As an owner of an iPhone 5c, I constantly have a notification from some form of social media popping up on my screen. Whether it’s a Snapchat from one of my best friends or a notification telling me someone liked my picture on Instagram, I feel like I am always looking down at my phone.
Then I thought to myself, “What would I actually be missing if I stayed off social media for a long period of time?” So, I decided to take a 12-hour hiatus from social media. I did not view one story on Snapchat, answer one Facebook message or retweet anyone for 12 whole hours.
Taking a leave from social media was liberating. My phone wasn’t dead by 5 p.m., as it usually is every other day, and I actually listened to what was said in my classes. I wasn’t worrying about whether my clever comment on a picture got 1,000 likes, and I wasn’t checking to see who had viewed my Snapchat story.
It was great to not have to care for half a day.
When I looked at my phone, after the hours had passed, I noticed I had 22 Facebook notifications, 7 snapchats, 1 TimeHop notification and that’s about it. I barely missed anything. Obviously, social media does not play as crucial of a role in my life as I had previously believed. All but maybe three of my notifications on Facebook were irrelevant. The Snapchats I received were silly and most of them, from what I could tell, were sent to multiple other people so they weren’t even personal messages to me.
According to Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a venture capital firm, the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. That statistic is frightening to me. I should not spend that much of my time worrying about what is popping up on my iPhone or what is running across my MacBook screen.
There is so much beauty in this world that glancing at your phone 150 times a day is such a waste.
I think everyone should take a break, just for a day, from social media. Not only does it make you realize how social media isn’t crucial to your life, but it also opens your eyes to the reality that a lot of our friend groups, clubs and jobs rely too heavily on social media.
A few of the notifications I received on Facebook during my hiatus were notifications regarding events and meetings. If I had never looked at Facebook ever again, I might not have known about those.
Given, taking that 12-hour break did not encourage me to stay off social media forever, but I know now that I can live without it for a while and that turning off notifications for Facebook and Twitter can really improve my attention span in the classroom. I guess my mom was right about that all along.
I encourage you to think about how much social media you engage in every day. Is it too much? Do you feel as though it is consuming your life?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, take the challenge. What you learn could be eye-opening, and I think it’s something that can really change a person’s view on social media and society as a whole.