“One flick of the finger, followed by another flick, and another. We often find ourselves subconsciously scrolling through social media apps and not actively digesting the content,” wrote Anish Bhanot.
We check our phones and social media throughout the day. We look at it when we are bored, waiting in line for something, or whenever we feel like it. Many people don’t want to admit that they spend most of their lives on social media. Sometimes it happens to us without expecting it but most of the time it happens gradually. Just like every other addiction. You don’t see it until it’s too late.
This week I did a digital detox from Instagram and my Apple Watch. Before the detox started and I was trying to decide what I wanted to give up for five days was hard. I kept thinking about the apps that I used the most on a daily basis and I had narrowed it down to Snapchat and Instagram. I finally decided to do Instagram and the detox began.
The first day of the detox was the hardest. I never actually opened the app, but I hovered over the app seven times. It was muscle memory to go to there whenever I needed to fill time. I realized that when I didn’t open my Instagram app, I opened Pinterest instead. This made me realize that I was just replacing one social media app for another. However, when I was on Pinterest I never spent more than five minutes on it because I didn’t get lost in the infinite scroll. I checked my wrist once on the first day. It was weird, because I knew I wasn’t wearing it but I wanted to check the time, so I slowly moved my sweater sleeve up to look at my watch. But as I was doing the motion I realized I wasn’t wearing my watch, but I still finished moving my sleeve before I told myself that I was being stupid.
The second day was easier. I hovered over the app twice but never opened it. Again, I just opened Pinterest instead. On the second day I was having a conversation with someone and they asked me a question and I was I knew I had the answer but the answer was on Instagram so I had to politely tell them that I can’t go on Instagram to find the answer so they would have to ask someone else. That was definitely a first for me. I never realized how much information I actually receive from Instagram until that moment. I used to think that I would just scroll and like pictures but I learned that for a lot of the organizations I am in they post informational flyers on there for everyone to see.
The third, fourth and fifth day were easy. I did not open or even hover over the app. I realized that I could easily not go onto the app or have to worry about missing something because everyone else was telling me what was happening, or I would have to ask people and they would give me the information I needed. I made me be more social in the physical aspect of talking to individuals. I did not even look at my wrist after the first day. I did not get any phantom vibrations and I looked at my phone less and less.
“Our love for social media seems to have grown and grown in the past decade,” wrote Sarah Marsh from The Guardian.
This entire detox made me realize that I don’t need social media. I don’t need Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook but I want them. I want to stay connected to the world, I want to know what is happening with the friends I have around the globe.
“Apps like Instagram are blind – or almost blind. Their gaze goes nowhere except inwards, reluctant to transfer any of their vast powers to others, leading them into quiet deaths. The consequence is that web pages outside social media are dying,” wrote Hossein Derakhshan.
I agree with what Derakhshan is saying, that social media is taking over. If a website doesn’t have an app then it will fade away. Applications for phones are main way for my generation and the generation following mine is receiving its information.
Overall, this detox made me realize that there is no need to be obsessed with social media. There is life outside of apps.