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Do You Even Social Media?

Caroline Yenzer, Staff Writer

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Phone Networking Advocate Experiences Drought From Their Networking Routines

In 2017, it is nearly impossible to see a person without a phone in their hand or up to their ear. The average person spends about six hours each day on their device, five of which are accounted for with social media obsessions. Student Janelle Gray (11) is an avid social media user. She has active accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, utilizing each one daily. Gray has two Instagram accounts, one that she posts from several times a week, and another around once a month. In addition, she also maintains Snapchat streaks which can be a rather large task. Clearly, like nearly everyone else these days, maintaining a clear and active presence on accounts consumes a large portion of her life.
Let’s see what happens when we cut out this dependency and attempt to fulfill it with alternative activities for five days. As done with Patel, we had Gray send us a quote for each day of the process to rack how this change was altering her life.
Day 1: “It’s not too hard during the school day because there’s not a lot of down time, but it’s hard once I get home and want to take a break on my phone for a while. I had to find other things to do.”
Day 2: “I kept wanting to go on Snapchat at the football game because I’m so used to taking pictures and videos to put on my story but I couldn’t.”
Day 3: “The hardest one to give up has been Instagram because I knew my friends were posting but I couldn’t look at or like any of their pictures.”
Day 4: “I love social media and how it connects us to our friends so easily, but it’s nice to take a break every once in while.”
Day 5: “Today I wanted to get on Instagram a few times but, overall, taking a break from social media has helped me get a lot of other stuff done throughout the weekend and it feels really good!”
We asked Gray what she learned from this experience and she told us that it really brought her to a realization.
“While staying away from social media is hard, it is a great accomplishment. We are so used to knowing exactly what everyone is doing all of the time, but it’s not too bad to focus on yourself for a while,” Gray said.

Social Media Celibate Dips Toe Into World Wide Web

Despite the social media revolution taking place around the world, some people choose to swim against the current and abstain from using it. Student Riya Patel (12) is one of these people. She does indeed have an Instagram account, but she keeps it extremely private, allowing only her closest friends to follow it, 16 people, to be exact. Unlike most other teens, Patel only keeps Snapchat streaks if there is a meaningful conversation occurring with the other person. For most people, resisting social media is ambitious, however, Patel thrives in its absence.
“I choose not to be active on social media because when I was much younger, I realized it influenced my mood and I was trying to prove to others that I was having fun rather than being in the moment,” Patel said.
We wanted to see how being more active on social media would affect her. So, we had her establish a new Instagram account, gain followers, and post almost daily. The effects were concerning. In order to track the process, we had her send us a thought each day to reflect on how this transition was affecting her lifestyle.
Day 1: “I will definitely say that Instagram can be distracting and I am slightly uncomfortable sharing pictures but it’s not too bad. I definitely stress about if the picture looks cute and what caption will be, which I don’t think are things I should be stressing about.”
Day 2: “I didn’t really go on unless I got a follow notification. I got annoyed with myself because I checked a notification during class so I logged out for a little bit.”
Day 3: “I find social media to be very distracting but it’s entertaining to see what the kids are up to these days!”
Day 4: “I feel like I am slowly getting addicted to all of it and I check each notification that pops up right away. But, I like Instagram more than I thought I would. I’m a little sad about deleting it but I have to maintain priorities and stay low key. I’d rather have people talk to me about life rather than look at each others pictures and vice versa!”
Riya did not complete day five due to a mutual decision that we did not like the effects the study was having on her lifestyle. She noted that the experiment allowed her to see why social media can be so addictive, but she still did not enjoy how much energy she started putting towards her accounts. It affected her overall happiness and caused her to compare herself to others, something that many people worry too much about.

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