I have been one of the worst of our generation when it comes to Social Media. From my first Bebo account in 2005, and peaking in 2015 with constant checking of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, I spent 10 years far, far more concerned with what was going on online, than what was going on in real life. It’s true that today, social medias are crucial in the functioning of our world. That’s so sad, but whether it’s keeping you updated on whether or not your next choir or lacrosse rehearsal is cancelled, or the President of the US informing his country of his reaction to the most recent global event- the world today would not cope without it. However, I am not the President of the US, nor do I earn £20,000 for a single Instagram post, so;
I’m not sure why I became so addicted to social medias. What I do know is that I was bad, and deservingly became known as such, since it was a rare moment that I put down my phone. At lunch with friends; I was stalking others on Facebook. In a nightclub; refreshing Instagram to see what celebrities were doing whilst it was still sunny in LA. At a family gathering with my priceless grandparents who aren’t getting younger; keeping up with anybody and everybody’s snapchat stories. In lectures at uni; reading absolute bullshit on the Daily Mail. And through all this, you realise you’re actually not giving a shit, or investing at all in what you’re doing with your time. Through all this, you’re admitting to yourself that what everybody else is doing matters more than what you’re doing. And how bizarre is that, considering you only have one life to live and it’s not even worth your time. Never going to help with one’s notion of self worth.
Due to the recently highly publicised notion that social media’s accounts of someone’s life cannot be trusted to be an accurate representation, another tragic element is thrown into the mix of an already depressing situation. It’s so dumb, and we all know it, but we still cannot help but forget this is the case. When all someone is feeding you is the highlights, you can’t fathom the low points because they’re showing you nothing. They’re not making them a cyber reality, so a mystery they remain, and even more; perhaps they won’t seem real to the person in question.
A huge component in my decision to rid of my social medias was the realisation the only connection I had to those that made me uncomfortable, was social medias. And that connection was purely a choice. And a choice I had actively chosen. Without these platforms, I could see none of it. I wouldn’t have to know what they were doing, who they were with or, to be honest, that they were even tottering on with their lives. It shouldn’t matter to me, so why bother. It only made me nervous and anxious. An old theory of mine was: “even if you don’t look it’s still happening so at least by checking you’re in the know”- but that seems so ludicrous to me now. Because, as mentioned above; you know nothing. You’ve seen a club photo and they’ve definitely kissed all 7 girls surrounding them. You see them in a photo at the pub and they’re bound to have spoken about their distaste for you. You see them having a girls chill day, and you’re hurt as to why you weren’t considered. But it’s not real life. Those 7 girls could be his sister (unlikely, but possible), and no one at the pub even gave you a thought that day, and the girls chill day was arranged last minute when they knew you weren’t free anyway. How narcissistic to think whatever they’re doing with their life involves you in any way. It shouldn’t, and probably doesn’t, so why is it of any use to you, to know what they’re doing.
But it’s not only about not seeing what other people are doing with their lives- it’s just as much about other’s not seeing what you’re doing with your life. Such anonymity is something alien to me, having grown up with so many having access to my doings. I’m not famous, and I don’t have anyone to blame except myself, as all (most) of the content online about myself was through my own publishing. Again- completely bizarre when immediately after sharing your holiday photos you sit, concerning yourself over whether others enjoyed what they can perceive of your holiday, and not whether you enjoyed it yourself and consequently were letting others see a snippet of some good times. Madness.
It’s such a weird notion that the entire world is at your fingertips. I can’t imagine it any other way since it’s all i’ve ever known, but I’ve been interested in it recently and I have come to decide that although it’s fascinating, it’s really scary, and one loses touch with the idea that there is a life happening directly around them. I think my therapy in mindfulness has contributed to this realisation, but to take a moment and realise without the internet connection so gracefully swooping round your head and sending lightsaber-ish beams through your house (I’m clearly well education on the topic); its just you. You’re sat there, there’s a bunch of inanimate objects around you, and were your internet to fail whole-heartedly, you’d suddenly feel very alone.
It’s been bizarre, living so in the moment. But I was also amazed at how quickly I stopped concerning myself with entertaining others. On walks to the lake, initially I had to stop myself reaching for my phone to snapchat the beauty for others to appreciate. I was going to appreciate it for myself, because it’s my life and do I not deserve unique experiences? And although thinking I would be thanked for sharing such a sight with them, no one actually would care at all. So there you go, timed saved on both sides. And don’t even get me started on those that think sharing 70 seconds of pitch black with lots of angry sounds is worth a snap. Although initially feeling isolated, this quickly evaporated into freedom and genuine weight off my shoulders. I would not be physically worrying about what other people were doing, and no one would have any knowledge on me (again, get over yourself) that I would have to worry about.
I haven’t eradicated my accounts for good, as as I said, there are things that function through social medias that I need to keep up with. However, I deleted the apps off my phone and as soon as it’s not a quick tap away, the whole process becomes time consuming and suddenly very unappealing. So I check in every few weeks, or if there’s something specific to know about. And perhaps this is ironic, considering the blog post about it, shared with the internet. But I don’t feel like it’s the same. On here, I write what I want, and it makes me happy. I don’t concern myself with the judgement of others, as firstly there’s about 3 people that read it, and furthermore, I don’t feel any pressures. I don’t see what others are doing through this medium, and I only share exactly what I choose; not what others share of me, or what I feel I should share. It’s not a social experience. I know there are benefits to social medias and I genuinely love the idea of people being able to share lovely, or beautiful, or life changing moments with the world, if it makes them happy. But for now, I’m attempting to live presently, bothering myself with myself and doing what I want, for me. And as they say, gotta let people miss you. Lol.