I have a major problem: I love social media. I waste so much time on social media each day, and it’s a nasty habit. It causes me to miss real interactions and instead focus with on ones that are not so real, and have no true value. Facebook is my preferred vice of choice because I get so sucked into articles and videos—before the Super Bowl I probably watched over an hour of Eagles videos a day. I needed a cleanse, a break: to show myself, and all other social media addicts out there, that there is more to life than being artificially connected to other people. 

I found that there were points when I was with my friends and they were looking at social media so I didn't really have anything to “do.” First of all, this is GROSS that I was spending time with my friends and we were still all tied up on social media. I ended up downloading the New York Times app on my phone, and boy did I get a lot of use out of this. I ended up reading these articles everyday, and it was amazing. This is why I came to Penn—not to sit around looking at Instagram or Tasty videos while hanging out with friends, but to talk about housing projects in Chicago, the crazy rollercoaster of a stock market, and the importance of the Olympics in world affairs. I was using my time on my phone more efficiently and productively, even though I would have preferred to not be on my phone at all. 

By the end of the week I not only found that I myself was looking at my phone less and less, but also that it had an impact on my friends. While at dinners, we stopped talking about Instagram or Facebook posts. Because I didn’t have access to these things, I couldn't talk about them, so my friends weren’t talking about them either. 

Photo: Reese Berman

While I sometimes wonder about the notifications I might have when I redownload Snapchat and Facebook, I honestly don’t really feel like I missed anything. I am a HUGE Eagles fan, so not having social media during arguably the biggest week in Eagles history was big. But I found that I could experience all of the hype and excitement more than if I was worried about how I was going to capture it for social media. When I went to the parade, I didn't have my phone out the entire time; there was nothing I needed to see besides my friends and the excitement that radiated through Philadelphia. 

Although I kind of dreaded this detox, it was something that I needed. I was able to show myself that I was not only able live without memes (honestly it's debatable because I do love memes) and Snapchat stories, but I actually was happier without them. This little experiment has really opened my eyes to how social media is really not all it's cracked up to be and honestly, I can’t decide now if I even want to redownload all of my apps.  

I would encourage everyone to do this at some point. I felt that it ended up being a truly healthy break from something that can consume our entire lives without us even knowing it. Although there are many perks to using social media, there are also a lot of downfalls. Take a break, go outside or read a book, and remember that there is more to life than likes on an Instagram post.