SOCIAL MEDIA FREE.
12th September 2018
I was lucky enough - well I say lucky enough like social media is a bad thing - to experience life without social media or wi-fi for that matter and I’m not talking about the month that I went social media free. I’m talking about before it was even invented. I only used the word ‘lucky’ before because, quite blatantly, social media has caused a lot of problems for me and many people. It can eat a way at you and make you believe that you need to be a certain way, that on your worst day you need to look like other people on their best. My first bullying experience was in secondary school when I was about thirteen and it involved social media, not the ones that we have now but and old one; MSN. This used to be the shit when I was around eleven, but girls used it to call me names and all that shit and I remember that back then the term cyber bullying was coined but now as I think about it people don’t actually use that term any more it’s just, bullying and then they ask you ‘on what?.’
Which I guess, brings me to my next point, social media is so normalised now that it's almost a crime to not be on one of the main ones; Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Those are it, that is genuinely what some people live for and spend hours on end just scrolling and scrolling, that there was even something called ‘pop sockets’ invented to rest your fingers on so they didn’t become indented as of the way you would be holding your phone for a certain amount of hours. That, to me, is insane. We have gotten to the point where it's extremely difficult to not be on social media, to the point where if you want to start business the best way to grow it, is on social media. It has become unavoidable.
About a year ago I was obsessed with Snapchat and posting something every 2 seconds. Yes, most of it was of my friends and just us having a good time at university, but it really got to the point where I just sat and thought "Why am I posting all of this stuff that means nothing at all?" Who is benefiting from knowing that much about me? Knowing what I eat, knowing what I’m wearing, knowing where I’m going but mainly who cared about the pointless selfies where you try to look like you're not trying to look good and write a caption like ‘Omg I'm so tired.’ WHO GIVES A FUCK?! So, at this point I knew I had to stop, just stop being on any form of social media.
I deleted the apps from my phone and just tried to live my life as if it were 2005.
Over that month I did a lot of thinking about everything; what I wanted from life, how I was going to get it, and all the other shit that goes with that. I did a lot of yoga and just took photos on my phone just to take them and have them - for me. This concept is very strange to most people, especially those who have grown up with social media. Taking a photo without the intent of putting somewhere, just having it as a memory to look back on. Not wondering which pose and caption will get you the most likes or what filter will look the best. That I think was the best part of no social media, the non-existant pressure was just easy. The first week was hard-ish but mainly because of my finger's muscle memory. It was so weird and surreal that my thumb would unlock my phone, swipe left and go straight to the top of the screen which was where my Snapchat app was without me even thinking about it. This alone remind me that I didn’t even think things through anymore, I wasn’t conscious about any of it, it had become a habit for me.
There isn't much else to say about the month that I endured without social media... it was more about afterwards for me to be honest. After that month I didn’t want to go on social media, it didn’t even concern me any more. I didn’t have the urge to be on it at all. A year later I still barely use social media and if I find myself staying on it for too long I'm able to just stop, be present and go and distract myself with something else. Despite most of the things I’ve said in this article I do love social media and I do think that in certain ways it is amazing for the world. There are some influencers out there who are using social media in the best way possible and really truly inspire people to do good. But in saying this, it took me not being on social media to know and learn the balance that I needed and learning how to stay off my phone.
Again, despite saying everything that I have said, I still find myself very lost within social media and question whether I should be on it on a day-to-day basis. Some days I absolutely love the way it connects people and allows you to interact with people you would never normally meet but, sometimes I can’t stand the fakeness of some people. Hopefully one day I will find my place within social media and learn the balance that is right for me and makes me feel good. That will be different for everyone and this post was not to make anyone who loves being on social media feel guilty or angry, this was about sharing my experience and personal opinion of social media. If it makes you truly happy to be on social media they please do it! Don’t let anyone stand in your way.