Waukee High School ● Online Newspaper

I Went Six Days Without Social Media

December 5, 2017

Students mindlessly swipe through their feed during class, at lunch, in the car, and in their bed. Refreshing it every chance they get, in hopes of notifications signaling likes and comments. Although it seems silly, the instant gratification provided by something as simple as, ‘@basicstacy liked your post,’ provides a sort of high for its users. Despite efforts made by the school to block such platforms on their Wifi; students always seem to find a loophole or path around administration’s censorship.

My original goal was to go a week without using social media, but that was a very short lived dream.”

 I made it about six days before I could not handle it anymore. Besides keeping my streaks on Snapchat; I was completely offline. I know I cheated a little bit, but staying away from sleep deprivation, cyber bullying, and drama all together was an exceptional satisfaction. At least, my original purpose was testing the waters without social media.

The first thing I noticed when I abstained from social media was that there was an extreme difference in the way I spent my time. Instead of turning to my phone during downtime, I learned to use that time more purposefully. The biggest difference was in school. During the last ten minutes of class when I would typically pack up early and hit twitter; it nearly became habit for me to start working on that night’s homework. Using class time more wisely consequently reduced the amount of stress I had after school. Although I had been allotted the same duration of class, I sensed more work time had been handed to me. Instead of using my phone for the last hour of programming with Ohl, I did all of my homework that was due the following day. Ultimately, I was allowing myself free time to do whatever I wanted outside of school.

Social media not only proved to take a toll on my classwork but seemed to greatly impact my communication skills. Prior to abandoning Instagram, conversation was only half-hearted for me. There are so many distractions by smartphones during those interactions that it brings into question the actual impact of holding a conversation. I never noticed how frustrating it was to talk at someone while they focus on their phone agreeing with everything I say. I could argue the earth is flat, and they would continue to mindlessly nod their head.

The worst part about the absence of twitter had to be the subtweets and flat out roasts. Nothing can compare to the humor that comes after bombing a test and seeing someone get totally roasted on the internet. I know it sounds terrible, but I really did miss that part in the entertainment. I never really cared where people went on vacation, how long they’d been dating, or the amount of times they tweet, “I’m happy to announce my commitment to commit to the University of Iowa and continue my (insert) career.” Those were the things that seemed to be the hardest on people. They were given a notion of how to live and how to be. I think it is just sad that some people base their quality of life on social media.

The one time I actually needed social media, I didn’t have it. I was assigned a club to cover for the yearbook. They continuously post their events on twitter, and since I could not check Twitter for updates, it made my job difficult to follow them. So eventually, I had to start asking my editor about what they were up to. I finally began to realize how much students rely on social media for information.

In conclusion, I feel like avoiding social media had greatly improved my productivity inside and outside of school. However, the fact of the matter is greater than my experiences. Social media is known to have some negative effects on the development and self-esteem of teenagers and adults alike. Students can be hurt by the anonymity of cyber bullies, who can easily use the platforms discreetly to inflict harm on others. This creates a basis of next-gen communication. Social platforms are creating an environment for people to feel guarded and distant from the impact of their words. Since conversation in the DM’s are not happening during real time; direct-style communication skills are not being posed on its users. It is critical for students in the upcoming working world to inherit face to face expertise.

The use of social media has been brought up by ourselves. It has integrated into our lifestyle, and sadly has near became a necessity. While social media can be positive for communication, it certainly has drawbacks. It’s a brilliant way to pass on information and spread the word, but the power it holds can be abused, or misused.

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