re reading someone’s comment on a mutual friend’s photo or post and next thing you know you, find out everything about this stranger. You even find out the name of his or her dog. Kind of creepy for not knowing this person at all, right? Continue reading

Britney Spears (Image Credit: Britney Spears/Instagram)

Yay or Nay? Britney Spears attempts social media comeback

Britney Spears (Image Credit: Britney Spears/Instagram)

Britney Spears (Image Credit: Britney Spears/Instagram)

We love her, we hate her, we love to hate her, and we hate to love her. Britney Spears has a complicated relationship with the public, but she seems to be using social media to bridge the gap that’s formed between herself and her fans.

A Google News search of “Britney Spears” returns not stories about rehab or concerts or hairstyles but a smattering of news items about her Internet posts. The Huffington Post declared Britney the official “Queen Of Pop, Summer And Having Adorable Children,” largely based on evidence gleaned from her social media posts.

Are Britney’s recent posts a way to return to the public eye, a sign of a new agent or just a fun way to engage with more people? I have no idea, but do we ever know what Britney’s thinking, anyway?

The star’s Facebook & Instagram feeds are full of videos and photos of her daily life with comments like “How I spend my Saturdays….lol.” These include posts about herself and about her two sons. She also has photos and comments about her niece. A peek into Britney’s life shows it’s not especially glamorous, but seems to imply that it’s simple and not so far removed from the average person’s world.

These photos get hundreds of thousands of likes and thousands of comments. The profiles aren’t free from publicity posts, though — there are several promotional images for her Vegas show “Piece of Me,” links to vote for Britney in contests and a post promoting her sister Jamie Lynn Spears’s recent EP on iTunes. Her Twitter, Instagram and Google+ posts are generally duplicates of the Facebook posts.

The star also has a verified Pinterest page, but according to the bio it is “run” by fans and interested individuals can “curate” a board if they wish, and many of the boards have multiple contributors. The majority of the content is images of Britney through the years, organized by time or type (e.g. “Hair-ney,” “Oops…I Did It Again Tour”).

Britney has called her 2005 show with Kevin Federline, Chaotic, and the “worst decision” of her career. Heavily criticized, the show was seen as proof of the singer’s narcissism, which didn’t exactly have a favorable impact on her image.

Britney stayed out of the public eye for a while after that, and her social media comeback seems to be a way to show that she is indeed a “normal person” rather than some kind of crazy woman who shaved her head, did drugs, made a failed television show about her own life or wore a denim gown.

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Facebook Phenom ‘I F-ing Love Science’ gets a TV Show!

I F*cking Love Science (Image Credit: Elise Andrews)

I F*cking Love Science (Image Credit: Elise Andrews)

As if we couldn’t f-ing love science enough already, the educational Facebook page, I F-ing Love Science, is now under production into a new TV show that will premiere on Science Channel in the third quarter of this year.

The page, I F-ing Love Science, was created in March 2012 by British Biology student, Elise Andrews, and since its birth, the site has racked up over 10 million likes and counting. On her Editor’s blog for I F-ing Love Science, Andrews says “I’m on board as consulting producer, and will be contributing the editorial “voice” of the show to ensure it remains true to my vision.”

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Too Consumed to Ingest the world around us?

 

Consumed by Cell Phone (Image Credit: Gabriela Pinto in article)

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Technology has undoubtedly improved our abilities to connect to people from around our neighborhood to around the world. But I am beginning to wonder whether we are too preoccupied with our cell phones and social media to notice the world around us and/or the people in it. Are we simply living alongside technology and embraces it advantages or are we living for it? Continue reading

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How private is your Facebook account?

Facebook (Image Credit: Neeraj Kumar)

Facebook (Image Credit: Neeraj Kumar)

There goes an “ancient” saying that states, “if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see or hear it, neither say nor do it.” But in the age where our actions or words are only truly validated through social media, it is best for you not to post it. This is especially true for Facebook.

Being the oldest child of the social media family (Myspace doesn’t count) Facebook has tweaked its site so that it has become more and more specialized, and in that way more private. There are certain features that allow users to set their profile to private, allowing only friends to view specifics such as photos and posts. For those who have opened their profile to the public, there are still settings that can make some of the content on their page private. However, let’s be honest – nothing on the Internet is completely private. Which in that case, gets us to the main point: how private is your Facebook really? Continue reading

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Smartphone (Image Credit: Johan Larsson)

Smartphone (Image Credit: Johan Larsson)

This summer I’m taking two online summer school classes and participating in an online internship. When I need a break, I’m on Twitter, WordPress, or any number of other social media sites. So while my connection to people has not dwindled this summer with being out of school, it all happens while I’m sitting in my twin bed at home. I am living virtually through screens. Continue reading

The Real Life Consequences of Rejecting ‘Friendships’ on Social Media

Facebook (Image Credit: Robert S Donovan)

Facebook (Image Credit: Robert S Donovan)

Any time that I log-on to Facebook and see that little image of the two people illuminated with a number next to it I pause. I always try to guess who could possibly be sending me a friend request that I’m not already Facebook friends with. There’s dramatic music playing on my internal soundtrack, and I slowly drag the arrow over and click. Continue reading