Last December, I felt completely alone. In the U.S., cases were skyrocketing and I hadn’t left my house for weeks, even to go outside. I’d stopped going to my extracurriculars a while ago as the pandemic ramped up, and school was still online. Though it was my favorite month of the year, even Christmas music couldn’t cheer me up.
I was spending upwards of five hours a day on my phone, and one day I finally decided I needed a change. That night, I deleted Instagram and Snapchat from my phone and vowed to stay off them for a week.
To my surprise, I didn’t have trouble taking a break, and I felt my dwindling attention span start to return. At the end of the week, I logged back into Snapchat and then permanent l’y deleted my account so I wouldn’t be tempted to come back.
Now that it’s been about six months, I think it’s time to reflect on this somewhat impulsive decision.
Why I Did It
I first got Snapchat in November of 2019, so I only really had it for a year. I used it often during the first few months I had it, but I never got the appeal of streaks and gradually stopped going on it as often. At one point I created a private story and that became the only thing I really used the app for.
Practical reasons for deleting the app:
- Very few of my friends had Snapchat, so there were only a couple people I actually wanted to talk to on there
- I didn’t use it for much except posting on my private story, which I could do with the Instagram close friends thing anyway
A lot of my motivation was just on principle, though; I decided that the overall culture of the app was stupid. Really. Why am I spending half an hour a day clicking on disappearing pictures of my classmates’ ceilings with “S” scribbled on them?
The Pros of Snapchat-free Life
- I no longer spend a lot of time opening streaks or awkwardly and pointlessly responding to people’s snapchats
- I’m less tempted to post on my story and stalk the viewers list to see who watched it
Overall, I think deleting the app helped me take a good look at my relationship with social media.
The Cons of Snapchat-free Life
This is an honest reflection on my decision, so I need to also talk about the cons of deleting Snapchat.
- First, there are a few people I haven’t talked to as much after deleting the app. One redeeming thing about Snapchat is that it facilitates casual conversations with people, since you can easily add some text to your random picture of your shoe.
- The second con is that I sometimes miss the ease of sharing more casual pictures. Instagram feels more judgemental. The reason I chose to keep it and delete Snapchat was purely because it has more features and more people I know have it. I also use it for promotional purposes for my tutoring organization and school clubs. (And to repost memes on my close-friends story)
If I were to get Snapchat again, I’d probably just use it as a regular texting app, which was part of why I deleted it. But the truth is, it’s slightly more awkward to randomly text someone you aren’t as close with instead of sending them a message on Snap or replying to their story. I also have one or two friends who only use Snapchat, so now I can only contact them through regular texting. I miss seeing updates on what they’re up to.
Do I Regret This Decision?
Now that life has almost returned to normal where I lived and I’m halfway vaccinated (yayy), I’ve felt the effects of my decision more strongly.
Me: *out doing something*
Devil on my shoulder: Man, I wish you could post this on Snapchat. What were you thinking in December?
Angel on my shoulder: Stop it! Stop it! Do you hear yourself? This is exactly why we deleted the app!
In short, no, I don’t regret the decision to delete Snapchat. I think I made the right choice. It’s kind of pulled me out of the Matrix, so to speak.
I now care less about social media and my “image” on it. I realized how codependent I had been and was able to kind of step away from the obsession.
I don’t plan to redownload the app, first because I’d have to make a whole new account and everything, and second because I think Instagram is enough social media for now.
As for Instagram– I could write a whole new post on that. I guess you’ll have to stayed tuned for part 2.
Thanks for checking out my blog today! Do you have Snapchat? What do you think of social media? Have you even tried to do a phone or social media detox?
UPDATE: So I caved. I re-downloaded the app to talk to one of my friends in August 2021, and one of my friends who’s in college… and then in January 2022 deleted it again (but not my account)…. the sentiments in this post still stand….