Why I Decided to Take a Step Back from Social Media

Let’s be real: it all started with an episode of Black Mirror which showed a futuristic society where people were rated based on their social skills and social media. A few of my closest friends in my inner circle were talking one night and some of them had recently deleted their accounts on multiple social media platforms. They made the point that social media is around so that we, as humans, can show each other all of the interesting and intriguing activities that we are participating in. It’s a way of justifying that what we are doing is important and should be shared with other people. In reality, if something is significant enough you would tell the people that you are closest with anyways: with or without social media. Most of the time, people can count on their hands how many true and meaningful friendships they have and those are the people that you not only have on social media, but that you see regularly.

 

Checking social media, posting pictures, writing statuses and sharing funny memes have all become social norms for our generation and so much so that looking at a phone screen is more common than sitting outside and looking at what we neglect on a regular basis: nature. There are so many more important things in life (and I’ve especially realized this this week) than posting what I’m doing on SnapChat for my “friends” to see. Over the past few days I’ve actually been able to go outside, take a trip, enjoy a run and have meaningful conversations with people and I did all of this without checking my phone or attempting to record something “funny” or “cute”. Our culture is starting to become so reliant on online communication and interaction that real connection is growing thin and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where likes and comments are more important than who is really there for you at 3AM. Because of this reason and a number of others, I was inspired to write about why I decided to take a step back and really consider what I wanted out of social media going forward.

 

1. It’s a toxic habit.

I’ve noticed that it has become a habit for me to record everything that I find to be interesting or meaningful. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when I find that I am simply taking a picture for SnapChat and not actually enjoying the real and pure moment itself, I know I need to put my phone down and just let myself go for a moment.

 

 

2. There are a lot of things going on around me.

From putting my phone down and looking at the world around me, I’ve noticed a few new things. I’ve been able to appreciate my favorite running trail even more than usual and really observe and take in what all has been occurring in the different settings that I’ve found myself in.

 

3. I’ve found better use of my time.

If you really think about it, we realistically spend hours on our phone every day: whether it be from scrolling through a Facebook feed, to picture stalking your best friend on Instagram. This amount of time that is spent aimlessly trolling could be spent finishing homework, going to the gym, reading a book or catching up on some much needed beauty sleep. There are so many productive and beneficial alternatives to staring at a screen that will help you relax, recharge and re-motivate yourself.

 

4. It’s not important.

I’ve come to realize that there are more important factors in my life. I’ve genuinely found myself worrying about what filter I should use, when I should post a picture and planning out a caption. These all may seem like they are relevant to getting optimum likes, but why should that even matter? It’s a cycle of wanting to feel appreciated, admired and acknowledged and social media aids in the process.

 

5. It’s refreshing.

Having a moment just to yourself is special. Sometimes, it’s necessary to have memories like this because they are what keep us going. A picture on an Instagram feed may be appealing, but a moment to yourself, whether it be at the beach or in your dorm room is irreplaceable.

 

These are just a few of the reasons that I decided to take a much needed vacation from social media and a simple reminder that just once in a while, it is important to check back in to the physical world to appreciate the little things that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. 

 

Photo credit: 1, 2, 3, 4