A Day Without Social Media

So, how did I get there? Well, as with many things, it was for a class, I swear! (I don’t know what I’m going to do without that leverage to guilt my friends into doing things for/with me.) But, anyways, it had to be 24 hours without social media, which included no texting and no emailing. Personally, I’m a big fan of social media. It’s enabled a lot of things for me: I found my current roommate on Tumblr, I was friends with one of my best friends on Facebook before we had even spoken in real life. For an awkward person, it’s a nice cushion for that awkward getting to know people phase. At the same time, my parents didn’t like me being online too much at home, especially when we had dial-up internet (the horror). So, I was pretty sure I could handle a day without it.

Behavior

Still… The day before I was sure to text my important group messages, my parents, and my boyfriend to let them know it was going to be radio silence on my end. I also was sure to make plans with my boyfriend (which my friend also ended up getting in on) to get me out of my apartment.

The little check mark means it’s downloaded!

I also had a lot of questions for what counted as social media. If logged in with my email or Facebook, did it count? I tended to err on the side of caution with those and pretty much avoided using the internet entirely. However, if something was already downloaded (i.e. episodes of Mr. Robot on Amazon Prime, podcasts, music), it was free game. I figured it was as if I owned them on DVD or CD at that point.

I slept for two hours because I thought I was sick, but it turned out it was just allergies.

So I decided to spend the day catching up on some reading I needed to do for my internship credit. Good Girls Revolt is a great read to learn about what the women at Newsweek did, so I was able to read it for a majority of the day. However, the book has its slow points. So then I switched over to Mr. Robot. Partially because I had downloaded all the episodes already, partially just for the irony. Elliot would (hopefully) be at least mildly amused.

A lot of my time was spent alone. I was hungry and it was still Lent, so I needed to find something without meat to eat for lunch. Tonic is a block away and I do actually like their salmon Caesar salad. But, I couldn’t just text any of my friends or group chats if anyone wanted to grab so food with me. Luckily, I had experience being alone with limited cell service from my study abroad. I sat by myself and read Good Girls Revolt and eavesdropped on everyone’s conversations around me. Which, I do normally. (People watching is fun and the floor I was on was very quiet.)

When I ended up going out with my boyfriend and my friend, I wasn’t sure if it was out of sympathy or they aren’t on their phones a lot, but I didn’t feel like I was highly aware of people being on their phones. (But my boyfriend isn’t ever on his phone that much. I’m the annoying one for that bit.) There weren’t a lot of major lulls in the conversation, probably because if we weren’t playing games we were finding somewhere to eat and then we got our food fairly fast. There weren’t a lot of chances for gaps, and I had sort of planned it that way. It’s easy to stay busy at Dave and Busters or at a new restaurant.

Aside from spending way too much money (I went out to eat twice in one day, which I really try to avoid to save money), it felt pretty uneventful. It maybe would have been worse if I hadn’t preplanned getting out of my apartment. Or maybe I would have slept some more.

Identity

Before, I was definitely concerned about people thinking I was mad at them/being mean, honestly. I knew my parents would definitely call if something major happened (though they tend to text to ask for a good time to call beforehand). There was probably a slight underlying anxiety about missing something important. But it was a social perception I was worried about if I wasn’t accessible via social media.

I have legitimately read a message and then promptly fell asleep and never replied, but I really think I do my best to respond. So I wanted to give everyone a warning that I wasn’t icing them out. So maybe that warning effected the number of notifications at the end of the fast. Because by the end I was worried that no one needed to contact me. I had to remind myself there was too many variables at play to get too upset over it.

What was a big struggle during was thinking, “Wow, this would be so great to put on Snapchat!”, “I should put this on Instagram!”, “Oh, they just said something funny, I should send it to the GroupMe!” And while there is always the power of the #latergram, I sort of just avoided taking a lot of pictures and focused on enjoying my time. People would live without a Snapchat of us at dinner.

I think that’s the big thing I figured out. I think it gave me the impression that social media isn’t for constantly demanding updates, but seeing my friends having a good time is a nice update. It’s not that no one cares, but no one needs 24/7 information.

Commercialism

I always try to tag my location when I post an Instagram. I want it to say, “hey look at me at this trendy place!” (or maybe ironic place), but it’s odd to think that I’m a digital billboard for those places then. I wouldn’t consider myself as an influencer in maybe the really big sense of the word (unless someone wants to invite me to one of those mysterious influencer parties YouTubers are always talking about). But I am letting the people I’m connected to know I had a cool looking meal at this place, saw a cool display at that museum, had a good time at a yoga class.

This has definitely made me more aware that what I’m showing to other people in order to affect their perception of me is also affecting their perception of what brands I use.

This really shouldn’t be such a shocking realization. I’ll hashtag makeup brands when I post a selfie. It’s to show that I like the makeup, and I’m sure Kat Von D isn’t that upset about me sharing.

I do post a lot of food on my Instagram

It sort of makes me want to maybe just post my food if I want to show the food, but not tagging the place. If I’m going to let people know I’m having a good time, eating something tasty, or wearing nice makeup… Maybe that’s all they need to know. Unless it’s a business I maybe want more people to support, I can just let my good times be good and not a digital advertisement. I’ve gone out with my friends since the fast, and have noticed myself taking fewer pictures and just talking to each other.