Pressing Pause: My Week Away From Social Media


Lilyana Kovecheva, A&L Editor

When I first came up with this idea to go social media-free, I had just finished a week filled with 20 hours of work and 2 tests on the same day. I needed some serious downtime, and I owed it to myself to have an easier week and I wanted to spend it productively and not on my phone. It seemed like an easy task, but I will admit I made a few excuses as to why I should do this.

Before deleting any apps, I wanted to make a list of what social media I have and think about which I should delete. According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, the definition of social media is “Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Fortunately, my most used apps recently were streaming platforms, so I had no issue saying goodbye to those apps if I could still binge the show I was watching.

The apps I chose to delete were Snapchat, Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook. These were the social media apps I used the most and therefore they were the ones to go. I had to keep all my networking and messaging apps because I used them daily and couldn’t afford to not use them for a week. Apps like Outlook, Gmail, Group Me, Messenger, and LinkedIn. To make myself feel less guilty I just reminded myself that this was my experiment and can create all the rules.

My first day without social media wasn’t difficult, I never thought it would. At some point during the day, I remembered a funny Tik Tok sound and grabbed my phone to look it up on the app and then remembered that I couldn’t. I found myself grabbing my phone a lot throughout the day, almost out of pure instinct, just to go to Snapchat or Tik Tok and spend my spare time scrolling through videos. At the end of the day, I did miss my nightly Tik Tok time, but I just used the extra time to go to sleep earlier.

There were times when I wanted to use Snapchat to take a picture of something (usually of my dog) and when I remembered I couldn’t do that I just took a picture of whatever the subject was, on my phone. It made me enjoy it a little bit more. No geo-tags, no filters, just a picture of whatever caught my attention enough that I wanted to keep it on my phone.

Day two was a Saturday. I decided to use the time that I would usually be wasting scrolling aimlessly, to do something else and be productive. I took my dog out for a hike and finally washed my car. It’s not that I couldn’t have done these things while I had social media on my phone, I just didn’t allow myself to get distracted by my screen.

Super Bowl Sunday fell on day three. It was easier to ignore my phone that day than any other. We had guests over and I had a marketing assignment about the commercials during the breaks. I was guilty of opening Instagram twice on that day, but I needed it so that I could look something up for a class. Is it cheating if I’m the one who makes and changes the rules?

I noticed that there were times I was more productive because I didn’t have the social media to scroll through, but I still played plenty of games and binged an episode or two here and there.

The rest of the week was essentially the same. I was more productive since I couldn’t slack off during my breaks or in class. I never truly missed having the apps, come the end of the experiment I forgot that I was able to redownload them all until someone mentioned it to me. Even then it took me a few more hours before I downloaded any apps back onto my phone.

When I checked my screen time, I was disappointed that there wasn’t much of a change between this week and the last. I realized that social media wasn’t the only issue. It’s my phone. I have too many games to feed into my ADD multitasking desire. I averaged almost 6 and a half hours a day on my phone, meaning over 40 hours a week I spend time staring at my screen. Whether it’s an email, a show, an article I’m reading, a text I’m sending; I can’t escape the issue. Nothing changed just because I deleted apps.

However, I’ve come to understand what the true issue is: our phones. There’s a power that our phones hold over us because of their ability to grant us whatever we want access to. The issue was never about my social media use. Without Snapchat and Tik Tok, I still have Candy Crush, Hulu, Spotify, and more, waiting to waste my time.

The instinct of being on our phones when we’re bored or distracted is an instinct hard to kill. Escaping my phone was easier when I didn’t have more apps to kill time with. I didn’t have rude comments to get upset with or photos to be jealous of, or time to feel unproductive and guilty for it. I still

I still don’t have Instagram or Tik Tok on my phone, I saw how they’re a gateway to be unproductive and I liked how much more I was able to achieve when I knew I couldn’t just go watch a few stories or Tik Toks. I’m hesitant to download them again, I don’t think I want to.

There’s less pressure when I’m not wasting my time looking at other people’s lives. At least with the games I play and the shows I watch, I use those apps because I want to. Not because I’m bored and have nothing to scroll through. I’m in no rush to get back to Instagram and Tik Tok, I like the silence and I like the relief of notifications not flooding my home screen.