Yep, that’s right — at the beginning of last month, I took the liberty to delete Snapchat entirely, along with a few other social media apps, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, off my phone and computer. Rather inspired by one of my favorite singers, Ed Sheeran, and his recent detachment period from social media, I decided to also quit using some of the most popular apps in the world. Though the beginning of the process was completely heartbreaking and seemed almost impossible to overcome, I slowly but surely discovered the infinite benefits of removing myself from the hectic online world that is taken over by today’s technology-driven addiction.
1. No more stress; no more validation
The second I deleted Snapchat, I immediately came to the realization that there was no longer the need to update the public with what I was up to. This took away the feeling of constantly having to validate myself — whether that was through putting on a show by posting new videos and pictures. There was no more stress with focusing on the game of statistics or the numbers of likes, comments or retweets I got.
2. Alternatives are superior
One of the main reasons deleting Snapchat tore my heart apart, was because I used the app to keep in touch with a few good friends and people who went to other schools, lived in different countries or who I only saw once a year, if lucky. But after removing these apps, I was quickly introduced to other, better ways to still talk with these friends and family members, such as texting or calling, which I found more personal and exciting.
3. Lose the 24/7 pressure
When I used Snapchat in the past, there was always a huge unspoken pressure to be doing something adventurous, eating somewhere interesting or looking cute and presentable at all times. But in reality, that’s not always the case! A lot of the time, I’m not doing something super interesting, and even if I am, I don’t always have to share it publicly. Sometimes I’m just in my room editing photographs, doing homework at my neighborhood pond or even just sleeping — and there’s no need to feel any pressure of having to document every second of my life on social media.
4. Live NOW
As a person who loves photography and videography and always has a camera on them, I found that removing my Snapchat account was beneficial for me to learn to live in the moment, rather than documenting it all for the internet. When I had Snapchat, the app acted as another load of stress and another requirement of visual media, on top of my DSLR camera and phone camera that I already, and would much rather, use to capture moments. Since I’ve deleted the app, it’s allowed me to put away my phone when I’m out with friends and rely less on its unnecessary documentation of living through a lens, rather than through my own eyes.
5. Use phone storage for the better
I’ve always had an issue with storage space on my phone, especially because I’m limited to only eight gigabytes and half of it is used for downloading giant raw photograph files from my computer. Another two gig are used for actual normal phone things, like settings, data and applications. Snapchat took up one entire gigabyte, which left me with only one gig left over for other apps, videos and games — barely any space. By deleting Snapchat, I was able to store more information and a larger variety of apps on my phone.
6. Grades improve
Snapchat, along with the other apps and games I chose to delete during this one month trial run of social media detachment, I found was notably intrusive to my academic work environment and study habits. When I decided to delete the app, I found that I was able to focus for longer periods of time and no longer had to multitask trying to learn with worrying about responding to streaks at the same time.
7. Do more
“Do more” is actually one of my biggest New Year’s resolutions. Intending this lifestyle phrase to contribute to my life in all aspects — through academics, friends and family, community, health, activities, personal characteristic development and more — I have learned more about myself by getting off my phone and doing things I would have never done otherwise. I no longer worry so much about the miscellaneous information catered through social media — and instead, I can focus on living genuinely and doing more.