According to Tech Crunch, Americans spend roughly five hours per day on social media. That's crazy. And I bet that my usage is probably even more, considering that social media is a vital part of blogging. My point is, a huge part of our lives is spent on social media.

Many times on Bloomly, I've mentioned how stressful social media can be. Most of my points have been almost ranting, but I have mentioned numerous times about how you should unplug from social media, yet, like the hypocrite that I am, I never do. 

So I decided to take my advice and unplug. Scary, right? While one week probably would have made a better blog post, honestly, one weekend seemed daunting enough for me. So I decided to try it. And this is what happened. 

turning off the power on social media and technology

To set the stage for my social media free weekend, I picked a weekend where I went on a trip with some friends in a place with no cell service and no wifi. So yeah, maybe I was cheating a little bit considering that I wouldn't have to battle self-restraint with social media, but it's difficult, okay? On this trip I would have some internet access some of the time, but the majority of the time I would have no service, which is why I picked that weekend. 

But before that weekend could begin, some preparations had to be made. Since I am a blogger and social media is still vital for blog publicity, I did a ton of scheduling for my social media channels. This meant that I had tweets and pins pre-planned and set to schedule without needing my magic touch.

The point is, I felt that I was unable to go completely dark on social media. While this may be a little different, considering what I do as a blogger, I couldn't rest knowing that I would go off the grid entirely. I had a friend keep up my Snapchat streaks while I let Hootsuite handle the rest. I wasn't ready to let go.

I wasn't prepared to go completely off the grid. 

However, once the social media free weekend started, I felt that I finally could let go. Since I was on a trip with my friends during this weekend, making it a little easier, since I had lots of activities and distractions to keep me busy in the time in which I would usually spend lounging around on social media, I even found that I was letting go of my phone instead of feeling like I needed to have it everywhere I went. In reality, without wifi or a connection to the outside world via cell service, my phone was pretty useless.

The great thing about going social media free with lots of friends that were also doing the same was that there was less time of awkward gaps with everyone on their phones. We sat down and had real conversations, conversations that didn't go quiet when topics died down and everyone turned to their phones to feel less awkward. We sat down and played card games and Taboo, things that I haven't played in ages. With so much entertainment now being online, especially channeled through social media, it was nice to actually let go of those and find new entertainment by just being with these people.

The thing about social media and technology is that as good as it can be, it can sometimes water down a good moment. I can think of countless social events where things were going great, but people always found the need to Snapchat it or as aforementioned, turn to their phones when conversation died down.

We could find entertainment in just being together, instead of seeking entertainment on social media. 

As much as I love Snapchat, I didn't feel the need to be sending photos showing everyone how much fun I was having, I was just enjoying being in the moment.

One thing that I did realize throughout the weekend was that I fill up so many small gaps of time with social media. When I had time to myself during the weekend, I would usually turn to my phone, scrolling through Twitter or reading some blogs. However, I wasn't able to do that anymore. I would wake up in the morning, immediately grab my phone to browse, only to remember that I couldn't. What was I supposed to do with all this empty time? 

I ended up finding that I could fill the gaps with something that I hadn't looked at in a while: a book. While I wasn't as wise as my some of my friends, who thought ahead and brought books to read during the weekend, I did not. However, I had been smart enough to download an audiobook prior to the trip, originally planning to listen to it during the car ride in case I got bored, especially since I get carsick reading.

Since I had that in hand, I ended up being able to spend my empty time listening to You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. I haven't gotten completely through it yet, but I think that it was probably a great book for that weekend. Jen Sincero encourages living in the moment, something that I think was echoed throughout my social media free weekend. 

I felt that I had so much more time when I wasn't on social media.

I remember sitting outside on a bench, completely in nature, unhooked from social media, listening to that audiobook. I wasn't thinking about someone else's life, I wasn't thinking about all the things that I could be doing, I was only thinking about how nice the moment felt, with the cool breeze and the blue sunny skies around me.

So what's the takeaway?

I'll be honest, a social media free weekend didn't exactly change me forever and maybe it didn't even change me at all. As soon as I got home, I went back to my social media, scrolling while lazing around in my bed. However, I think that what I took away from having a social media free weekend wasn't about my own personal use of it during my own time, but how getting rid of social media and technology in social situations can dramatically turn them around.

For me, the things that we did as friends was not only about getting away from all of our responsibilities, even if it was only just for the weekend, but it was also about disconnecting and really listening to each other, stopping to smell the flowers. I will remember those insightful and maybe a little nerdy late night conversations that we had. I will remember going hiking in the woods and wading through the stream.

I will remember the things that we did, but I will not remember those moments that we spent on our phones, not really talking to each other.

Some of the best social plans that I have had were when I put down social media and actually engaged in what was happening, not only this weekend, but there are countless other instances in which the same is true.

I remember going to Zoup and chatting over chicken pot pie soup with a friend that I've known since middle school about literally everything and anything. I remember going to China with brand new friends that I had never known before and bonding with them in the middle of the night on a high-speed train, eating strawberry gummies. Stepping away from social media can help to forge even stronger connections with the people surrounding you in that moment. 

While going home and using it to connect with those people online serves its purpose, are you really connecting by scrolling on social media, ignoring the people right in front of you?

I Had a Social Media Free Weekend and This is What Happened

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