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I went a day without social media and texting…

“Hey I have to do ANOTHER social media blackout for ANOTHER class which means I cnt go on anything and I cnt txt.  I am not ignoring u and sry ab our snap streak, even though we were just getting it back.  Call if u need anything J’.   This was my second class in the course of a month that I needed to do a social media blackout for – and it does not get easier.

I completely understand why two classes would assign this task.  No more than thirty years ago, the “world wide web” was not even a thought and now we cannot survive without it.  A full day without the use of texting and social media is a lot more difficult than it sounds.  It is only until you are social media free that you realize how reliant you are on it.

I thought going on a second social media blackout would be much easier than the first, but I anticipated incorrectly.  This is because, the first time I did the blackout, I was home and not in school, so I just left my phone in my house.  This makes it a lot less tempting to go on social media.  Being in school, however, I deemed it unsafe to walk around by myself without my phone.  I was receiving many Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, GroupMe, Slack, and Twitter notifications.  This caused my phone to fill up with many red circles with high numbers.  The notifications were stressing me out.  What was I missing out on?  You never notice how many notifications you receive then read until you leave them unopened for a day.

I also made a rule with 2 of my friends to call me sporadically throughout the day.  I used these people to constantly update me on the plan for the day and make sure I was in the loop.  I realized how much texting can truly impact your day.  When I text my friends, I know their whereabouts and plans for the day, this helps me organize my schedule as well.   Keeping in touch with my friends was not that difficult.  I live with 38 of my friends, therefore whenever I am home, I do not even need a phone anyway.  We all just sit in the kitchen and living room and discuss what we are doing for the day.  I usually will sit in my bed for longer and just write in the group chat, but since I could not do that it caused me to talk to my friends only in person.  This is much easier for a Saturday, but if this blackout where to take place during the week, it would not be this simple.

Another thing I noticed that was occurring was the fact that I kept impulsively opening Instagram and Facebook multiple times during the day.  It was not part of my daily routine to not be frequently checking these applications.  I would unlock my phone, and without thinking, click on Facebook.  I would scroll for a millisecond then quickly exit the application.

I also noticed how quickly I fell asleep Saturday night.  I usually stay on my phone for about an hour checking all of the Instagram and Facebook posts and Snapchat stories that I missed out on during the day.  My prior belief was that looking at my phone, the screen would tire my eyes out and I would have an easier time falling asleep.  I was wrong.  My prediction is the light of my phone actually wakes up my eyes rather than tiring them.  I usually lay in my bed for another hour before actually falling asleep.  This was not the case when I did not scroll through my phone.  I instantly was able to fall asleep.

My experience without having a phone coincided with Dienlin’s theory of displacement.  I noticed that once I was not with my phone I was having many more face-to-face conversations with people.  Without social media and texting, the necessity of meeting face-to-face with people to communicate increased.  I never noticed how many texts I send in a day that replace conversations I would have to have in order to keep in touch with my friends.  I believe that Dienlin’s theory is correct after going through multiple social media and texting blackouts.  I truly found myself participating in many more face-to-face conversations than I usually do – which leaves me to believe that instant messaging and social networking sites replace many of my face-to-face interactions.

My experience also proves Bayer’s research to be correct.  Consciousness and Self-Regulation in Mobile Communication really relates to my apparent lack of self-control.  Since there were multiple times where I opened up a social media site without conscious effort examples my lack of self-control.  We live in an age where we are constantly consumed by our phone.  It is a habit of mine to open my phone and go right onto Facebook when I am just sitting around.  Since I had my phone with me all day still, I kept accidentally falling to this habit.

My experience of a social media and texting blackout has really opened my eyes to my dependency on social media and texting.  It is a constant part of my day, every day.  It is until you do not have something, you realize how much you actually use it.

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