Last Friday (the first Friday in March), was the National Day of Unplugging, an observance created by the Reboot Network that is dedicated to unwinding and unplugging from the technology that infiltrates every day of modern life.
While I’m not partaking in the practice today, last week I tried to do the impossible: go a week without social media. While technology isn’t just centered around the likes of Snapchat and Facebook, it is an indisputable fact that these apps have come to have an overwhelming presence in our lives.
Whether it’s waiting for the subway, passing time on the porcelain throne, or drunkenly barhopping with girlfriends, newsfeeds and caches are being scrolled for miles.
The issue arises when the pastime takes up all your time. But with any addiction, the first step is realization, and the need for Social Media Addicts Anonymous.
Picture an AA meeting, but instead of sipping the shitty coffee to distract from a craving for whiskey, everyone is fighting the urge to Instagram the donuts.
My name is Breffni Neary, and I have a social media addiction.
The cure? Go cold turkey.
The result? Withdrawals are a bitch. I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t survive the week without dog filters and hashtags. I made it four days. Judging me? I triple dog dare you to try it.
Day 1: Tuesday
The first day I had a false sense of security. I felt pious as I sat on the 6 train with a book in hand, silently judging everyone who were entranced with their phones.
I opened my laptop, but still resisted the urge to check the echo chamber known as Facebook. I didn’t delete the apps, so I felt increasing pride as I ignored the 20 app notifications that popped up on my phone.
I went to sleep feeling like I could conquer anything.
Day 2: Wednesday
Yeah, that whole security thing? Definitely fake.
Wednesday is the day I pretend to be a real adult and work in an office. As you can assume, it is very, very dull. Filing is expectedly boring, but without cute bathroom mirror selfies or snaps of dogs from my friend, a dog sitter, the day was endless.
I would pick up my phone every time it buzzed with a notification, and had trouble putting it down.
When I got on the train to return home, there was a character that all New Yorkers know: the old man with the purple bear who wears rainbow rags. I thought he was an urban legend, and immediately wanted to put up a picture and caption it “Only in #NYC.” But I didn’t.
Later, as I completed an analysis on Federalist essays (DULL), I cracked, slightly. I opened all 30 of the Snaps waiting for me, but did not respond, nor check any stories.
Day 3: Thursday
In response to my faux pas, I deleted all the apps to remove temptation. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to post a picture of my yoga studio. If you work out and don’t take a picture of it, did it even happen? But I carried on.
Later, friends sent group photos in our group chat, and I had a serious case of FOMO. I quickly text “Cuuuute. Thanks for the invite btw,” throwing in just enough shade, and a friend quickly responded, “I snapped you about it hours ago!!”
I told them that I was trying to live without social media, and in seconds I got six texts that simply read “RIP.”
Day 4: Friday
I was annoyed about missing out on the group thing, but then I realized how stupid it was. Friendships can carry on without the presence of social media. After talking with a friend, who gave up Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter weeks ago, I felt reinvigorated.
I felt a little disconnected when two friends were talking about a new meme, but I knew it could be worse. I wasn’t missing the apps and was amazed at how long my phone battery was lasting.
I spent a lot of time people watching, and saw things I had never noticed on my walk to the train. It was all going well, that is, until wine night started. Yeah, I’m one of those.
While alcohol makes some people slutty, it instead makes me snap-happy. The streak died after the third glass, just as new Snapchat streaks were starting. RIP my willpower.[Feature Image Courtesy webcanopystudio]