Monday, 9 July 2018

14 Things I Learned From A 10 Day Social Media/Technology Ban


  Before going on my recent trip to Croatia, I decided to commit to a 10 day complete social media ban, whilst also cutting out all texts, all phone calls, and just generally not using technology as much as possible. I'd wanted to try this for a while, but it was just too difficult when I was constantly expecting messages from work or people I'd arranged to meet up with, and so I decided to coincide it with the trip to make it as easy as possible.

  It wasn't a complete technology ban - I was allowed to use my kindle and my camera as much as I wanted, and when on a boat I was allowed to use my phone (in airplane mode, so no notifications!) to listen to music I'd already downloaded. I didn't look at any social media, any notifications, and no messages - but we did use my friends' phone for directions and timetables and the occasional trip advisor restaurant hunt, though my use was minimal to try and keep to it.

  And here's the 14 things I learned from doing so!

001. Everyone should give it a try! It was refreshing, far more so than I expected to be. The freedom I eventually felt was pretty surprising.

002. The first 3 days were really difficult - especially in the evenings. I found myself going to bed really early just because I was thinking about using my phone so much. It felt really pathetic, and it was - but that had become my routine so much it was really difficult to stop. The hour or so before I go to bed is when I always scroll through all my normal sites and check youtube and whatever else, so that time period was a struggle.

003. It took about 6 days to get completely used to it - and at that point, I felt happy with the situation and like I could probably quite happily never go back to social media at all.

004. When I returned, I actually didn't want my technology access back. In a way, I was almost afraid to go back to using it when I'd enjoyed how I was without it much more.

005. I think my biggest worry was that no one would have even noticed I'd gone, or that I'd have no messages to come back to. I did, by the way. And so will you, if you do the same.

006. It's so difficult to keep up the technology break in real life. I wanted to try and perhaps never take my phone to work unless I'm going out afterwards - but I can't, because how would I call work to let them know my train has broken down on the way in or whatever else?

007. I actually miss how it used to be before social media was a big thing. You tried places you'd heard about, you managed to always meet your friends on time, you didn't feel so stressed.

008. I didn't realise until I stopped just how much pressure social media can make me feel. And I say this as someone who doesn't consider themselves particularly active on any social media platform, but the amount of pressure to be on there, replying to things, commenting, showing that I'm doing fun things is ridiculous.

009. Reading is fun! I never seem to read anymore because I'm always distracted by other things. Without technology, I read my way through three books!

010. Equally, there's a lot of interesting magazines out there now. I know we hear a lot about how print media is dying, and in some forms it is - but there are lots of independent magazines out there doing great things at the moment and are worth you taking a look at if you want to get a news fix and a perspective without having to find it online.

011. I realised how often I will compulsively check my phone to see if I have a message. I'm constantly picking it up just to check. It was nice to lose that need for a while.

012. It's worrying how quickly it all comes back to you. Despite how reluctant my return was, it didn't take long at all before I was back to consistently opening up the exact same apps and websites that I used to check a zillion times a day.

013. I used to think there was something a bit odd about the people who deleted facebook because they didn't want to deal with it anymore, but actually now I think they're on to something.

014. And no, the irony of writing a post about how social media isn't all that great for us which I am then going to promote on social media has not escaped me.

Have you taken a social media ban? Is it something you've considered doing?

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