I Deleted All Social Media Off My iPhone For Two Weeks and This Is What Happened
I was obsessive about checking social media on my phone. It was always there for me to check. It was so easy. I craved it like a junkie wanting his next fix. I wanted to see the next Instagram or Vine video right away. Twitter was my network news source. Checking Facebook was like a love/hate relationship…but I couldn’t stop. At my low point, I was checking all my network feeds about fifteen times a day…cycling through each one. I came down with a sickness I called “The Fear of Missing Out”. For some reason I couldn’t stop checking all of my networks…constantly throughout the day on my phone. I wanted to see what people posted right when they posted it. I couldn’t wait until the end of my day. I realized that I was addicted but I didn’t do anything about it until my girlfriend called me out about my phone usage. Once I realized other people we noticing it was when I decided I needed to do something about it. It was the slap in my face that I needed.
I decided to just delete the applications off my phone and not deactivate any of my accounts. I wanted to actually see if just removing them from my phone was enough to change my habits and I felt two weeks was an acceptable time period to run this experiment. It was hard…like ripping off a band aid. I had several moments where I found myself checking my phone and then realizing the apps were gone. In all, I deleted eight different networks and the Google Hangouts app:
- Google Hangouts
My biggest culprits of the addiction were actually just three of those: Facebook, Instagram and Vine. After about three days I ended up putting Twitter back on my phone and Snapchat (I joined Snapchat about three days before I did this test as part of a plea deal to get back into a fantasy football league. I decided it was less addicting and put it back on since it was so soon after joining). I was getting @replies from people on Twitter and I felt it was important enough to keep up with those. Snapchat was less of a network and more similar to an MMS message so I felt it was harmless to try it out a bit longer.
A funny thing happened during this two week period. I started getting a lot more work done (it was a noticeable difference looking back) and I have been much more focused since then. Apparently all of the switching tasks and rolling through multiple feeds did something to my brain that caused my focus to be diminished on important tasks. Having less mental noise of “The Fear of Missing Out” also has given me more physical energy (not joking). My workouts each morning have been better and my energy levels throughout the day have been great. I realize not all of this could be due to just social networks and might be linked to my diet, or just my workouts, but it was such a noticeable difference that I know it had some effect. I had Twitter on my phone for most of those two weeks and I’ve checked it very little. I guess the cumulative effect of removing the other networks reduced my urges to check anything social on my phone. A few days ago, after getting back from my weekend in Wisconsin, I deleted Snapchat for good. Less is more and I have one less app to send me notifications. Here’s what my social folder looks like now on my iPhone (it used to be full):
Maybe other people can have access to all of those networks on their phones and be fine. I know plenty of people that don’t seem to have an issue with it. Unfortunately, I do. I need to have “out of sight, out of mind” now so I can focus on what is important to me. I am so glad I finally realized this. I have decided to keep Twitter on my phone because I do view it as an important communication medium, and it is my public facing network, but everything else is gone off my phone and I feel great. The best part is I still have my accounts active so I didn’t lose anything. They are just sitting there idle until the next time I use them. Most importantly, I’ve keep my usernames by keeping the accounts active.
I feel much much better without the distractions and anxiety those my social network apps gave me. It sounds weird but it actually has improved my life by simply removing access to them from my phone. Don’t believe me? You should try it for yourself and post your experience in the comments section below. I’d be interested to hear other peoples experiences.