Scroll free September: Interview with Emma George, Student Support Adviser.
OCA staff are continuing to reflect on how they are finding Scroll-free September so far. Emma works in our Student Services team took on the challenge of going cold turkey with social media during her birthday month!
Tell me about your social media usage.
I primarily use Facebook – because I live alone, I work full time and I’ve also started some courses, sometimes I’ll find it hard during the week to meet up with people outside of work. For me Facebook is important just to keep that social interaction – to keep in the loop – because everybody uses it.
I also use Pinterest as well – excessively – for ideas about anything. If I’m rearranging a room, I can’t do it without looking at that first and getting ideas for it. Before I know it I’ve spent half an hour on Pinterest looking at ideas!
At OCA we all took the quiz to find our social media index – what was yours, and what had you expected it to be?
It was low risk, and I wasn’t surprised at first because I didn’t think that I used Facebook a lot, as I never post a lot. What I realised with this experience is that I spend a lot of time on the evenings just scrolling. Maybe I am more high risk than I thought, because I would say that I go on Facebook and I don’t do anything – I’m just looking at things and being nosey.
Which plan did you decide upon and why?
I’m taking the Writing Skills course with OCA which made me opt for cold turkey as I need to get something done! I was getting home and sitting down to relax from the day for two minutes with my dogs, looking at my phone, and before i knew it it was 6 o’clock and I hadn’t done anything. I thought it would just be easier to let it go completely and go cold turkey instead of managing the times.
How did you feel in the first few days after starting?
It was my birthday so I was looking forward to getting all of my happy birthday messages as nobody posts cards anymore – I can’t have a birthday without Facebook! I haven’t looked at it though.
I was really happy the first few days because it felt easy at first! And then the week went on I got home and thought I really need to know what’s happening – what is going on in the world! The longer its gone on the harder its been; I reached a peak in the middle of the month then I just stopped thinking about Facebook. I got towards the end of last week when it was my birthday and I didn’t think about it at all so that was good.
And is there anything you’re particularly missing?
Yes the banter that you have with friends on facebook – if you don’t see people a lot, particularly because I’ve got friends that don’t live in the UK, the simple things like tagging people in memes or music videos you like to share is all gone.
Have your relationships with friends and family been affected by the change – are they having to find different ways to contact you, or vice versa?
I’m getting more direct messages – and more texts as well rather than just messaging apps which has been nice! I would still say on the social element if you’re organising things in big groups, that social media is such a big help, and without that I don’t know how I’d do it.
What do you think you will do at the end of the month?
I think I’ll still keep the app off my phone – I’ve quite liked not having the notifications come through for every small thing. I’ll still use it because I do think it can be a good thing for communicating ideas, but I will probably only just access it from my laptop so I’m going on it specifically for a catch up rather than accessing it through my phone to just be nosey.
We will catch up with Emma and all of the OCA staff at the end of the month for an update! Please keep us posted on your progress.