Anyone who has an opinion about the over-usage of social media, but has multiple social media accounts, is a hypocrite. So add me to that list.
But after a month and six days with absolutely no social media usage (expect for Twitter because of my job), I feel like I’ve been on both sides of this arbitrary isle, and I have a better grip on what social media usage should look like for me.
I was hoping that blocking myself from my social accounts would make me more productive and self-aware. I was waiting for an “ah-ha” moment that would trigger a new lifestyle that would consist of a plant-based diet, regular yoga classes, and abstract art.
I would become one with the Earth.
There was no such epiphany.
Instead I diverted my time and energy into Candy Crush, re-vamping my Tumblr aesthetic, and playing geography games. I wasn’t any more or less productive without my social media, I simply found other mind-numbing substitutes to pass the time. Turns out, I didn’t miss the actual content of my Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. I just missed the idle activity that kept my thumbs occupied in dull moments.
What I did miss were my friends. I have never felt out of touch from my friends, even though I went home to California, and a lot of them stayed in D.C. for the summer. There was never a moment that we weren’t communicating with each other. But when I logged out of my accounts, I realized that a lot of how we communicate with one another was through Snapchat and Instagram. I knew what stupid sht they were doing because of Finsta, and although our group chat was always lit, I was suddenly disconnected from their individual, day-to-day lives. I missed all the dumb memes my roommate tags me in. Not physically seeing their faces for over a month was honestly so bizarre, and when we FaceTimed it was like I was diving into a memory of that person’s face.
As much as we think that social media alienates us from the “real” world, it actually does quite the opposite. Life online is filtered, yes. But I don’t think that social media is the reason why we get so disconnected. Social media didn’t make me distracted, my brain does that on its own.
It’s all about the effort we put in maintaining our relationships with one another.
It takes effort to reach out to the people who are important to you. If you make an effort, it doesn’t matter if you have social media or not. I was really selfish – hoping that the lack of social media would make me better. But then I really started to appreciate my friends who text me, ask how I’m doing or what I did that day. Getting calls was a gift. I hope that from here on, I can be a better friend and a less selfish brat.
I subconsciously seek validation online, and I post daily on so many different platforms. If there’s one thing that I hope to take away from this is that validation from other people is overrated and unhealthy. Everyone’s going through something -- pictures that live on an app for 24 hours are not accurate representations of my life and who I am.
I’m making efforts to continue staying off of social media, and posting much less than before. I’ve been told that I use social media too much but who the heck cares, everyone is on social media, don’t let others judge your actions. If you’re on social media a lot cool! If you’re not, that’s cool too! But don’t judge other people that happen to be staring at Instagram while waiting in line.
Text your friends. Facetime them more. Call your grandma. Email your old professors. Follow food bloggers on Instagram. Take pictures, not Snapchats. Take care of your mind. Play Candy Crush. Can someone send me a life? Please.