The Anti-Slump: The Social Network Detox

anti-slumpThis semester, I told myself I would go out of my way to make new friends and find a housing group get to know the community better. Sure, my Facebook indicates I have over 100 friends that attend Brown, but how many do I actually hang out with on even a semi-regular basis? As a self-proclaimed social networking guru, I would spend endless hours gazing at photos of all the people I knew at Brown and tell myself that I should really consider hanging out with them more. The problem was that I wasn’t sure how to.

Enter Lent: a time of giving up something for six weeks until the day before Easter. The purpose of Lent is to prepare for the Easter season, but I decided to expand upon that and make it a starting point for establishing a more personal, more active social life. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the best deadline idea, but regardless, I figured I’d at least have made an effort to get to know more people by then. On February 13, I went against my procrastinating lifestyle and decided to cut myself off from Facebook and Twitter.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not total social suicide to leave the social networking world. I mean, I’m still allowing myself to stay on Tumblr and Instagram. But I told myself it would be more rewarding to see people in person rather than on my computer. As of now, I’ve been off of Twitter and Facebook for a month, and I feel as though I’ve definitely made an improvement! Thus, I’ve made a list of benefits of doing the Facebook/Twitter detox with personal anecdotes to help motivate you to do the same. Check it out after the jump.

Benefit 1: More face-to-face contact. According to psychology, we release oxytocin when we see those who we love. Seeing people on social networks ≠ seeing them in person, therefore face to face contact gives you more of that sensational “love hormone.” Since being off these two social networks, I’ve spent more time out of my room and more time in the real world. Sure, it helps that the end of February/beginning of March is essentially birthday season for my friends, but even without that I feel as though I’m a more sociable person. It’s also good for morale, especially with midterm season well in order.

Benefit 2: More people will want to talk to you. Leaving a social network is like vanishing off the face of the earth. After seeing that I haven’t replied to their multiple Facebook messages/event invitations or Twitter direct messages/tags, a bunch of people have personally sought me out to find what’s up. I receive a text pretty much every day to see if I’m still alive! Besides talking to my mother more, my friends also act as though I’ve been in a coma. Hearing things like “I haven’t seen you in weeks!” kinda gets old, but it is nice to realize that people do care for you. Without Twitter to allow people to find out what you’re doing/how you’re feeling, people are sure to reach out to find out how your life is going. Whether it’s friends or family, everyone will want to hear about what you’ve been doing since you left Facebook/Twitter.

Benefit 3: More time! Without these sites to hold you down, you can dedicate more time to doing homework whatever you want. I took advantage of this by signing up for more clubs and volunteer work, but you could also just spend more time seeing people in person! (See Benefit One) According to Statistic Brain, the average person spends about 15 hours and 33 minutes on Facebook each month. That’s over half a day of your life wasted on stalking others online. We all know it’s fun to live vicariously through other’s lives, but nothing beats spending time and making memories with them instead.

Benefit Four: You can STILL read BlogDailyHerald! Although Time-wasters and Free Food digest have moved, our webpage still offers many ways to waste time and get your fill of daily information.

While I do admit Facebook and Twitter are fun, especially if you’re winning a trip to Vegas, I think this detox was definitely necessary to get me to be more social and active. As an upperclassman, it can be hard to see all your friends from freshman year because you’re so spread out around campus, and it’s even harder to keep up with everyone’s schedules. However, seeing them in person rather than writing on their Facebook wall is a much better way of keeping your morale high and preventing a sophomore slump!

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