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Last March, I wrote an article about why I don’t use social media. I thought it was unproductive and harmful to my mental health — and altogether a waste of time. So, I kept it to the bare bones and just had basic accounts needed for school or jobs like LinkedIn. Well, it’s almost a year later and some things have changed, while others have not. I still have those basic school and job accounts, and yes, my LinkedIn is still going strong, and my connections have grown (funny story: I messaged a guy on LinkedIn who I had met at a bar. Ended up going on a date. Didn’t work out). But, now as my social life has changed and my life is very different from what it was a year ago, my status on social media is, too. 

As dating has become a more prevalent part of my life as a single woman, I’m finding not having social media quite the obstacle. It’s not so easy to look up a potential date when you don’t have the social media accounts everyone else has. A while ago, I wanted to ask a coworker out, but we rarely worked together, so I found his Facebook account and messaged him through Facebook Messenger. Well, most don’t use Facebook Messenger, and I’ve been told it’s pretty much just for Boomers and those that sell things on Facebook Marketplace. Essentially, he never read it, and I quit that job shortly after (for unrelated reasons). If I had, for instance, Instagram, an account I knew he used regularly, and just direct messaged him on there, maybe we would have gone out. 

Another example: A few months ago, I was at a bar and struck up a conversation with a charming man (he ended up ghosting me, but that’s another story), and in my nervous state, I gave him the wrong phone number. Realizing this later that night at home after I remembered I didn’t get the text I saw him send me, I quickly figured out that he didn’t have my right number. If I had had Instagram, I would have simply looked him up and messaged him there. Instead, I had to play detective and find him on LinkedIn only knowing his first and last name, that he was a graduate student and studied finance (Of course he was a finance major. I should have known he was trouble). So, I connected with him on LinkedIn and messaged him my right number and hoped he would see it and text me. 

In both instances, I regretted not having certain social media accounts. Granted, neither of those encounters worked out, but perhaps it would be easier if I did have some of those accounts. Despite this convincing argument in favor of social media and the ease of it in todays’ dating world, I still don’t have Instagram. Despite all the aesthetic pictures and cute “that girls,” I still stand by that decision. When I wrote my original article on the topic, I said most social media was a waste of time and prevented me from being productive. These are all still true, especially now that I have TikTok. 

I was originally against having TikTok because I heard how easy it was to just scroll for hours, and I assumed it had some harsh image issues similar to what I associated with Instagram. But it’s hard to not be using something when all your friends and family and acquaintances are talking about it. It’s easier to be a part of the in-group than try to defy it. So, I got TikTok, and it is, indeed, a major time suck. I actually set a time limit on my TikTok usage because it was getting a little out of hand. Despite the obvious productivity killer aspect of TikTok, it doesn’t seem quite like any other social media, which is what I like about it. I can choose not to make any videos and still get the most out of the app. The most social thing about it is the ability to send all my TikToks to the friends I follow (which reminds me, you should follow HC UFL on TikTok). I think of messaging my friends on TikTok like the lazy, low-energy way of communicating. When I send a TikTok to my roommate, it’s like reaching out enough to know  I’m thinking of them without sending a full text or creating the pressure of expecting a response. So, I do have TikTok now, which is more social media than I had last year, but I consider it more of entertainment (more akin to YouTube or Netflix) than social media because I don’t interact with the social part of the media. 

This isn’t to say the social part of TikTok is bad. I want to clarify; I don’t think social media is bad or that people shouldn’t have it. Odds are you wouldn’t be reading this article right now were it not for some social media account. Jobs are made, degrees are earned and connections are made all using social media. However, I don’t derive joy from interacting with my friends or connections in such a way, nor do I achieve validation from attention on the internet. Also, I don’t have a circle of friends or find myself needing social media to stay in contact with numerous friends. 

However, Snapchat is a whole other story. In my previous article about my stance on social media, I explained how Snapchat was great because it allowed me to give my contact information out to people without giving them my phone number — hence a safer alternative when dating casually because I can simply unadd. This social media account has proven to be quite useful, the messaging portion particularly. The ability to see when a person is looking at my messages or is currently typing or if they had screenshotted a picture or messages has been exceptionally useful, especially when talking to potential dates or what-have-you. That additional information reveals so much more about a person. 

Again, I don’t often use the social features of Snapchat; rarely do I post on my Snapchat story. Which, again, speaks to whether not using the social portion of the social media is indeed a social media account. I treat Snapchat as more of an instant messaging app, closer to the likes of Discord, Telagram or Whatsapp, than as a social media app. The feature I have found useful is I can easily find the Snapchats of people if I just have their name or if they are a contact in my phone. An old friend of mine from high school, someone I hadn’t talked to in five years, recently contacted me and easily found me through Snapchat because he no longer had my number. Plus, the Bitmojis are so cute. 

So, no, I still don’t use social media very much. I don’t have an Instagram or a Twitter, and I’m still not easily findable online. However, I have gotten way more active on the few social media accounts I do have, and I now speak using TikTok audios. But, on the few accounts I do have, I largely ignore the most social parts of the apps. So, although I am on social media, I only sort of have them.

Delaney is a fourth year English major at the University of Florida, with a focus on children's and young adult literature. Her favorite articles to write are book reviews and anything about women's issues, including writing about her often disastrous college dating life. When she isn't reading vampire novels or sipping tea, she can be found buying second-hand clothes or baking cookies.
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