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Off the Grid: A Week Unplugged

Videos relaying the message of unplugging from social media have been trending this generation, the above video shows how social media has taken over so many aspects of our lives. Almost to the point to where it has taken over our whole life.

This week I decided to test this hypothesis and see how much time I actually free up going a week without social media. I know, it made me a little uneasy too. A week without being in-between texts, emailing, facebooking and most importantly no more snaps!

The first day was interesting to say the least— as I walk to class I am no longer scrolling on Instagram or Facebook to see what people were doing the night before, instead I am focused more on the walk and what I am doing in that moment. However, the feeling of disconnect lingered. Making me realize that we as human beings feel a need to be constantly “plugged in,” a need to keep tabs on one another, a need to be in the circle rather than outliers observing from the sidelines.

Later on during the week the benefits became more apparent— yes, it was boring and uncomfortable at times but I was more engaged in conversations merely because those were the only interactions I was having throughout the day. That being said, being more engaged simultaneously helped with my memory. Remembering information about the people I conversed with became easier, bringing out the irony of smartphones. Agreed, it is so nice to have all the information you would ever need on the tip of your fingers but with that we also forget how to be human in many ways. Our memory no longer feels the need to store anything, ultimately leading to more ignorance and meaningless friendships. 

Although it was just one week, I noted that there was more of an allure for me to converse with people. I was actually interested in what they had to say when I asked ‘how their day was going.” As Aziz Ansari had suggested in his best-seller Modern Romance our problems in the dating world are unique to our times. We obsess over text messages and the meanings behind emoticons. I find that although social media makes it a lot easier to keep people in our lives, it also contradicts that in many ways. Instead of going out and actively meeting people we sit back and hope the cute boy or girl in our chem class replies to our facebook message.

By the end of the week I had explored more, created more, and even ate more. My life was more peaceful with a mind free to wander, liberated from the thought of what my 982 “friends” were doing. But I also found that in this generation it is almost impossible to go unplugged (I mean unless you are stranded on a deserted island, but even in that scenario having phone service would really come in handy). I think the important thing to realize is that all things are good when moderated, there is always that “switch off” button.

Life without social media is lonelier, scarier, but a whole lot more exciting!

Shefali Agarwal is a second year Communications Major at University of California Santa Barbara, hoping to pursue PR in the future. In addition to writing for Her Campus, Shefali enjoys traveling, eating, reading and playing volleyball. Anything that gets her out there and active is a must do. See what she is up to on Instagram @shefalee!
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