Going without social media has always been a goal of mine. I spend waaay to much time everyday scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and watching Snapchat stories. One of the reasons why I have never done this before is FOMO (fear of missing out). I'm always afraid that I'll miss a post in a group on Facebook or a cool Instagram if I don't check frequently enough.

But I finally did it, I resolved to complete a social media detox. 

The Rules

I will go five days without using any form of social media, including Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. I will delete the apps from my phone and block the websites on my computer. The one exception to my rule will be using the Facebook messenger app for existing group chats/general communication since I use messenger more than texting.

Day 1

I've started to notice how much of a habit social media is for me. Every time I pick up my phone I find myself tapping the old locations of social media apps or typing www.face into the browser before stopping myself. Hundreds of times. Even on my computer, I find myself habitually trying to open up Facebook. This challenge is going to be hard.

Day 2

I tried to post something on my Snapchat story, realized I couldn't but then thought about why I wanted to.

coffee, beer
Juliet Paterek

Lesson of the day: there is a lot more to the internet than just social media. I've been a perpetual social media user but this break forced me to explore new sites. First, I started reading the news more than average. Then I moved to cooking sites and games like sudoku.

I'm still typing www.f into my browser window every time I pick my phone up but much less frequently. Instead, I'm turning to other websites like Spoon and The New York Times to occupy my time and find good content. I've realized that I spend a lot of time on social media both to see the content that my friends produce but also to source news articles.

Given all the talk of "fake news," it's probably good that we all recognize this and start reading news directly from the websites of reputable news organizations rather than Facebook since the majority of Americans get their news online these days.

Cons: missing out on people's reactions to pop culture and the news. When a large document about Trump's possible scandal in Russia was released, I couldn't hear my friends thoughts on it or jokes about it. 

Day 3

coffee, beer, tea
Rebecca Block

I'm starting to forget social media exists. I went to get coffee with a friend and didn't look at my phone for a full two hours, which is probably a new record. I'm starting to remember that most of the time, I don't care what one of my 1,000 Facebook friends is doing.

If it's an important friend doing something I need to know about, they will tell me themselves. A picture on Instagram or 10-second Snapchat video isn't telling me anything important about their lives and it's not something I need to see.

Day 4

coffee, wine, tea, beer
Emily Waples
I found myself actually watching TV for the first time in ages. I wasn't looking at my phone, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I was actually fully immersed in the screen in front of me today.

Today was also the first day where I felt the impulse to post something on social media. Although I don't post a lot, I would guess that I normally post about once a week. Not posting anything ended up being better than posting because my post inspiration became something that only I knew about.

Day 5

pizza, beer, tea, coffee
Rebecca Block

I left my phone in my coat pocket for five hours! FIVE! This is craziness. Normally, after an hour, maybe two hours tops, I feel the need to check social media. This is a huge step and I did it accidentally. I didn't even notice that I had left my phone until I realized I hadn't seen it for hours.

Concluding Thoughts

Although I felt some FOMO without social media, I enjoyed my experience a lot more than I thought I would. Waking up on day six, I was happy to be able to check my social media accounts but didn't feel tied to them. In the days since, I've definitely been checking social media but much less than I was before. I would definitely recommend a social media detox for everyone. The initial habit changing is difficult but in the long term it's been great.