My Social Media Cleanse Experiment
By Joy Xu
Graphic by Tess Adams
I love going on Snapchat and taking a picture of my face just to send it to all my contacts; even the ones I don’t even talk to. I love scrolling through Instagram to see what’s new with people’s lives. I love going on TikTok to laugh at different 30-second videos over and over again. I love hearing the little notification when it’s time to take my BeReal and seeing the amount of reactions I get before the next notification. Every day, the first thing I do when I wake up, and the last thing I do before I fall asleep is pick up my phone and scroll through my socials. Of course; isn’t that what we all do?
This past school week, I deleted all of my socials. Here’s my experience:
I can’t even stress enough how hard the first day was. I was worried: what if people stop reacting to my BeReals? Or what if I miss out on an inside joke on TikTok? Not only was I suffering from this social media FOMO, but I also found myself (much more than once) picking up my phone out of habit to open up Snapchat, only to remember after a while of looking for the app on my home screen that this was my “cleanse week.” I realized that I never actually went on any of my social media apps consciously, I just opened my phone and clicked on them mindlessly because it was such a habitual act of mine for so long.
Throughout the week, I never seemed to get over this, but things got easier for me when I realized how much I was benefiting from refraining. I did every act or process almost two times faster than normal. In the morning, I didn’t use my phone in between washing my face and doing my makeup; times when I’d normally watch some TikToks. The little time frames when I’d pick up my phone, the times I used as “filler” in between my schedule, were completely nullified without my social medias. With no “filler,” I had no choice but to keep doing my routine with no stops and found so much extra time on my hands, whereas I’d usually be overwhelmed with the amount of schoolwork that I never seemed to have enough time to finish. However, I didn’t know what to do with this newfound and almost uncomfortable amount of free time; this weird feeling of boredom. Though I did find myself playing little phone games more, I also spent this time extra going to the gym. I slept longer. I called my family. I was so bored that I cleaned my room. But, every time, I felt good. Doing these things made me feel good, and maybe this is pretentious, but I felt more alive. I was living my life in the times that I would have normally been on social media.
Reflecting now on this past week, social media is so entertaining and is a dangerously quick and easy way to always busy your mind. But, sometimes it’s better to clear your mind instead; to be so bored you do something that really makes you feel good.