Madeline’s Week Without Social Media: A Maddening Break From Social Media

Features Editor, Madeline, and her views on our week without social media

Madeline Tiedt, Features Editor

Going into this cleanse I was pretty excited about taking a step away from everything and I thought it would be a super restorative and relaxing experience. This excitement lasted about the first 30 minutes of Monday. 

This was Madeline’s screen time report from the week before the challenge. (Madeline Tiedt)

After that, it got increasingly more annoying. I would pick up my phone, my thumb would hover over a social media app, and then I’d remember I couldn’t go on it so I’d just put my phone down. This happened a lot in the first couple of days. When I was bored I’d reach for my phone and then realize I couldn’t go on the apps I wanted to.

I quickly found different ways to keep myself busy. Other than doing my school work, of course, I was looking for other things to do on my phone besides playing the same games over and over again. So, I dedicated time to clearing out several gigabytes of storage on my phone so I could finally update it. That only took me a day or two, unfortunately, and I was still left to figure out what to do with myself.

This was Madeline’s screen time report from the week of the challenge. (Madeline Tiedt)

I found myself feeling really disconnected from everything despite still being able to text. Not all of my friends text all that much, to begin with, so it was hard to get much out of them. However, some of my friends got creative, physically texting me Snapchats or memes since I couldn’t see them otherwise. Sometimes it was hard to think about things to talk about and so conversations ended even though I was still wanting to talk to someone. With social media, I never have that problem because I can always send another meme on Instagram or send a random Snapchat of whatever I’m doing at that moment.

 I also felt very uninformed about what was happening in the world, as I usually turn to Twitter to get news updates. I tried to supplement this by reading articles on my news app. I even sat down and tried to watch the news from time to time, but that proved to be quite stressful hearing a bunch of politics and coronavirus updates so I stopped trying to keep up.

On the whole, I think I ended up feeling less attached to my phone during this time. I didn’t always have to have it next to me because there wasn’t a ton for me to do on it. Granted, I spent this whole week texting all of my friends constantly, but even then it did not seem urgent that I always have it on me. 

However, I did find myself thinking about what I might be missing by not being on social media. I think that FOMO is certainly real and it’s definitely something I struggled with. Despite all of this, I still think it was a rewarding experience – being able to stay off social media for an entire week without breaking – and I would definitely recommend a cleanse to anyone who’s feeling like they need a break.