Life without social media: Homework, conversations – even reading the news

Amy Kessler

Like so many students, I spend way too much time on social media. It ate up my free time. I barely talked to any of my friends face-to-face. I barely finished any of my homework, because I kept logging into Facebook and Twitter.
So I proposed to my editor that I would take three days without any social media, and write about it.
Here is my diary.
Sunday, Feb. 7, 9:44 a.m.
I delete Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat from my phone. Then I go to my iPad and delete Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Finally, I go to my laptop and turn on the app “Self Control” which blocks any website. I turn off every site that I could think of that might be social media.
I feel free. But I fear that it won’t last long. I don’t think I will be able to survive.
12:45 p.m.
Just got done watching five episodes of “Mad Men,” and it was absolutely terrific. I have a habit of subconsciously getting on my phone while watching Netflix, scrolling through Twitter and then catching myself, and turning it off. But this time the apps were gone. It’s so crazy how I go on my phone without me even noticing sometimes. I know wonder how much time I really take up in a day while being on social media.
12:53 p.m.
I have never realized how much I go onto social media while working on homework. I keep wanting to type in Facebook into my browser to delay the work that I am doing, but now I am stuck with doing it with no distractions. Maybe not having social media will really help me get done at a decent hour.
2:24 p.m.
In an hour and a half, I have accomplished homework that would’ve taken me four hours to complete if I would have peaked into social media. So far, I am not going into withdrawal. I do have a lot more free time. I barely know what to do with myself.
3:30 p.m.
I am having my first withdrawal. I’m sitting in my room and looking at a blank wall. I finished my homework. Now what? This is hard. Very hard.

9:10 p.m.

Just got back from hanging out with my friends at Hannah’s house. It is insane how much that we use social media. I had told them, but Hannah was automatically asking me to look at someone’s funny Snapchat story. I was like, “Ah, can’t use social media for the next couple days.”

“Oh,” she said.

So I sat there on the couch, watching my best friends play on their phones. I’m thinking, “Is that what we do when we hang out?” And I thought, “Yes that is what we do.” It is just absolutely amazing seeing how social media takes over our lives and have changed the way that we communicate with each other.

Later, we went to a fraternity fundraiser event to watch the Super Bowl. I saw so many people on their phones, texting and tweeting about the game. It’s insane seeing how many people are on it and not communicating with each other.

11:28 p.m.

I thought I would be more crabby at the end of the day. I am actually going to bed at a decent hour. I’m amazed at how content I am without social media. I actually wanted to talk with people, instead of looking down at my phone.
Monday, Feb. 8, 1:58 p.m.
I went to work from 9 to 1 p.m., just ate lunch and getting back to finishing homework. I have no stress right now, which is shocking to me.

I am calm and I feel great. Nothing is holding me back from getting my work done and it feels amazing.

11:02 p.m.

I haven’t been thinking of social media today. But I had a flashback.

In high school, I went to camp for a whole week without any form of technology. I am picturing my life without social media and how it would be so much better. People would actually communicate face-to-face.

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 10:54 a.m.

I am reading the news. Yes, you read that right. I am reading the news for once in my life and enjoying it.

I have been subscribing to the Skimm, which is an e-newsletter that tells you the news in short paragraphs. But I would always look past the newsletter and delete it.

I don’t know why I never read this. It took me less than 10 minutes to read, and I am fully caught up on things in the news. I usually get my news from Facebook because it has a sidebar of news that you can click on and it will take you to multiple news sources. But this is much better.

I think this experiment has changed my life. Yes, I know not having social media isn’t a big deal but to me it is. I’m always the one that would be on my phone and not talk to anyone. I have less stress because my homework is getting done in time, more time to do things and to actually relax after a hard day of work. I think I like this.

11:10 p.m.

I have gone all day without thinking of getting on social media.

I have 50 more minutes until I am able to have social media back, and right now I could care less if I get it back.

This experiment has honestly changed the way that I use social media. I communicate face-to-face, less stressed with school and life and I actually can get my homework done at a decent hour. I never thought the outcome of this experiment would end like this, but I am glad that my thoughts on social media have changed.

I see how social media takes over my generation and I am observant of the amount of people that are on their phones in public, with friends and walking down the esplanade.

There is so much power in such a small device.

Friday, March 19, 12:26 p.m.
About a month after finishing my social media experiment I can say that this was the best thing I could have ever done.
I still go on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Vine, but I don’t go onto Instagram anymore.  That was the app that took up most of my time. If I wasn’t on any of the other social media platforms, you would see me on Instagram. I would scroll through my feed for hours and hours and waste precious time.
I have learned a lot about myself and the way I communicate from this experiment, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.