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I am a self-confessed social media addict. I spend hours of my day on Twitter, consuming news and researching articles while gegging at my mates photo’s on Facebook and posting filter-heavy pictures on my Instagram.
With my final NCTJ exams looming and my kids growing up while I stare blankly at my phone, I felt the need to challenge myself to see if I could use my time better. My nearest and dearest just laughed when I told them, not a single one had faith in me, which only made me more determined.
So last Monday I gave up social media for 7 days. I deleted the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram apps from my phone, tablet or laptop for one whole week of social media silence. Here’s how I got on.
Bank Holiday Monday…..6pm I made this pledge public before deleting my apps (so my family didn’t think I was having a melt-down), I realised at the last minute that it was Met Gala Ball day….gutted to miss out on all the instant updates of who wore what…..is it worth the effort to go and search out the pictures from different websites?….nah.
Went to bed early hoping I would wake up on Sunday and this nightmare would be over. Lay in bed for a bit changing my alarm clock tune, and arranged all my photo’s into folders. Checked the weather, twice. Stared at the ceiling….fell asleep.
Tuesday morning alarm went off (Gwen Steffani Hollerback Girl, in case you were wondering) and for the first time since I’ve owned a mobile (15 years) I got straight up and started my day….without a little FB scroll. Shock horror!
I was mega busy Tuesday and Wednesday with exams and some little shit chucked a brick through my kitchen window…..more gutted I couldn’t go on a Facebook rant about it than I was about the mess and inconvenience.
Thursday I was at the hospital for a routine appointment and my god did the wait seem like forever. I spent 45 minutes putting everyone’s birthdays into my calendar, had a scroll through my online banking statements (don’t ever do this) and got an all-time high score on Crossy Road. Yay! I got around to sticking the 10pm news on and realised I’d totally forgotten to vote! Really annoyed with myself. Stupid Crossy Road.
I woke up on Friday with renewed vigour, just get through the weekend and its done. I remembered to pick up the Metro paper on the 10 bus en route to town and poured over the pages like I’d been in a cave for four days. GIVE ME NEWS…..anything!! I’d read every word in between Knotty Ash and Sheil Road, Kenny and sat staring out of the window wondering how Fiona Bruce got away with wearing seriously bad trainees to present the BBC news, last night?
Saturday morning had me on The Guide Liverpool website (because I’m a little suck up) but also because I had no idea what was on around the city for the weekend. Plus being able to stick a 2 min video on to get all the info you need, beats reading huge long event listings any day!
As a single mum of three, studying full time and trying to forge a career in journalism and media, I’m a pretty busy girl. I don’t spend much time reading to my kids. I sit them in front of the tv while I cook dinner and check out Facebook and I’m guilty of letting them have tech on school nights when I’m done in and need 30 mins peace. Yet I always find time to scroll social media. I feel disgusted even typing that.
Other, less important benefits to not having a full-on social media obsession; Full battery at midday, no more twice daily charging, woohoo!
Having hysterical phone conversations with friends and playing toddler roulette. Every phone call went like this: “Hi love you ok….yeah…DON’T LICK THAT…….sorry Logan just picked a sweet up in the bus stop and tried to eat it……anyway…..are you free Thursday….FOR GODS SAKE LOGAN PUT IT DOWN……sorry chick the little get just went and picked it up again….it’s probably been weed on by dogs and everything……..is it ok to call down Thursday?……WAAAAAAAAHHHHHH….sorry love the baby has woke up….will ring you back once I’ve fed her…….okay chick…….tra tra tra tra..
Downsides to losing my social media are linked to my chosen career. I found my productivity dropped to next to nothing. I found it difficult to write without the constant barrage of information to inspire my article ideas. I’m essentially a lazy journalist.
Facebook is a great source of information about what’s going on around the city and what events and gigs people are finding popular. Without that information at my fingertips, it would’ve taken me hours to source it.
British Summer time arrived at the weekend, a tropical 24 degrees across the region…..I must have taken 200 photo’s of me and the kids having a BBQ and playing in the garden. The one of all four of us would’ve looked fab with the Hudson filter on Instagram. Everyone has a favourite filter don’t they? I’m a X-PRO II girl myself. Well, I was!
The outcome of this little experiment is that as a writer, I find it really difficult to do my job without social media. Having an online presence is even taken into account by recruiters now and I feel that going cold turkey for much longer may dent my chances of employment.
However, I’m a miles better mum without it, or at least by limiting it to work time, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
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