Challenge: To give up Social Media
Total time accrued: 3 hrs
Thoughts: If social media is used correctly, it connects us.
The Eleventh Challenge: Less Technology, More Reality
What I Expected to Happen…
There’s a certain stigma around social media, I’m not sure whether it’s due to the fact that we live in a transition period where we have a spectrum of generational extremes.
On one extreme, we have a generation of people who come from a time where there was no internet… contrary to popular belief, these are not people who have time travelled to live among us, the internet is still a fairly new thing.
On the other extreme, we have those who were born pretty much with the iphone X attached to their hand from the womb.
I am in the weird middle ground where I remember a time where not everyone had the internet and when we finally got the heavy, clunky, space consuming technology in our home, we all gathered around it in awe. But nobody really knew what to do with it.
Over time, growing up with it, I discovered Neopets (anyone remember that?!) and dabbled in html, then discovered MSN, then MySpace, Hi5, Babble and all the rest of the strange social sites. Again, nobody quite knew what to do with these!
I even remember when the new Nokia 3310 came out and the popular kids in school were the first to get their hands on it, snake was the shit back then.
So in this spectrum of extremes, there has been a stigma that has naturally developed in the adaptation period where those of us who remember the times before the internet cannot understand those who’s lives totally revolve around the internet. And some of us who have adapted, still feel a pang of guilt when we realise what an importance it is on our lives now, when there was a time where it did not exist in our lives.
In short, detoxing from social media, although not entirely eliminating technology (most significantly, the internet) from my life, I expected it would reduce my dependency on this virtual world and give me a better connection with reality. I expected it would free up that two hours a day we supposedly spend on Social Media to do some of the things I keep putting off. I thought that without the distraction and the procrastination, I would pursue some of the hobbies I enjoy more.
What Actually Happened…
I don’t think you need to have a lot of life experience to know that, things don’t always work out as you plan them in your own head. Even when you have total control over it. So in short, it didn’t quite go as planned… this is pretty much how it went.
- Daily checks from concerned friends that I am coping without their minute by minute life updates – I was not.
- Regular jokes on all the exciting goss I am missing out on – #severelyjel.
- People trying to show me videos/memes and me covering my eyes.
- Lots of debates about what Social Media even is and whether there are any loopholes to my challenge.
- People wondering what I even do with my life. I also wondering the same.
- My social life dying a horrendous death as I miss out on invites.
- My mum and grandma thinking I am dead because I haven’t posted in a while.
- Limited people to talk to as I don’t have anyone’s number.
- Finding other things to distract me from doing all the things I supposedly always wanted to do but just “never found the time”.
- Serious reconsideration on whether or not it’s actually worth taking photos anymore if I can’t insta them.
Okay, sort of joking on that last one but this challenge has been a real eye opener for me, and taken the ownership of my decision making back onto me. I’m not a “victim” to social media, it’s not and never has stopped me from doing anything and I am not as dependent on it as I thought – it definitely got easier as time went.
Sure, I did use it as a “filler” activity a lot of the time, browsing pointlessly through facebook or instagram. But having removed this distraction, I found other things to pass the time, like browsing pointlessly through my photos.
However, the good part to having to find an alternative “filler” activity, was that some of the things I defaulted to were actually helpful. For example, in my bored moments, I would find myself checking my online banking and browsing through what I’ve bought which is a healthy habit to build.
I also found myself going back to the duolingo app regularly and learning Español which does happen to be one of the “things I’ve always wanted to do but put off”. So that’s a definite win (45% fluent apparently – the app don’t lie).
Doing the challenge has made me realise how social media can really connect us. Those who care about us do want to be able to get little updates on our life and see how we are getting on. I didn’t anticipate my mum and my grandma both actually becoming seriously concerned because they hadn’t seen me post in a while, maybe that’s a reflection on just how much I used to post (which I think may go down now) but I also think for them, it’s a nice way of them staying connected to us albeit from a distance.
I hadn’t anticipated how disconnected I would feel from others and how isolating it could be for me being off Social Media, because prior to this month, most of my communication was done through these apps. I quickly discovered that I need to keep more phone numbers because I literally had like barely anybody! But also, it’s easier for people to crate a group or an event on facebook and invite those who they want to attend, so that they don’t have to repeat themselves. So I may have missed a few invitations… sorry guys!
Success rate: 3 Failures
2 mins each on 2 occasions where I needed to extract travel photo’s from my blog and 20 seconds when my BFF showed me a meme from his instagram!
Cost per fail: 1 hour per day.
Hours accumulated for charity: 3
Will I stay off Social Media? Definitely not. Having said that, I am less bothered and so I will be posting less (I think) and would like to stay out of the habit of checking my phone constantly.
Am I like super connected to mother nature and spiritual and enlightened since being off Social Media? No but I now have more options on how to distract myself and procrastinate should I require it.
I’d love to know what other people think, especially those who have done a Social Media detox, let me know in the comments below!
Excited for my final challenge; Volunteering!