Living a SNAPless Life
Many of you will look at the title of this article and cringe. Life without Snapchat? Life without streaks and trophies? No Snapchat stories? How will I get the boy that I like to talk to me? How will I know what everyone is doing?
It’s funny, reading those questions now that I have been Snapchat free for about 5 months now. Yes, 5 months.
Snapchat was my favorite social media platform since the 7th grade. I had over 20 streaks, and I was obsessed with the how long I could keep them. It was so nice to instantly communicate with friends from home, and Fairfield. I also loved creating funny Snapchat stories, and looking back on all of my past memories. As I’m saying all of this, you’re probably still confused as to why I decided to cut all ties from this app.
Last spring semester, I came home for summer break and, almost immediately, I was so bored. My summer job didn’t start until the end of June, so I had a ton of downtime to do nothing and hang out with my friends. Since I wasn’t working yet, I found myself constantly on my phone, scrolling through Snapchat stories and responding very quickly to my streaks; I was so curious to see if anyone else was bored at home like I was. I was starting to feel frustrated because, according to Snapchat, everyone was already doing exciting things, while I was at home. I fell into the social media trap; I believed every happy, upbeat Snapchat story I saw of everyone’s “perfect” summers, and then I started to take out my frustrations on my friends and family.
One day, I decided to not go on Snapchat for a week, just to see if I would have any urge to log back into the app. Those three days were spent actually spending quality time with my family, going to the gym, running errands, and walking my dog. Instead of being lazy and wasting my time on my phone, I got so much out of every day by being productive with my time. It was an instant relief to not be distracted by constantly getting notifications to answer my Snapchats. It was also relieving not having to decode what being “left on read” meant from any of my Snapchat friends. Even though I loved Snapchat, because it’s such a huge communication platform, my real friends still made the effort to reach out to me through texting or talking on the phone. Also, the myth that you should spend less time on your phone before you go to bed is extremely accurate; I started to get better sleep from less screen time before bed.
The real lesson I learned from this experience is that even though it’s fast and convenient to communicate through Snapchat, it’s also nice to feel disconnected from everyone. Not knowing what everyone is doing all the time gives you freedom that you never knew you had. All social media, not just snapchat, makes it harder for teenagers to fully live in the moment. Never be afraid to delete a social media account for yourself, and live your best life in the present.
“It's so funny how social media was just this fun thing, and now it's this monster that consumes so many millennial lives.” - Cazzie David