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Surviving Without Social Media: One Month Challenge, Week 3


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IT’S GETTING EASIER. Finally. I’m no longer feeling that constant need to check Twitter or Instagram. I have no Facebook-related FOMO. This feels like success.

Sure, now and again I still get the urge to look through heavily filtered photos/upload my own. The other day I successfully color-coded my bookshelf, which is definitely Instagram-worthy, and it was tough not to reach for my phone. My friend and I met a really cute dog at a pub, and its owners told us to look them up on Instagram. It is near impossible to resist Instagram when you know there’s a wealth of videos and photos of an adorable Pomeranians waiting for you once you open up that app. But I did it.

Being without social media has made me very aware of our general dependency on these sites. Suddenly I’m noticing how often my friends say “Did you see my Instagram post?” or “You probably already saw my tweets, but…”, and feel significantly more awkward when someone pulls out their phone to scroll their feeds.

I’ve also started to realize that, more often than not, Facebook just causes problems rather than benefiting lives in any actual way. My boyfriend’s ex added him on Facebook this month, a move which has no real-world alternative but still managed to cause a lot of real-world confusion and complication. Was it an empty gesture? What does it really mean to ask someone to be your Facebook friend? Why do we read so much meaning into clicks of buttons and pixels on a screen? I’ve started thinking back over stories of secret Facebook flirting, inappropriate Twitter followers, catching out significant others for liking someone’s selfie on Instagram. Social media was meant to come into our lives and make it easier, better, more fun. Instead it just feels empty, strange gestures intended to reveal what we’re secretly feeling, but that just end up being misread.

I’m not saying that this one month challenge is making me swear off social media for life – I work in digital media, I need to be on top of Twitter and checking out fashion from the front row on Instagram – but it’s definitely making me step back a little and prompting me to reconsider how these websites actually add to my life. Do I really get any joy from scrolling feeds? Do I learn anything? Do I become a better person? Maybe that time would be better spent reading, or running outside, or calling a friend.

Three weeks in, I feel inspired. I’m going to trade in empty gestures for something meaningful. No more relying on Facebook messages to keep in touch, I’m going to make plans with friends. I’m swapping mindless Twitter use for time dedicated to catching up on current events. Instagram? There are plenty of cute ducklings in the park near my house.

Check in next week to find out what else I’m learning from a month without Social Media, and

Click here to read Week One

and Week Two of this month’s challenge¬†

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Born, raised, and living in London, Ellen balances a life filled with reading an excessive number of books, attempting to do Pilates, and writing for Cosmopolitan UK alongside CollegeCandy. Contact me: @twitter