On Wednesday morning I set out with good intentions and deleted both the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone, and vowed I wouldn’t download them again until the 1st of April. I also decided to ditch YouTube as I’ve spent many hours hopping from one video to the other and ended up losing whole afternoons! It felt a little bit final, especially since Facebook had a little red notification icon showing up, but I ignored it and deleted it anyway.
That first day was probably the strangest. I lost count of how many times I picked up my phone and unlocked it, only to realise I didn’t have anything to look at and put it down again. Then five minutes later I would pick it up and do the same! I really hadn’t realised how much I went on social media in autopilot – not even looking at what was on the screen but just mindlessly scrolling through my newsfeed.
As the day went on, I felt like I had so much spare time on my hands. Time I would usually fill looking at posts, watching videos, updating my Twitter. But now I had all that time back, and at first it all felt a bit boring. I was itching to check in, to see what notifications I had, to see what everybody was up to and if I’d missed anything important. But I stuck with it – quitting on day one is a bit sad!
On day two I was already feeling like social media was a thing of the past, and right now I don’t even feel like I’m missing it. I’ve been filling my spare time by being more productive – I’ve been researching career paths and making plans, putting in study time for my training course at work, looking in to writing a novel again and having actual conversations with loved ones without hiding behind my phone.
My phone still stays with me wherever I go and I check it a lot to see if anything has popped up, but nothing usually does. I’ve also had a few times where I’ve taken a cool photo and though “this would be perfect for twitter!” but the feeling passes, and looking back I don’t think anyone would have been that interested anyway!
I think the biggest change I’ve noticed, other than feeling a lot more productive, is that I feel a lot happier with myself. Without the stress of how many followers and likes I’m getting, I’m not looking for anyone to validate my life. I’m not comparing myself to other people because the only people I interact with are people who are actually in my life – my family, friends, colleagues and customers at work – not strangers on the internet showing exaggerated versions of their lives.
I’m not saying social media is bad, but I do think it’s addictive and can have a negative impact if people use and rely on it too much.
I’m only a few days in and so far I feel like a weight has been lifted, but we’ll have to see if I still feel this way after thirty days!