I never really realized how much I checked my Facebook and Instagram until I gave it up for a week. I typically only use social media on my phone for news updates, to check up on friends (OK, and a few frenemies) and post photos of my darling daughter – because I know that’s all my friends really care about seeing, right?
I recently read a Facebook post from a fellow mom who said her biggest regret as a new parent was spending too much time on social media in the early days, and not enough time soaking in all the ‘little moments’ with her baby.
Hmmm, I hope I didn’t do that? Did I do that? There’s no way I did that. Well, I decided to pull the trigger and give up social media for a week to see just how much I depend on it. Here’s how it went.
I deleted it all. Bye bye Facebook, Instagram and Marco Polo. Marco Polo is an app I use to communicate with friends (some more than others). It’s basically an app that allows you to send video messages back and forth – yes, it’s not technically social media but it’s something that consumed my time so I gave it the cut. Throughout the day I caught myself picking up my phone to check FB and IG - I really hadn't realized how much of a habit it had become. And to be honest, I didn’t like the feeling of that dependancy. I took photos of my daughter and felt bummed that I couldn’t share them with the ‘world’, BUT at the end of the day I felt accomplished.
I got this. Wait, I don’t got this. I got an email with a Facebook notification about a post I was tagged in and I clicked on it without thinking. It’s second nature! It's that post that makes me realize that I’ve forgotten a friend's birthday, and the only reason I remember it is because of this FB notification. Oops. I then see a really annoying political post and I deleted that ‘friend’ and I get back on track right away. Not only did I break the rules, it becomes apparent how much I depend on social media for birthday and event reminders. I missed two more birthdays that week. Did I mention I’m horrible with dates? It also becomes apparent how annoying Facebook is - or at least how annoying people are.
Days Three and Four
I become more and more irritated with people around me on their phones ALL THE TIME. Maybe I didn't notice it before because...I was on my phone too. Basically, I’m instantly judgmental and question why I checked my FB and IG so often. The only thing I truly miss is the Marco Polo app. Video messaging is way easier than texting - but I do acknowledge that I totally get sucked into it.
Days Five and Six
Pretty much the same as day three and four. I keep myself busy with work and baby. I do feel out of the loop...and I don't mind it. The urge is still there to check my social channels, but not strong enough to cave.
My last day of being social media free! On this final day I attended a birthday party and take approximately 459,000,0000,000 photos...and was totally disappointed that I couldn’t share them with my ‘friends’. I mean, how on earth will people know how cool and fun my life is?!!! Kidding - kind of. I was definitely feeling the itch to share my experience and see all the cute kid pics from fall festivities my friends were partaking in. I felt like I was right back at Day One.
Ugh, did I even learn anything at all?
Yes I did. Here's the takeaway. The first two days were tough but then it was pretty easy (minus missing Marco Polo). But to be 100 percent honest and transparent, as soon as my time was up I totally sent a Marco Polo video message to my bestie. But you know what REALLY happened when I quit FB and Insta? NOTHING. The earth didn't fall of its axis. I lived, and to be honest - I was happier.
I realized that I had become completely dependent on social media for daily reminders of birthdays, social events and honestly the majority of my news intake. Laying in bed at night getting sucked into the rabbit-hole of scrolling through Instagram pics has become part of my routine. Posting non-stop pictures of my kiddo has become a regular part of my day.
Social media has some great perks, but too much of it can be really detrimental. Through this experience, I've made the decision to give myself rules. No more scrolling all night looking at pictures of 'influencers' while feeling bad about my body and having a serious case of FOMO because I'm not currently island-hoping in Greece. No more looking at exes or people that aren't really my friends. Most importantly, setting a time restriction for myself so I can spend my quality time doing things I really love - like looking at my actual daughter instead of looking at pictures of my daughter. Talking with my husband, family and friends - in person. More living in the moment without documentation.
But let me be honest, my newsfeed will remain full of baby pics - I just can't give that up.