I stand in a crowded room looking at the faces of those who surround me. Each face is consumed by the device in hand, which illuminates their face with a slightly fluorescent glow. They seems oblivious to those around them, aside from the occasional comment to their neighbor, perhaps about how many likes they got on their last Instagram or something they posted on their Snap chat story.
These types of experiences seemed to be increasingly apparent in my life. Note, this was a few months ago, I have been meaning to write this post for a while and haven’t got around to it. Back to my train of thought: This consumption of digital media was starting to bother me, not only because my close friends seemed to be devouring an unhealthy amount of social media, but because I noticed that I used social media more than I would like.
At this point is was late November, and I remembered something that my friend Stockton had challenged me to do the previous December. Stockton challenged me and most of our friends to take the month of December and be free of social media: delete everything from our phones and wait till the month is over. I remember I completed the challenge, and it was fairly rewarding thing to complete.
So I remembered this challenge and decided it was something I really wanted to do again. I knew it wouldn’t be very hard, but I wanted to make sure that I could do it, I wanted to make sure that Social Media wasn’t an addiction for me like it is for some other people. That wasn’t the only reason though, I was probably spending 30 minutes to even an hour on social media daily and I realized it was a huge waste of time as well. I decided that if I could take the time that I would normally use social media and use it to learn knew things, help people, or focus more on my schoolwork, that I would be far happier and more productive.
I texted most of my friends. I sent them out a text telling them what I was doing and told them they should do it too. (I think only one of my friends pulled through and completed it however haha). I completed the challenge. It wasn’t very hard. I mostly noticed advantages in my life, but I did notice a few downsides I guess. Here they are:
More Time: This one wasn’t a surprise and I expected it. But I definitely had more time to do productive things. One thing I did was learn some music. My music career before then consisted of me quitting piano when I was 12 and that was about it. I picked up my sisters ukulele and guitar and started learning those with some of the extra time I now had. I ended up learning some songs and chords, which eventually led to me getting more into the guitar which I now enjoy quite a bit and feel like i’m alright at. I also picked up the piano again. I learned a few songs of YouTube, just memorizing the notes that they played and trying to play by ear. It was much more fulfilling then scrolling through an Instagram feed. I also committed myself to do more religious study, I tried to study 30 minutes I night, which I still do.
Stopped worrying about friends and crap: This was something that surprised me that I wasn’t expecting. I realized that I stopped caring what other people were doing. There are often times on social media when I’ll be scrolling through my feed and looking at what everyone else is doing. Its easy to get caught up trying to be ‘cool’. I remember times when I’d see things people were doing and feel left out or lame. Without social media on my phone I stopped caring whether my friends were hanging out without me or whatever. I didn’t care if I didn’t do anything with people, I spent more time with my family and I was ok with it.
More aware of those around me: This was something I tried to do before hand but I noticed I did it even less without social media on my phone. I absolutely hate when you are hanging out with a friend or a group of friends and everyone is all on there phone or checking it quite often. I am guilty of this too. Its hard to resist the urge to check your phone when you feel the buzz. It was weird at first having like zero people texting me or contacting me, so there was never any thing to check my phone for. At first I would catch myself checking my phone for no reason, but I eventually stopped all together and it was really nice. I noticed when I was with my family I was more aware of them instead of being on my phone more then i’d like.
Out of the Loop: This is really the only disadvantage I recognized happening and I didn’t expect it. I noticed that when hanging out with friends that I wasn’t super close to I was much more disconnected and out of the loop, I really didn’t know what to talk about, or whats been going on. This wasn’t a huge disadvantage, but it was definitely frustrating at times.
So overall it was a great experience for me and I think if you want to try it you should. It is definitely rewarding to break bad habits and prove to yourself that you can exert some self control.
didn’t think this would be so frickin long but ah well