An Unexpected Break-up
I felt angry at people expecting an instant response to messages and comments. It was almost like they had forgotten I had a life beyond my phone screen. I began to think then, did they?
I recently had a break-up which was quite liberating — except I was not in a relationship. I abandoned social media (almost completely). I say this because it is a hard decision and transition to make, considering the world is obsessed with these platforms and so many of our lives revolve around it.
I was tired of following people. I was overwhelmed with the pressure of posting things online, the rat race of competing and showing off material items. I did not like how it changed how I lived (and those around me too). I realise now social media adopts the view; “if you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen”- and I just do not agree with it.
I have been using social media since age 16. I remember the earlier times of Twitter, Vine and Keek. They were exciting and fun. It was all so new. But, due to recent events I began to self-reflect. I realise how life has changed for us all and the simple days of the 90s are behind us. Do not get me wrong, I embrace change. I like to learn and absorb knowledge at any opportunity I can get. But I have learned not all change requires transformation but, in some cases, just modification.
When I self-reflected I explored how my home life and personal life had changed.
I first observed my home life:
· When we are free from work and care responsibilities, we spent our time on our phones. Flicking from post to post then to meme to meme — switching to live videos and then refreshing the page and starting again
· We do not sit at the table anymore; we sit alone with the company of a screen.
· We have less conversations. Our phone activity increased.
· We let social media govern how we life, what we buy, eat and wear.
I then observed my time spent with friends:
· We take selfies to post online to show our activity
· We take pictures of our locations
· We then take pictures of what we are doing
· We spend time editing the posts and thinking of captions to write
When we are with other human beings, we do not interact or communicate anymore. We may be present in the physical sense but mentally we are so far away — and it bothers me so much. Falling deeper into my thoughts, I think — whilst we have been so busy living our virtual lives, we have forgotten to live the life that has always been there and naturally, this causes so many problems with our personal development, health, happiness and well-being. It just did not feel healthy (humans thrive and require communication). I also felt that we are losing out on so much — losing valuable time in furthering our thinking, our being, our knowledge and experiences.
So, I reduced my time spent on social media to ½ hour to an hour in the late evening. I was spending my time doing productive things in my life; I wrote, read, went out for walks, I began to think about life more thoughtfully and spend time with my family — feeling present and giving them my undivided attention.
When I took this decision, I explained to many of my friends my position. Whilst many supported the decision (and I am forever grateful that they did), a lot of friends conveyed they understood but expressed annoyance. I cannot understand why they would not be happy that I was taking a decision to focus on real life, my health (and health of those around me) and well-being rather than social media. I understand social media is now considered an extension of living by some — each to their own. I do not dismiss the usefulness of using it (it has a lot of purposes) but for myself, I felt it should be limited. I do engage in catch ups here and there — it keeps life exciting (like the days where we would wait weeks to hear from friends/pen pals by letter).
Does anyone else feel the same?
(Please be advised this is not a post of fact or truth — just based on the writer’s opinion and experiences).