What I Learned From Social Media Detox
In this day and age, we have access to social media in the palm of our hands 90 percent of the time – and in our pockets the other 10 percent. Going anywhere without a cell phone and its access to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and all the rest is unheard of anymore.
Have you ever stopped to consider how much time you spend (read: waste) on social media? Maybe you have given it a fleeting thought, then shrugged your shoulders and continued scrolling through your newsfeed.
Recently, I decided to enter the great unknown and seclude myself from social media for a week. It was an interesting experience, and here are some of my observations:
We Are Oblivious
It seems like such a cliché to bring up the whole nose-in-your-phone stigma about our generation but there’s a reason it’s a cliché. We are constantly occupied with social media, burning to see what is going on in someone else’s world instead of appreciating and observing our own.
I watched people walking down the sidewalk with their phones out, not paying attention to where they were going and generally being a roadblock for oncoming traffic. They not only failed to see the people around them, they failed to say thank you to someone who held the door open for them or to smile at a friendly soul who passed them outside.
There Are Better Ways to Spend Your Time
So this might seem like a no-brainer, but you can be very productive if you don’t spend your free time on social media.
You can get homework done, sure, but you can also finish that book that has been sitting gathering dust on your bookshelf, rearrange your dorm room, draw something, even start making some crafty Christmas presents for your friends and family.
Or you can go outside and enjoy a nice walk that doesn’t end with you sitting in a classroom. I can’t remember the last time I went for a walk just to go for a walk, not because I had to go to class or because I had a particular destination in mind.
The possibilities are limitless.
Technology is a Buffer
Put your thinking cap on, because I’m about to get philosophical. When did we start using technology as a buffer for the world around us? Are things really so boring, so mundane, that we must constantly be immersed in somebody else’s world through words and pictures on a screen? Is this our only way to find some semblance of fulfillment?
In all honesty, it’s probably not that drastic, and I understand that social media can be a very significant means of change for the better, in some circumstances. However, usually social media consists of friends posting pictures of their food when they go out to eat or similar insignificant and meaningless status updates that nobody really cares about:
“Jessica just went shopping and got a neat sweater. #threads”
It’s Not That Much Fun
I, like many people, have wasted hours on social media.
Now that I have forced myself not to get on whenever I suddenly feel like it, I’ve realized that it’s not nearly as fun as I thought it was before. Also, now that I was able to quell the urge a couple of times and redirect my energies, I have less of a desire to get on whenever I have downtime. It’s like breaking yourself of a bad habit.
That’s not to say I’ll never check social media, but I will certainly do it a lot less often than I was doing it before.
To sum up, if you choose not to waste so much time on social media and actually try to be present in the world around you, you can experience some meaningful things. It can be as simple as carrying on a fun conversation with a complete stranger, enjoying the beauty of West Texas in autumn or even noticing how crazy the squirrels are on campus.
I recommend that all of you try to resist the urge to get on social media the next time you feel bored or don’t know what to do. You might just be amazed by what you notice.