40 Days & 40 Nights without Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat
During Lent, individuals give up bad habits and guilty pleasures, whether that be sweets, television or cursing. After downloading an app to track my time on my phone, I realized how much time I spent on my phone and mostly social media, so I decided to give up Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to see how I would respond. Here’s what I learned:
Social media is fine in moderation
One of the first things I noticed during my break was how much time I spend on social media — finding the best pose, lighting, filter and clever caption for photos; taking breaks from events to snap pictures; and unconsciously spending hours scrolling through my feed, viewing random snaps of friends’ day to day life…at the expense of living mine. Taking a break from social media allowed me to be present in moments — catch my baby cousin’s infectious laugh, take in a gorgeous sunset without an iPhone blocking my view and socialize at a party without snapping pictures the entire night.
While I did get to enjoy these beautiful experiences, I missed some events. I missed an annual festival I love to attend because I did not get the notification from Facebook or see a post about it. There were friends visiting a city I was in, and I did not know because I did not see their snaps and Instagram posts leading up to the trip and while there. These occurrences bring me to my next point.
Connect with people IRL
From missing events and visitors, it made me realize how much people rely on social media to stay connected. Through posts, people can see when someone travels to a new city, graduates, gets engaged, goes to a fun event or experiences a significant loss. Instead of getting a call from a friend to let you know they have gotten engaged, they will say, “Oh, it was on Facebook. I thought you saw.”
Social media has replaced the need to share good news and even bad. While it is a great way to share with your friends, connections, followers, be courteous to privately share milestones with friends and family. Not only is it thoughtful, it will make both of you feel better to talk about it. People were made to connect with one another emotionally, and that is difficult to achieve through a screen.
Follow who you want
Like most people, I followed people I met once, mutual mutual friends and so forth. Most people that I follow I enjoy following no matter how distant the connection; however, there were the handful of people whose posts were negative and offensive. I did not like voluntarily welcoming negativity into my day.
Social media is first a platform to connect with people. Second, social media can be a source of inspiration through poems, inspirational quotes, beautiful landscapes, trendy fashion and impeccably decorated interiors. When social media is not fulfilling either one of those purposes, purge your feed.
All in all, this fast was a great experiment in mindfulness, time-management and a mental health check. Although I found my break freeing, productive and refreshing, I will return to my social media platforms and incorporate the lessons I have learned to ensure I have control over social media and not the other way around because social media is most importantly “social,” and when it begins to feel like a chore is when it is time to re calibrate.