Walking out of my dorm room one day, I noticed a poster: No tweet Tuesdays! I was already late for class, so I didn’t think much of it. A few days went by when a Facebook friend of mine posted a link to the Unicef Tap Project. I read about this amazing project that Unicef is doing: a sponsor will donate a day’s worth of clean water to kids in need for every minute you don’t use your phone. I quickly typed the URL into my phone’s browser, and followed the directions.
The makeshift app can tell when you’ve picked your phone up and gives you 10 seconds to put it back down before stopping your donation at that time. I was working on homework, so I set it down and didn’t even think about it. About five minutes later I went to check Twitter. It wasn’t until after I’d scrolled through my feed that I realized I had only made it five minutes without my phone. Five minutes, which to them was five days of clean water. It’s hard to be upset about donating clean water, but I found myself angry with how little that was.
That day, when I walked out of my room and saw the same poster reading: No tweet Tuesdays! I decided to pause. This weekly event on campus asks you to consider using Tuesdays as a day to avoid social media: no Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. This is in the hopes of creating more in-depth person to person contact. Being somebody who is avidly addicted to three of those four things, I practically wanted to scoff at the idea of spending 24 hours without them. Five minutes without my phone I could do – even a few hours, probably. A day with no social media, however? They might as well be asking me to avoid any electronic altogether. I thought through all of the things I would be giving up when giving up social media.
It became a little bit like that children’s book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
If I turn on my computer, I’ll have to open Tumblr.
If I open Tumblr, I’ll have to read some posts.
If I read some posts, I’ll come to one about a new movie.
If I see a post about a new movie, I’ll have to ask my Facebook friends if they have seen it.
If I ask my Facebook friends if they have seen it, I’ll have to watch it.
If I watch it, I’ll have to live tweet it.
Well you get the point. Often, youth today don’t feel that what they’re doing can be validated unless their whole world knows about it. In no way am I trying to put that down: I believe a pride in our lives is one of the best things social media has given us. People often overlook how electronics have created easy contact. I can Facebook my boyfriend who lives across the world, and get a response immediately. There is something missing, though, when you sit in a room full of people with your nose in your phone.
Once I was pulled out of my trance, I looked closer at the poster. It gives three convincing statistics:
The average smartphone user checks their phone 150 times a day.
The average number of Snapchats sent daily in April, 2013 was 150 million.
The number of minutes spent monthly on Facebook is 700 million.
Just imagine if you added up the time it takes to check your phone 150 times a day. Even if each time is only 10 seconds (which we all know it isn’t) that’s 15 minutes you could have spent calling home to your mom, or playing with your dog, or even going on a run. If you’d taken that time to put your phone down, and taken the few seconds it takes to open the Unicef Tap Project app: wow. 15 days of clean water to somebody who needs it. It only made sense to put these two things together, so I thought I might give you all that idea, too.
I can’t promise that I’ll be spending my Tuesdays without social media. In fact, I promise that is something I cannot do. One day, hopefully I’ll be busy enough to not pay that much attention to my phone. Right now, however, it’s my lifeline. Maybe I can’t go 24 hours without my phone, but I can probably go three or maybe four. And in that time, if I remember to open the Unicef Tap Project app, just imagine how many days of clean water I could be providing for those in need.
You can get more information on the Unicef Tap Project app by going here, where they’ll give you the link to type into your phone’s browser.
Get some face to face contact and help give water to those in need: it’s really a win-win situation.
By Quinn Murphy