I quit the internet for a day and this is what happened
Does Sassy Socialist Memes still exist, or has the revolution withered without my daily likes?
We all get fed up with the internet. Whether its Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, or Snapchat, there are whole hours of our daily life wasted on meaningless social media and ridiculous, facile factoid pieces.
This got me thinking. Is it possible, as a phone-addicted student, to go clean – and drop memes – for a single day?
Well, I figured I’d attempt the unthinkable…
Without further ado, here’s how my screen-free day panned out:
Usually, when I stir to the screech of an alarm call, the day’s opening act is to reach for my iPhone. Thanks to the faux-socialising that consumes university life, my lock screen is usually riddled with indecipherable group chat messages and drunken snapchats off that bloke you haven’t seen since fresher’s week.
Today is no different, except that they will not be opened. For the next 24 hours, I will let the nagging, mysterious and tempting notifications mount up on my screen, unread.
Having dressed, eaten and dosed my way through a 9:00am lecture, nothing seems too weird yet. With coursework mounting up, this is the perfect opportunity to get shit done.
Of course, as with any essay-writing, I got easily distracted. Attempts to write are interrupted by thoughtless tab-opening, the URL “www.faceboo…” entered into my browser before too long. Today, though, I was staying off-grid, so I said bye bye to Mr Zuckerberg and got back to my word document.
Okay, so cold turkey is beginning to set in by this stage. With nothing to do but continue with my shocking attempt at an essay, I begin to gaze out the window, pondering life’s most important questions.
Does Sassy Socialist Memes still exist, or has the revolution withered without my daily likes? Have my friends destroyed my profile in a blaze of terrible drunk pictures and violent roasting? The answers are as untouchable as the grey campus skies.
Unable to accept my existence as a human being without the help of a Buzzfeed quiz, I decide to go for a walk. This was pleasant enough – bird song and a pretty row of snowdrops signalling spring atop Stanmer Park. Gazing wistfully at the rolling countryside, I sense myself uttering words I thought would never come: “I miss Jon Sudano.”
Trudging back to my flat, disheartened, I remember a book I ordered off Amazon a while back for situations just like this. Running my hands suspiciously down the spine, I attempt to remaster the long-lost technique of keeping my eyes on a page for longer than ten seconds. How does one read?
Having successfully founded my one-man book club, I decide to attend to my rumbling stomach. Cooking sans online recipe. How hard can it be?
I initially attempt an audacious curry, but without no-context photos of Louis Theroux to calm my quivering nerves, I abandon it. I wonder what Louis would have done in this situation. He’d probably reply with some pithy screenshot of himself fighting a wrestler, or discussing potholes. “Dammit” I curse, before reaching for Lloyd Grossman’s Tomato and Basil. Pasta it is.
After eating my pasta and chatting with my flatmates, I decide it’s probably time to check my phone. Scrolling down the list of unanswered messages, a few things occurred to me. Namely that I had ghosted my course mates asking for a group work discussion, left macaroni and cheese perched on someone’s fridge shelf, and garnered range of snapchats. These could contain anything from the local seshlord showing off his PRYZM antics, to a close friend sending me pressing and life-changing news, via a grainy ten second shot of nondescript carpet and some gaudy lettering.
Preparing to wind down after a traumatic day of first world problems, I begin to reflect on what I’ve gained from the experience. In all seriousness, I felt liberated for being away from such a draining pastime as social media. Greg James’ daily snapchats are truly wonderful, but I haven’t suddenly lost something from my life when I go without.
Yes, the internet is a magical place, and without it my day was bloody irritating. I had to ring – yes, ring – people to discuss my course, whilst meeting friends was a chore and I found out about society socials all too late.
Nevertheless I felt less anxious, more proactive and actually took the chance to have a wander outside of uni for once. I won’t be putting my phone down again anytime soon, but as a reality check there’s nothing better.