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
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!