A month without Snapchat

By Olivia Sullivan - Thunderword Staff

I knew I had a problem when I posted a video of a squirrel on my Snapchat story. 

He was scurrying around my backyard and chewing on peanuts my mom had left out for him.

While it was undoubtedly adorable, it made me stop and think: Who really gives a damn?

This epiphany inspired me to delete my Snapchat for a month, mainly as a social experiment on myself.

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows you to send pictures and videos to people for a certain number of seconds. These videos and pictures then disappear after they've been opened. 

There are an estimated 150 million people using Snapchat every day, according to a study by Bloomberg Technology. 

That's a lot of dog filter selfies. 

In the weeks before this decision, I also began to realize how detrimental this app was to my happiness.

Far too many nights were spent staying up way too late to watch Snapchats my friends had posted. Not only did I develop a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out), I also began to compare myself to the quick pictures nonstop.

Were their lives more fun than mine? Why wasn't I invited? Was I missing out?

This led me to reevaluate my entire social media existence. Was I actually having fun and enjoying myself or was I trying to prove that I was having fun with each post?

Social media can be a great tool for advertising and connecting, but I found it has the opposite effect when it comes to human interaction.

When I see people, and ask what they've been up to, it often follows with "Did you see my Snapchat story?" The conversation then dissolves quickly, much like a temporary Snapchat photo. People think if they post something, there isn't much else to say. 

Over the month, I missed the hilarious videos of my friend on her 21st birthday and probably a countless amount of perfectly timed sunset pictures. 

As soon as I deleted the app and ultimately forgot about everyone's posts, I didn't care. Nothing on Snapchat is that valuable, especially since the image will self-destruct in less than 15 seconds anyway. 

If you post on social media, it should be beneficial in some way. I felt I was wasting a significant amount of time watching everyone else's lives, and not paying attention to my own.

In January, I went snowboarding for the first time, got new furniture from IKEA (which I partially assembled myself, thank you very much), travelled to some beautiful parts of the state, and began my position as opinion editor for the newspaper.

How is anyone supposed to know this though? 

By talking to me. And vice versa. I had to step out of my comfort zone and strike up conversations with people, instead of just allowing an app to replace the face-to-face conversation. 

A social media detox can help you refocus on what is truly important in life and improve your productivity. Try deleting your most used app for a week, or maybe an entire month. Challenge yourself to be the person not on their phone while waiting in line or walking through campus.

There are as many as 10,000 students on campus and each one has their own story – a story that goes beyond a post on Snapchat. 

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