A screenshot of four social media apps with the “x” in the corner of the apps ready to be deleted. The apps from left to right are Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit Apollo, and Twitter. Under the image is the text, “I deleted social media for a week… Here’s how it went.”

I Gave Up Social Media For a Week– Here’s How It Went

By Ally Bolender
Web Content Contributor

It was the week before school started and I was sitting on my phone, scrolling mindlessly. I started to think about how often I spend time on my phone. So, I decided to delete all of my social media apps (gasp!) in hopes to make my last week of summer more productive and eventful.

I deleted Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and even Reddit, which although not technically a social media, but it is an app that I spend a lot of time scrolling on. I deleted all of these apps Saturday night, and vowed to do more with my upcoming week.

A gif of my phone in my hand and my finger clicks on the “x” above the Snapchat app, prompting the following alert, “Deleting ‘Snapchat?’”
Deleting my social media for a week. Photo by Ally Bolender.

The first thing I noticed is how often I would open my phone and, without even thinking about it, try to find an app to click on. This would result in me swiping through my screens and then putting my phone back down. This made me realize how often I go on my phone simply out of habit. It was just a mindless urge to put my attention toward something.

Deleting my social media also prevented me from scrolling before bed and when I woke up. I know I got more sleep and I got out of bed as soon as I woke up opposed to lying there for another hour.

Here is a day-by-day of my week without social media.

Sunday: I was really busy throughout my entire Sunday, so I wasn’t really picking my phone up. I rarely had to remind myself that I had deleted my social media apps.

At night, I watched a movie and it had my full attention. I never really realized how much I scroll through my phone while watching TV or movies, but it was refreshing to actually watch something without distractions.

Monday: I spent most of my Monday working on my computer and getting settled into a new apartment. While I was trying to get actual work done, I noticed I would pause in the middle of my typing and pick up my phone, only to find nothing there. It made me wonder how often I must do that when doing homework.

By night time I had gotten done everything I needed to be done, and just wanted to finish off my day with a few memes before bed, but no. This is the first time I got frustrated.

Tuesday: I started to get stir-crazy pretty soon after I woke up. I started picking up a book anytime I got the urge to scroll. However, “The Catcher in the Rye” isn’t really comparable to Twitter.

Nevertheless, I did feel like I got a lot more reading done throughout the week when I didn’t have social media. And it made me feel a lot better – like I wasn’t completely wasting my time.

Wednesday: By this point my friends are asking me to look at the meme they sent me. It hurts. Also, I kept hearing about Popeyes.

Thursday: I believed I have officially broken the habit of opening my phone for no reason. I also did a lot of fun stuff today, which I think was a result of not having multiple apps at the tip of my finger.

I did find myself wanting to take pictures and videos on Snapchat while I was out having fun, but I survived.

Friday: I felt completely fine without social media. I became accustomed to replacing it with reading books and news. However, I am looking forward to seeing what my friends have been sharing.

I never really missed or craved social media. Sure, I was bored at times, but the lack of having anything to do on my phone forced me to do things in real life. I never really post on social media either so I never had that urge to share.

I never really had FOMO either. I expected that I would miss a lot, but I didn’t really miss much. Memes come and go.

All-in-all I’d say I had a better week than usual. I felt like I lived in the moment a lot more, and I know that sounds cliche, but it’s entirely true. The stir-crazy in me made me get up off my ass and go do something with my time.

I would recommend taking a “social media detox” on any week. It will definitely open your eyes to how much you’re spending time on your phone. But I don’t think it’s necessary unless you keep your use in moderation.

Update: After I re-downloaded my apps, I got bored really easily. I didn’t even feel like going on my phone as much as I used to. But I did miss hearing that a friend had a baby, so that was a bummer. Oh, and Popeyes. I get it now.

Featured image by Ally Bolender.

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