We live in a society that revolves heavily around technology, and part of that technology, is social media. Today, social media is a massive source for people to connect. People use social media to connect for their personal life, for business purposes and even as a way to meet people they may have never otherwise met. That is what creators of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and many other media platforms, wanted to achieve. However, rather ironically, sometimes the usage of these apps causes the exact the opposite effect.
Sometimes, it becomes something people hide behind, what I mean by that, is that people spend so much time on these apps — creating a persona that may or may not actually reflect their true self — to seem more approachable or, to be something they are not. Everyone does this, and it has become a habit in this day in age to update our lives with others, and sometimes it may feel like a contest.
I recently started to notice myself getting a little too caught up in social media, that it was negatively affecting other parts of my life. So, I decided to go five days without social media, and see what happens.
On Monday, I realized one of the first things I do when I wake up, is roll over and check my email; which is fine, but then I find that it subsequently leads me to check my Instagram and twitter. So, when I woke up on Monday morning, I found that I had extra time; time in which I could just be with my thoughts, or read my book, or have a little extra time to make breakfast.
I used my extra time to read my Bible for an extra ten minutes, and I felt much more excited for the day than I did when checking my phone first thing in the morning.
Having those extra 10 minutes in a day can improve your day immensely, if you fill it with something that you love to do. Throughout the day, I rarely check my phone so it was not too hard to keep it out of my hand, but Tuesday, at lunch, I noticed that normally at that time, I would pull out my phone while I am eating, and check it to pass the time.
As I was sitting there, I noticed one of my friends across the room and she was sitting by herself, so I decided to join her for lunch, and we had a nice time together. Having our phones out all the time can make us so blind to our surroundings, that I would have never seen her.
I noticed this pattern a lot throughout the week, and I tried to keep count of how many people I saw with their heads down in their phone, and I lost count after 100. I think people are afraid to interact with each other, for the fear of looking silly or being rejected, and now that people have cell phones it is easy to avoid those situations.
On Wednesday and Thursday, I was very productive, because I had far fewer distractions at my disposal. So productive, in fact, that I got my homework done earlier than I usually do, and had more time to relax and do something that I enjoy. To be honest, I was worried that I would miss having social media, but it was actually very refreshing
I felt more connected to the people and places around me, and I wanted to talk to strangers, and try new places, because I felt as though I needed to have a connection with something around me, since I wasn’t getting that connection through my phone. I found, in-person-connections, beat the online connections by a mile.
On Friday, I was walking around and I noticed that I was smiling at people as I walked past them, and it kind of freaked people out, they wouldn’t smile back, or they would look kind of scared. I think that’s crazy, because through social media we want others attention and interactions, but when we get it in real life, it frightens us.
At the end of my week, I wasn’t craving Twitter or Instagram, or anything. I really didn’t miss it. Instead of seeing what others did on the weekends through Snapchat, I got to talk to them about it and listen to their stories. Instead of seeing updates on Facebook, I called family members to see how their day was going. Instead of scrolling through Instagram, I painted pictures for my family.
Social media can be amazing, but on a day-to-day basis, we are to prone to using it as a way out of everyday interactions. We lean on it to entertain us, when we should find that within ourselves. It is Sunday now, and I still have no social media and I don’t plan on having it for a while.