“Freedom” from social media can garner surprising results.
By Peyton Pitman, Staff Writer
Earlier this month, I sat down with my memo pad, trying to brainstorm ideas for my next article in The Huntingtonian. I went back and forth about what I wanted to share with you all, and how I wanted to share it. As I thought about different topics, I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook, hoping that an idea would present itself. And it did.
I needed to do the “staying off social media for a week challenge.” Not only would it be interesting, but it would be a perfect time to do it since I’m currently in social media class. Let me tell you; it was no walk in the park. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a meltdown, or start to have social withdrawals. But I did miss one thing. Before I tell you what it was, let me give you a glimpse into what my media-free week looked like.
Not only did I have a lot more free time, but I now have every inch of my email inbox memorized. I mean, what else was there to look at on my phone? The week started easy — finding things to do was no challenge. The middle of the week was harder, and I slipped up a few times and caught myself browsing social platforms — YouTube, especially. By the time my “challenge” was over, I felt rather indifferent about the whole experience. Sure, I wasn’t perfect. I use the phrase “stayed off social media” loosely. However, I did learn a lot within the week.
I realized that a lot of people misjudge social media and its value to our lives. During the week, I missed it. No, it’s not because I’m addicted or can’t help myself. It’s because I cannot seem to find a sufficient argument proving that dropping social media is a way to cleanse your life.
I did have more “free” time. I did stare at my phone less. I did see and hear less drama. I also learned less. I didn’t get to see the person praying for lost loved ones. I didn’t get to see the video of children receiving gifts for the first time. I didn’t get to see the funny video of a dog splashing in the water. I didn’t get to see my friends’ engagement photos. Sure, I was connected a little more to what’s right in front of me. But I was disconnected from the world outside of me.
So, if you are thinking about doing the “social media cleanse” fad, here’s a little tip. Instead of deleting every app, or every account, offer a true challenge and ask yourself, “how many people can I connect with today?”