A Week Without Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Last week, I stopped using social networks. I wanted to lose some human interaction and take a break from all these websites and apps.

I started tweeting and using Facebook in 2009 and 2008 specifically. I am a heavy Twitter user and have never stopped using it (except for the two weeks when I enlisted to the army); I get most of my news and updates with Twitter than Facebook.

Deactivating my Facebook account was rare. I only did that when my examination and project periods were round the corner and I needed full concentration.

Instagram joined my life a year later. The photo-sharing mobile app was launched on the App Store in October 2010 and I was the early thousands who hopped onto the network.

I have never deleted the Instagram app ever since. I loved how I could just scroll through the feed and look at photos my friends have posted. After following more people, my feed was active every hour.

Unplugged Week

On 27th May 2014, midnight, I could not sleep. There were too much thoughts in my mind that I decided to stop using these social networks for a week.

I chanced upon SelfControl a couple of months back and decided to put the application to use. I blocked myself from Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and all their APIs. By adding their APIs to the blacklist, I blocked myself from viewing tweets and photos from many websites and third-party apps. Great.

I then removed Tweetbot 3, Paper (Facebook), Messenger (Facebook) and Instagram from my iPhone. On that Tuesday morning, I wanted to launch Instagram right after I woke up like a daily routine.

Through the week, I wanted to share photos on Instagram. I wanted to tweet about my feelings about being rejected from a university application. I wanted to share videos on Facebook.

But I could not.

Initially, I worried about not getting to know what my friends were doing via Twitter. I got used to it after two days.

“Did you hear about that …?”

I did not even know about the latest viral videos my friends were talking about. I did not even know about the latest football transfer rumours. I felt as if I am struggling to survive in the wide open sea of the Internet.

With that said, I did not succumb to temptation; I prevented myself from downloading any of the removed apps.

Be Right Back

Tomorrow, I will finally be able to access the websites and allow myself to re-download the apps. But, how did I feel throughout the whole week?

Without Twitter, I felt like I did not have a medium to share my thoughts in less than 140 characters. Also, I felt empty when I picked up my phone; about 70% of the time I spent on my phone was for Twitter and Instagram combined.

Other than that empty feeling with my phone, I felt refreshed. I spent my time reading articles and learned more about life. I had sought quietness in life.

Would I stop using these social networks entirely? Nope.

It has been a good and quiet week, but would I do this again? Probably.

Photo by Vo Minh Thong. This was initially published on Medium.