Out of the loop

Stephen Young

Social media plays a prominent role in my life. I am constantly on Snapchat and Instagram throughout the day. When agreeing to deleting all social media for a full week, I thought it would be a walk in the park at first. However, after about an hour, I realized just how much I use these two apps. Snapchat is an important social media platform that I constantly use because it is my main form of communication. 95% of the time if I need to contact somebody, I will use Snapchat to do so. Instagram is where I find all of my news. I follow dozens of accounts that feed me daily news in regards to current events, sports, and music. Without these two apps, I quickly realized how out of the loop I would be for seven days.

The first day was one of the hardest for me. Several times throughout the day, I found myself turning on my phone and looking for the Instagram app. After the first day, I noticed several habits that I had formed due to my use of social media. For example, I realized how much time I spent on my phone at lunch as opposed to actually talking to the people around me. Without social media, I had basically nothing to do at lunch besides talk to people, which was a somewhat difficult task because everyone else was on their phones. When I got home during my first day without social media, I was able to start my homework immediately instead of sitting at my desk and scrolling through Instagram for 15 minutes before I start my homework. Also, while doing my homework, I was far more productive without my phone constantly distracting me. I had around the same amount of homework I usually receive that day; however, I was able to finish it roughly 45 minutes earlier than I usually would without repeatedly distracting myself with Instagram and Snapchat.

The next few days were similar. I still found myself going on my phone, not doing anything on it, and then turning it back off. I continued to finish my homework sooner as well as falling asleep at an earlier time. Despite these positives, I continued to notice the many negatives of deleting social media. A couple times during the school week, I had questions regarding homework; however, I was unable to reach certain people because I only had their Snapchat instead of their phone numbers. This was one of the few times during my seven days where I was desperate to redownload Snapchat, but I was able to overcome my desire and stick with the experiment.

The first five days were overall pretty easy. I had school, homework, and basketball to keep me busy throughout the day. Now the hard part came, which was the weekend. Throughout the day Saturday, I found myself to be very bored. Without Snapchat, my communication with my friends throughout the day was limited, and with the loss of Instagram, I missed out on College Football highlights. When I was with my friends Saturday night, “Look at what I sent on the group chat,” was a phrase I heard countless times. However, since the group chat was on Snapchat, I missed out and had no clue what my friends were talking about. This also occurred several times throughout the week, and I felt isolated when it happened. Sunday was a mixture of both the school week and Saturday. At times I felt bored and isolated. At the same time, I was productive when doing my homework.

While doing this experiment, I found that I used social media way more than I thought I did. Over the course of the seven days, I constantly found myself going on my phone to check Instagram and Snapchat, only to remember that I had deleted both apps. The thing that I struggled with the most was being unable to check Instagram and updating myself with the daily news. For a full week, I fell behind on current events, sports highlights, communication, and of course, memes.