30 Day No Social Media Challenge
Starting from the first week of February, I experimented with myself not to use social media for a month. And today, after a month, I am writing this post.
It’s not for the first time that I was abstaining myself from Social media. In the past, there were some external factors and circumstances pushing me to deactivate or stay away from social media. This time, it was all about testing my self-commitment and making the best out of social media time into something productive.
However, it seemed too tough than I thought it’d be. Unlike past experiences which were driven by the external excuses, this time it was more of a self-centric decision. Maybe that’s the reason why this social media hibernation became a challenging one more than I thought.
But I love Challenges! I thought of challenging the CHALLENGE itself 😉
And that’s how I came up with “30 days No Social Media Challenge”. Whenever we say challenge, it is referred to as competing with someone else. But when I mention challenge, it’d be with myself unless specified. So 30 days No Social Media Challenge was a challenge with myself. I decided to refrain myself from social media and experiment on myself.
Overall Experience of Not Using Social Media
For the first few days, the imaginary messages bubbling in my head, visualization of instantly gratifying red colored notifications, compulsively scrolling news feed, a thousand and one anticipations of what might have happened in the virtual world were haunting me.
Later on, the mind was shifting towards productive and more meaningful thoughts which helped me get over time killing, less productive and addictive activity called social media.
Here’s the breakdown of how things went on a daily basis;
Logged out of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. Cleared the browsing data so that the saved passwords of these platforms would be removed as well.
And here’s begins the first day of not using Social Media.
During the whole day, I was out of the internet and so it was completely fine for me not to think of using Social Media. I had no temptation of using Facebook or scrolling through the feeds of Insta at all. However, in the morning, I had a powerful urge for using it. Maybe I should log back into my Facebook account and see what the responses were in my recent share of the blog post was what I thought during that time.
Craving for Social Media and Instant Gratification
Somehow I was able to control that feeling. But again, another part of the mind was pushing me to make excuses and let everything be. Fuck it and use it! Who cares?
– No, I have made the commitments and it’s for me.
– Postpone it for today and start it again from tomorrow.
– That’s what I have been telling myself for a long time now.
– Just TODAY Bro!
– Come on bro! You need not think too much… Plus, you’ve not publicly mentioned this to people as well. Go ahead and fulfill the dopamine crisis for now. Rest will be taken care of. Like I mentioned above, start your commitment from tomorrow.
– Maybe you’re right….(suddenly)…but my commitment? I am not going to discard it. At least not for now.
Sounds too dramatic, right? Yes of course! But it’d not have been so if I hadn’t such a long inner conflict and agreed to log in the first place. This is how I came out of that sudden rush of craving for social media at that particular instance.
Nevertheless, I asked for my friend’s phone and saw what’s there through his account. NOTHING really! Returned his phone and it’s completely okay. The world hadn’t turned upside down just because I was not using Facebook.
After reading some of the articles on medium, I am done for reading part of the day. Done with watching videos from subscription list on YouTube as well. Watched a few from “watch later” section as well. Now came the time of impatience. Thoughts like; what am I supposed to do now?, which site should I go now? were constantly hovering around.
Further reading: Good habits to follow and bad habits to avoid!
Even before sleeping, I thought of forgetting and ignoring the commitment and doing whatever I want to do. But again, I reminded myself that this is how I develop habits. RESISTANCE is the key! 🙂
Day one successfully completed. *A big SMILES*
What I observed about myself:
I used to have multiple tabs with music/video, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora and many more all at once. I couldn’t focus on a particular site at a time. Today, I watched the video even the ones including interviews. I was more focused than before and committed to only one task at a time; watching videos and nothing else.
I was out of reach of the internet the whole day and so I didn’t have the temptation to use social media. It’s easier for me not to have an urge in using Social Media during the day because I don’t use the phone with such features 😀
After meeting Sisan dai, Narayan dai, and a few others, we clicked some pictures. For a moment I thought, maybe I should get back to social media and posts those pictures. Met some more amazing people. But it just lasted for sometime.
Day 3, 4, 5 went by…. Nothing really that were intriguing.
IYMS PSA Screening Day
It was a great morning spent with the students at Canvas International College. There was a girl who I found was very inspiring. It wouldn’t be too glorified if I say her proactive discussion, thought process, humble and keen attitude made my day. How she was able to connect the issue of youth empowerment, Miss Nepal, social work and then career and following passion and meaning of life and then expectations from family and what not.
We had shared IYMS’s social media platforms and asked the students to contact us through those details. I was wondering what queries had come and who responded to them. Wanted to go through it but again COMMITMENT!
Missing Social Media
It’s not that I didn’t miss social media at all. As a person who’s interested in continuous conversation with people, I missed them quite a lot. At times, I felt like if I was missing the dots in my life. I did miss the sound of message popup and the notifications. I also had a feeling of anxiety about what people might have posted on their profiles. Not much of how many likes did my post get but certainly how the interactions specially the meaningful interactions have gone.
Sometimes I was worried about the people who’re trying to communicate with me. Were they expecting me to be online? That was haunting me time and often.
I am on the beginning of the third week of 30 days No Social Media Challenge. Got back to Kathmandu from our more than a week long trip to Pokhara, Chitwan and then trek to Mardi Himal. I had some amazing pictures and stories that could well fit into Instagram posts and Facebook Statuses. But they’re well encrypted into my diary and laptop. Without validation from any other people, I love those pictures and whenever I see them, I fall in love with them more than ever.
If there’s one thing I have learned about Sharing posts on Social Media after taking this challenge is; I don’t need to share with other people and collect as many likes as possible to validate something I really like. They already are beautiful and someone’s opinion doesn’t make them more beautiful than they actually are.
Further reading: Mardi Himal Trek- 2019!
I started taking short walks during my free time. Whenever, I was free I walked to Pashupatinath temple or Boudhanath temple. My happiness level increased considerably. I was more focused on reading books, writing diaries, studying articles about the things I didn’t know existed and things as such.
Initially, I used to wonder what could have been the comments and responses to my posts. Later on, I used to wonder what posts might have come up in my newsfeed. Honestly, all these things don’t matter.
If anyone had to talk/communicate with me, they would call me on my phone. If there’s nothing urgent, they wouldn’t. It’s as simple as that.
Social Media and the reasons why they’re addictive.
One of the most important reasons why we’re driven towards Social Media is because they’re negatively driven. And Human minds are easily attracted to negativity. Social media are designed with the idea where people are compelled to spend more time on it. They want their audience to watch more, click more and scroll more.
Social Media is as addictive as smoking, alcohol and any other drugs. If you ask a chain smoker if he can quit smoking cigarettes for a week, his response most probably would be: YES, of course, I can. But he doesn’t want to. Why? Because he is addicted. Even though he feels like he has control over the cigarettes, he doesn’t and he can’t quit it for a week. Same is the case with social media. We have a feeling that we have control over Social Media but without us noticing it, we are addicted.
Further reading: 30-Day No Sugar Challenge
FEAR of Missing Out
Normally we are fearful of missing things out in social media. We are wired to believe that it’s important to show our presence in social media. It’s important and a must.
Social Media presents a vulnerability to the audience if they leave the media, they’re going to miss something special. That’s why the audience is obsessively drawn to using social media more and more.
A sense of Comparison
It creates a sense of comparison with other people. Even though, we know people only upload one decent picture out of hundreds, we still are unsatisfied with our feed. We tend to improve it and sub-consciously, we’re haunted by the idea of better presentation of ourselves even though we’re not.
This creates a sense of fake-ism within ourselves that we should better present ourselves. Okay, this picture is better than others and so it will most probably get more likes. And if the picture doesn’t get more likes as our expectations, we are disappointed which results in inferiority complex.
But in reality, it doesn’t matter at all. We won’t be judged by the number of friends and followers we have in our Social Media.
What matters is the number of real and truthful friends we have in our lives whom we can rely upon. Those are the ones who count when we truly want supporting hands in dire situations.
Other than these things we have been hearing a lot about Cyber-bullying, anxiety, low self-esteem. Overall, it is resulting in the decreased well-being of a person.
Further reading: Manisha Koirala and her inspiring book HEALED!
In the end….
In order to conclude, I’d say that social media is a great medium but not the end. Sadly it has become an end in many instances. People have been compulsive users of Social Media just for the sake of spending time and nothing productive in return.
I’d like to ask you a question; “When was the last time when you drank coffee?”
The question might sound ridiculous, right? How can something related to Social Media connect with drinking coffee? But the point I am trying to make is: there’s a difference between drinking coffee and drinking coffee while using phone/social media. Have you ever tried just doing one i.e. drinking coffee? If not, maybe give it a try.
Moral of the story is stress on the fact about PRODUCTIVE REST. A lot of times, we tend to use a phone or social media while taking rest. But is it the true rest that our body is seeking? It’s not. Why not rest productively?
Lastly, I’d highly recommend everyone to at least try not using social media for some time. To start off, you can experiment with yourself for a day if not a week. The result is self-explanatory.