By Sarah Glynn | firstname.lastname@example.org
On most mornings I wake up around 8 a.m. to the sound of my alarm, unlock my phone to silence it and open up Snapchat or Instagram.
I check up on people I used to be friends with in high school, like a few overly-photoshopped celebrity pictures and see what parties or events I missed the night before. Being active on social media is a huge part of my daily routine in ways I didn’t even realize until I stopped checking up on most social medias I had been using.
I first realized I might be slightly addicted to social media when I stepped onto an elevator for a morning class recently. By instinct, I pulled out my phone to check between the first floor and the fourth floor. After I realized I was doing this by habit I looked around me and saw that all five girls in the elevator with me were doing the exact same thing. In fact, no one even bothered to push the button for the fourth floor. In that moment I decided I needed a little break, a social media detox.
My main accounts being used were Instagram and Snapchat. Maybe it was my love of photography or my short attention span but these medias were my favorite by far and I was very active on both. Giving these up cold turkey was as easy as clicking the little “x” by their icon on my phone, but I wouldn’t really know what it felt like without them until later on.
About three days after giving them up I started to realize just how much I opened these apps. I couldn’t even count how many times I went to go scroll through Instagram or Snapchat before remembering I had deleted them. I felt like I was crazy, addicted and I hadn’t even known. After doing some research I was comforted to learn I was not alone. According to Adweek, users within the age range of 20 to 29 (my age range) spent on average two hours a day on social media. This was in comparison to three hours for users within the age range of 15 to 19. I suddenly had these two hours back and I had no idea what to do with them.
I also became extremely aware of awkward pauses. Awkward pauses are natural and they happen often. When your waiting in line for coffee or to meet up with that friend who always runs late. I used to have my phone and social media accounts to keep me company but suddenly I was alone. Once again, I found others running into the same problem, as 42 percent of all mobile phone users say they expressly use their phone for entertainment when they’re bored, according to CNN. I began striking up more random conversations than I had when I had my phone. I realized my conversational skills were a little rusty, something that had never even seemed like a problem before.
I had given up all social media except Facebook because of my part-time job running the page for the Kenwood Inn downtown. Eventually I began to stray from just posting for my job and became enamored with Facebook like I had with Instagram and Snapchat. I quickly realized my reliance for social media was creeping back and began limiting my time on Facebook to work related only.
It’s been two months since I quit social media and this week is my birthday. As I finish writing this article I am redownloading Instagram and Snapchat to see what I missed. I logged onto Instagram and saw a few tags from friends who had texted or called me after I hadn’t responded. I had a few follow requests from friends with whom I had since spoken to. Snapchat saved my snaps, and it ends up the people who really wanted to get in touch with me did. Thinking back to all the time I saved without these medias, realizing I hadn’t missed much of anything I logged out, turned out the light and slept soundly. I’ll keep these social media accounts on my phone, but knowing that missing a few photos from my feed on Instagram or a few stories on Snapchat is far from the end of the world I’m hoping to use them a lot less than before.