Junior fails to stay off social media for three days

January 22, 2017 — by Julia Miller

For this segment of “Can You?” my editors challenged me to stay off of all social media applications for three days.

To be clear, I did not volunteer for this assignment but was dragged into it by the pleas of junior Claire Rhee, one of the paper’s Lifestyles section editors.

It all started on a Thursday morning during winter break. I felt my heart break four times as I watched apps Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter disappear from my home screen. After they were gone, I just stared at the now incomplete array of apps. “What do I do now?” I thought. I was marveled at what to do next, since social media probably occupies me three hours daily.

Regardless of any situation, I put on Netflix and consequently binge-watched an entire season of “Supernatural” all day. I began to rely heavily on other people for distractions and stayed up texting my friends until 3 a.m. After having sat through a day of Netflix and texting, I was proud of myself. However, I would soon learn the social media deprivation was only going to get harder.

I was lucky for the second day, for I was occupied by an all-day walking tour for U.S. History in San Francisco. At every sight we stopped at, I had this instinctive urge to open Snapchat and post a picture to my story, but I was soon reminded not to, realizing that the yellow ghost had disappeared from my lock screen. As I watched my best friend, junior Gina Hinojosa, snap videos of us riding cable cars and take artsy pictures of the Grand Cathedral at the top of Nob Hill, I felt a bit out of place.

It wasn’t until the third day that I felt the strongest impact to living without social media. Eventually, I grew bored of sitting in my bed all day watching Netflix. I wanted to know what my favorite celebrities were wearing or doing, and I felt disconnected from the world I had become so accustomed to being a part of. I missed out on Selena Gomez’s return to her 106 million followers on Instagram after months of her absence and  the notification that my favorite YouTubers had posted new videos for me to watch.

Then the craziest thing happened. I was awoken from my slumber at 6 a.m. and had the strong desire to redownload every single one of my social media apps back onto my phone. I tossed and turned for many minutes, until I convinced myself that it had been long enough and technically the challenge was over.

So, I splurged and excitedly downloaded all the social media apps back and watched each one load with a longing I had never felt before. At 6:30 a.m., I sat up in my bed for an hour as I went through all my apps, the bright light of my phone blinding my eyes. But I didn’t care; I had my social media back.

Though I was six hours shy of completing the challenge, I learned that social media has become such a huge part of my life, and its absence affects me. This challenge was mentally crippling, and I would never wish it upon any social media lover.