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Unexpected social media cleanse: Students share how a day with no access to social media affected them

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As the sun rose in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the morning hours passed, the sleeping town slowly came to life with alarms ringing and hundreds of people rolling over to grab their phones. However, when some Oklahoma State students went to scroll through their social media before crawling out of bed to start their day, they were met with an error screen rather than any posts from friends or family. 

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went out and caused a social media blackout for some people at the beginning of the day.

Some students did not mind the blackout, though. Brennyn May is one of those students. May is a junior at OSU studying strategic communication, and the day without social media was not foreign for her since she is not an avid user of the platforms in the first place.

“I didn’t know why it wasn’t working, but I don’t spend much time on social media, so I didn’t mind,” May said.

Other OSU students, such as Jacob Nunley, rely on social media for work. For these students, realizing that their social media was not working can be more problematic than for others who use social media leisurely.

Nunley is a sophomore studying agriculture education, and the show pig firm that he works for depends on posting photos and videos of livestock on their social media accounts for business purposes. In Nunley’s mind, the firm might have experienced a decline in their productivity if the social media platforms they count on were unavailable for a longer period of time, such as several days.

However, Nunley still found that there were upsides to the forced social media cleanse.

“I genuinely was more productive during those few hours to be completely honest,” Nunley said.

For some students, this day without social media caused them to reflect. Grace Stewart, a senior at OSU studying fashion merchandising, shared what she recognized during her experience away from social media for a day.

“It made me realize that there is so much more to life than social media,” Stewart said. “It made me realize my dependency on it, which is not healthy. It made me realize that I need to take more breaks from social media, and it made me realize that social media is not a constant in my life. It can always go away at any time, and that I need to ground myself in things that are everlasting and not fleeting.”