No, I didn’t say goodbye to social media completely. It was just a 2-day fasting from using social media.
The backstory is my roommate and great friend Ravi was telling me about his Tinder date and I, as usual, was busy scrolling my Facebook timeline up and down. “Manners maketh man” he said. “You know when you find a person talking to you, you should dig your nose out of your phone screen and listen to him attentively.” He then angrily went out of the room like a mad girlfriend and came back with an open magazine flashing this quote “Any type of addiction is bad and when it is the social media addiction, it’s worse.”
“C’mon man, I am not addicted”, I said in my defense. He quickly replied with another filmy dialogue “I don’t trust words, I trust actions. Can you stay away from social media for just two days to prove that you’re not addicted? If you lose this challenge, I am going to take you to a therapist. And if you win, I will not bother you again.”
Day 1 of my life without social media
My thumb was itching to open those colorful social media apps. I experienced uneasiness in those moments; I thought I was losing on something important. It felt like the world is moving and I am not the part of it. “Am I really addicted?” I asked to myself. If yes, then this period of two days is the excellent time to get rid of it. I focused all my attention on the work that day. Yes, there was a gigantic urge to check updates during breaks but fuck this urge.
It was the day end. People were leaving for their homes. I also wanted to leave but I knew this urge will surface up as soon as I get my hands off work. I left for home after an hour. To control myself, I had deleted the social media apps from my phone. That really helped. Every time I opened the phone, I had nothing to open. I would slide the screen left, right, left and lock the phone.
Ravi was quite surprised to see that I had not even touched my phone since I came home. “Afraid of losing?” I asked.
“Still a day left”, he responded.
“Tell me about your Tinder date. Any progress?”, I asked.
“She turned me down saying I photoshopped my pic to make myself look fair”
“Did you?” I asked
With a shy smile, he said “Yeeaaahh, a bit”
While we both laughed, my phone gave me an envious look.
Never in five years, had I stayed away from social media for two hours, leave alone two days. I thought I didn’t check my social accounts even once on the first day of the challenge, I deserve some brownie points, let’s open Facebook while I am in a cab to the office. It’s Friday, people must be updating their weekend plans. My inner voice forbade me to do so.
I realized I wanted to win, not to defeat Ravi but to help myself get out of this habit of continuously checking social updates, which takes no time to transform into a social media addiction. As they say, protection is better than cure.
I reached the office, started working and didn’t even touch my phone until lunch when I had to go to the cafeteria and put it in the pocket. It was that day I realized that removing distractions can work wonders in improving productivity. I had finished the day’s work at 4 PM. With two hours spare, I researched on tomorrow’s work thoroughly and even helped a colleague finish his pending work.
Like every Friday, Ravi and I met in our favorite restaurant to have that weekend meal. “Still not checking social media updates?” he enquired
“What do you think?”
“Looks like you will win this challenge!” he uttered
Now, it was my turn to come up with a filmy dialogue “I either win or learn, I never lose.”
He let out a hearty laugh. Then I told Ravi that you actually did me a favor by provoking me to take up this challenge. I was really on the verge of getting addicted to using social media. You know, my productivity has increased, my mind is not filled with the junk I read on timelines and I am more focused. I also helped a colleague and the smile on his face was so thankful.
“Well, this calls for a round of drinks”, Ravi said.
“Of course man. First, tell me how to set up a Tinder account. I am tired of spending my Fridays with you.”
Let’s Sum Up
I am not saying that you completely chuck social media to ensure positive outcomes. What I am saying is that getting addicted or close to getting addicted is unhealthy. Given the current environment, you can’t afford to not have a presence on social media. It entertains you, informs you and helps you make rational opinions by showing a number of viewpoints towards different situations. Moreover, social media is now faster than TV and radio updates. No one wants to wait for the prime time to know the latest updates when the world is already discussing the same.