I was able to do what some may consider impossible. I went on a social media cleanse for three days.
This wasn’t of my own free will and it certainly wasn’t so I could write this article. I took a few media classes for school that required a media cleanse. One class required going tech-less. No modern tech was to be used except for a car. Any other tech was to be used for education purposes only. For example, when a professor uses the projector in class. That was a true challenge. I wasn’t able to send or receive texts, make calls, or even check the time on an electronic device.
Photo: Marc Schaefer on Unsplash
Being both tech and media-less was eye opening. You notice a lot more when walking on the street without headphones in your ears and your eyes staring at a device in your palms. You notice the sunset, the birds, and may even see a squirrel.
I spent the day reading course materials and taking handwritten notes. I will fully admit to not doing much. I basically spent the time in class and doing course material because it was easiest to do with the restrictions at hand. Reading printed material was the only media technically allowed because no devices were needed except for paper which was not banned. I learned that I spent too much time on social media in class and throughout the day. While I missed some apps such as Instagram, I learned some were mentally exhausting. We spend so much time on social media that it becomes a huge habit in our lives. It felt like a relief to not have to update my Tumblr Account. I ended up deleting my account once the cleanse was over, and I have not looked back. I realized I didn’t need it in my life. It was too consuming.
After one day, I got my phone and computer privileges back, but not my social media. It suddenly became harder because the apps and websites a mere finger length away. I ended up deleting the Instagram app from my phone. Although it was just as tempting, I did not delete the Twitter app. I don’t remember my Twitter password and I did not want to reset my password for the dozenth time I left it as. Despite the social media withdrawals, my life got easier when I was able to text. I was able to communicate and make plans. So, I was able to coordinate to see friends for lunch, and take notes on my computer.
I returned to my group chat with over 200 text messages and a few dozen emails. The emails were nothing to deal with as I just deleted them. However, it became a gray area when I noticed some emails were sent as Twitter updates and “who to follow” messages. I decided that even though I could technically cheat and look at the messages within the email that I would not do it. I signed up for a social media cleanse and my grade depended on it. I am not one to give up on a grade so easily. If I can secure an A as “easy” as this one, I will get that A no matter what it takes.
In the end, I got full credit for the class and learned that it is okay to step away from the virtual world every once in a while.
Samantha is a soon to be recent graduate from Fordham University. She is a communications major and creative writing minor. When she isn’t in school or working, she can be found watching Netflix, YouTube, or coming up with ideas for new TV shows.