My Facebook account, active since June 2007, has 939 friends and 840 tagged photos; my browser history shows I’ve been to 197 separate pages on Facebook in the past 24 hours alone.
My e-mail account – an amalgam of personal, school, and work e-mails – overflows at a hefty 8045 messages acquired since June 2008.
I’ve tweeted 5751 times since January 2009; I follow 254 accounts and am followed by another 363. Except for the rare occasions on which I lose my precious 4G connection, I’m pretty much glued to social media at all times.
So, what would happen when I did the unthinkable and truly disconnected for a day?
I took the plunge and went on a 24 hour social media detox: no Facebook, no e-mail, no Twitter. I planned my challenge for Wednesday, my lightest schedule of the week. With only two classes, that would leave plenty of time for #temptation. Could I hold out?
The morning went fairly smoothly. Although I wanted to check in with my various social media accounts (especially e-mail – leaving work e-mails to stagnate in my inbox for a day felt so wrong), I ignored the urge.
Without the distraction of the Internet slowing me down in the morning, I was able to cut time out of my routine and scooted out of my dorm ten minutes early. Hannah: 1, social media: 0.
During my first class, History and Art History of Rome, I was engaged in the discussion, so ignoring my phone was easy.
But my next class, a neuroscience lab, was a different story. We were dissecting sheep brains and actually encouraged by our professor to take cell phone snapshots along the way to help us remember what different sections of the brain looked like.
I was so tempted to take a picture of my friend carving into the brain with a long, sharp knife, upload it to Facebook, and tag her in it with a funny comment. My guilty conscience kicked in before I could open the app, so I put down my phone and went back to work.
After class, I wanted to grab a quick lunch before heading to the library. I put together a salad from the salad bar and sat down. At a nearby table, I noticed a girl with her iPhone in her right hand, scrolling through Facebook photos, and a sandwich in her left hand, hovering halfway between her plate and her mouth. She was so tuned into Facebook that she had yet to take a single bite.
At another table, a group of about ten friends was chatting and joking loudly. But one by one, each person had pulled out their phone – maybe to tweet a funny comment, check into the dining hall on Foursquare, or to answer an incoming text – until the table was silent.
Every single person was staring down quietly at his or her phones.
Social media purports to keep us more “connected” to each other. But is texting one friend, tweeting another, and checking your Facebook notifications actually considered socializing?
If the lunch table full of silently plugged-in friends is any indication, I’d say not.
The goal of social media is to enhance the connections you already have, not replace them entirely.
Keeping that in mind, I turned back to my lunch and enjoyed savoring my meal. A guy I recognized from one of my classes sat down next to me and struck up a conversation – and I bet it had something to do with the fact that I was easily approachable, not immersed in conversations elsewhere.
To how this detox came out, check out the complete article at HerCampus.com.
HerCampus.com is the #1 online magazine for college women with national content on Style, Health, Love, Life, and Career, supplemented by local content produced by teams of students at 175+ colleges across the country. Want to start a branch of Her Campus at your school? Apply here.
Powered by Facebook Comments