Goodbye, texts and tweets: my week without social networking

By Molly Kaplowitz

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Imagine going a week without technology. No texting, no Facebook, no email. Pretty difficult, right?

Senior Molly Kaplowitz set a final status notifying her friends that she'd be signing off Facebook for a week. Screenshot courtesy Molly Kaplowitz.

Well, a group of over 600 students from high schools in Seattle, Wash., went a week without any of these necessities. The project, called “The Social Experiment,” spoofed “The Social Network”.

So, for reasons I can’t entirely explain, I too decided to abstain from Facebook, texting and email for the same seven days. I was tuned out from the latest gossip, break-ups and horoscope change confusion.

During the first few days of the experiment, I resisted a powerful urge to flip on the computer and log onto Facebook, which led to a frightening realization: I’d become addicted to Facebook.

One day during my network-free week, I made some interesting discoveries while riding the bus.

In front of me, an underclassman girl flipped open her cotton-candy pink cell phone every five seconds, while babbling to a friend seated next to her. Behind me, my brother and his friends played Risk on an iPod. Nearly every passenger was using some electronic device.

“Is it really this hard to merely communicate without a screen serving as an icebreaker?” I thought.

Then I realized that I too was a victim of the tech-age.  Every one of my recent conversations incorporated “I’ll text it to you” or “I’ll Facebook it to you.” What has happened to our generation?

In lieu of texting, I spent hours during the week making phone calls to people I usually only spoke with through a keyboard. I avoided the computer as much as I could, just using it to check Edline and things for college.

As the week progressed, I didn’t view the challenge as a negative. I enjoyed the time it freed up in my schedule.

On my final day without social media, half of me longed to get back to the “real” world, full of Facebook chat and texts. But the other was content with where I was, enjoying nature and tech-free activities.

I’ve learned quite a few things from this experiment. The most important: it’s possible to survive without Facebook.

We may use it for work, play, school and everything in between, but at some point it’s healthier to just breathe.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll start checking Facebook every other day. Just let me update my status first, to tell my friends.

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