I love a good tweet, a Facebook status update, a snap, pin, Phhhoto, blog, video, picture etc. My career in journalism and my life revolves around social media.

Social media is how I get my news. It’s how I figure out how my friends and relatives feel about certain issues. It’s how I find my sources for stories. It’s how I communicate with my peers. It’s how I stalk people who I find relevant. Social media consumes my life, and sometimes I wish it didn’t.

According to a 2015 Pew Research about social network usage, 90 percent of millennials are the most likely to use social media compared with 12 percent in 2005. Can you imagine explaining Facebook Live and Snapchat to yourself in 2005? It almost seems impossible.

A few weeks ago I was on my way home after a long day of classes and work. I plugged in my ear phones, played my favorite playlist and began catching up on social media. I sat on a hot, stinky, packed bus full of exhausted college students. I noticed a guy sat next to me, and from the corner of my eye I saw that he just sat. You’re probably thinking OK, how is this unusual, Ashley? Well, he didn’t pull out his phone, he didn’t plug in his ear phones and he wasn’t engaged in anything. He JUST sat. This was unusual because almost every single person on the bus is staring down at their phone. He wasn’t.

I noticed him looking at the buttons on my backpack. (I thought it was a bit creepy, but who am I to judge? I Facebook stalk people. No judgement here.) He then tapped me and asked about the “I love NY” buttons on my backpack. I gave him a vague, short answer while still looking at my phone. I was engaged in my phone and I didn’t want to be bothered. I know, I know. I’m such a millennial…

And then his questions kept coming. “Why were you in New York?” “What’s your major?” “Where are you from?” “What’s your dream job?” etc. etc. etc.

So, I unplugged. This guy clearly wanted to have a conversation. He was interested in my life. This stranger whom I never met wanted to know about my passions and my dreams.

I unplugged from my phone. I disconnected my earphones. I exited every social media app that was open on my phone. I locked my phone and I gave this stranger my full attention. I began to bombard him with questions after he bombarded me with questions. We talked about politics, news, crime, science and traveling all within the 30 minute bus ride home.

It was then that I realized that I’ve missed out on so many conversations like the one I had with Noah. I missed out on these conversations, because I’m so consumed with my phone. My whole life revolves around a powerful piece of technology that separates me from experiencing real face-to-face interaction. It was during a conversation with a guy I’ll never see again when I realized that I needed to make a change.

I decided to unplug from my phone two times a week when I’m out in public. It was difficult to silence my phone in the beginning, but I knew it wasn’t impossible. I was not born with an iPhone in my hand. I knew I could survive a few hours without it.

As I looked up from my phone I noticed the conversations people have with one another. I noticed the birds singing. I noticed people arguing over politics. I noticed the stressed look many students possess. I noticed how easy it is to have a conversation with the person next to you in class when you’re not on your phone. And most importantly, I noticed how many students are plugged into their phones.

A research study done by Dscout said that the heaviest smartphone users click, tap or swipe on their phone 5,427 times a day!

Technology has made this world a great place, but it’s also making this world disconnect from the good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction. You’d be surprised at the conversations you can have if you disconnect from social media and connect with the reality around you.

Let’s all dedicate at least one day to unplugging from our phone when we’re in public. Trust me, it’s not impossible. If a millennial can do it, so can you.

I want to hear about your experience! Please leave me a comment, below.