A Week Without Social Media – How I Coped After Deleting Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram Off My Phone
One week and roughly 7 hours ago I deleted all the social media apps on my phone – that means Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram. So why did I do this? We went away on holiday last Sunday, to stay with family in Poole, and I decided I wanted to be completely off the grid, at least from a social media standpoint anyway. So why couldn’t I just not check them whilst I was away, that would be less drastic, wouldn’t it? In an ideal world yes, but I’m somewhat addicted to the aforementioned social media accounts, and if they are on my phone I’d be checking them. Addiction is a serious word, and I don’t use it lightly, but I do believe it’s the right one, or at least I did when I deleted them.
So how did it go? Actually, a damn sight easier than I thought it would be. I’m not sure if it was because in holiday mode, and spent much of the day on the beach, and evenings at restaurants with family, or whether the perceived addiction was just an indication that I need to be more productive with my spare time. On a couple of occasions I did think “ooh, that would make a good tweet, or that should be something I could take a photo of and put on Instagram”, but they were very fleeting thoughts and not something that I was disappointed not to be able to do. I didn’t actually take my phone to the beach, so was without it from mid-morning until mid to late afternoon, so maybe that was cheating a bit. However, when I did have it in the evenings I didn’t have the urge to check for updates on social media. In fact, I didn’t delete the apps from my iPad which I also took with me, but not once was I tempted to open them.
I could very well have missed out on something very important, but would that really be the case? I kept abreast of the news, a bit, and all my family members have my phone number, so they could have called and texted me, as some did. Importance is relative and any happenings on social media don’t really impact the world in any productive way, not in the circles I exist anyway. One interesting observation is just how much people rely on social media to communicate with one another, as it was my birthday the day after I deleted all the apps, and only one friend texted to wish me happy birthday, and she knew I had deleted the apps. To be fair, when I log back on to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, there could well be a bunch of birthday messages there.
I do rely on Twitter and Facebook, in particular, to keep up with the activities of singers and bands I like, but that’s not something I need to check every day, or every hour if I’m being completely honest. What I don’t miss is that constant need to see if anyone has reacted to what I’ve posted. That’s a flaw in the way I think and one that needs addressing, so social media is probably not a healthy environment for me to be around in the first place.
Will I go back to them? I kind of need to as I use them to spread the word about the activities of Dedicated to DLP, and do still want gig updates for the aforementioned musicians. Can I decrease my time using them, and dependence on interactions? Time will tell, but this week of cold turkey did categorically prove that without them I didn’t suffer at all. In fact my son will tell you it was a very positive experience, as I spent more time playing with him and less time checking my phone.
At the time of publishing this article, I have not yet installed any of the social media accounts back into my phone, and I’m quite anxious about doing so. The irony is that you’ll most probably only be reading this now if I have logged back in and shared this article on them. (EDIT: 3 hours later… or I still haven’t added the apps back to my phone and share this on Facebook and Twitter using my laptop)