A Month Without Social Media
This month I decided to delete all my social media apps (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) in order to try and focus on living in the moment. After watching my phone usage with apps like Moment and Checky, I noticed that I was spending much more time on my phone than I wanted to.
So far, here are some of the things I have noticed.
1. When I check my phone to respond to messages, I have often noticed that after reading messages, I unconsciously go into the folder where Snapchat used to be before realizing that the app is no longer there. This stopped about a week in.
2. I do seem to have more free time, but haven't measured it so it could just be a perceived effect.
3. I am more focused on current interactions and the people I was talking to in the moment instead of thinking about the future.
Originally, if this month went well, I had planned to try and spend the duration of my second year of college without social media. Although I have really enjoyed disconnecting from social media for a month, I don't think I am going to stick with it for the year.
Ultimately, I feel like it is just not entirely practical in today's society to be completely disconnected. Thinking forward to the year ahead and all the people I hope to meet at various events and around campus throughout the year, I think it would be much more difficult to keep in touch without social media. For example, some of my friends from college primarily communicate via Snapchat and Facebook. Despite my attempts to text them more or send emails, we have simply not been in touch as much as before.
Despite social media having perhaps morphed away from its original purpose of connecting people and into something which, for some, increases a sense of isolation, the original intention is still in there somewhere. With that being said, I hope to use social media more carefully and try to view it as a tool for maintaining valuable relationships with friends across the world instead of as a toy to waste any spare minutes throughout the day.
This phenomenon is not just something I have noticed, it is also becoming a priority for tech companies themselves. In the recent iOS update, Apple added tools to track phone usage and set limits for yourself on apps, and Google added similar features in Android Pie. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg also acknowledged the possible negative side effects of social media and stated the goal for Facebook of creating tools to help users manage their time spent on the platform. Instagram and Facebook both now have a host of initial tools which can aid in this process.
Although this issue may be on the minds of many people, that does not mean we should just leave it for others to solve. How we spend our time is ultimately up to us, and each person will have a different threshold for where they want there social media, or other such usage to be. Whereas one person might be fine watching 4 hours of Netflix daily, another might try to keep it to 1 hour a week. All that matters is that we consider what works best and fits with our own personal values and then take small but consistent steps to make that reality.
Photo is of a humpback whale’s pectoral fin. The September courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory went whale watching over the weekend in Provincetown, MA. I‘d seen whales before but never as close and spectacular as these. The whale „waving“ is called Salt, and she has 14 Grand-calves.