Warning: Not for Cyborgs
For the past week, I have not been on social media. No facebook. No instagram. No twitter. No nothing (except maybe Snapchat, sort of. Also, is YouTube considered social networking? I do not consider it so).
And though I can barely say a week is a long time, it feels like it’s been centuries. As someone who is constantly on her phone, clicking the refresh button like someone with OCD, being away from my phone has been weird. I mean, I barely had to charge it at all this week. That’s pretty cool, right?
I’m not going to lie though — it’s been difficult. I wanted to crack the second day and check what everyone was up to. My mornings were thrown off because instead of grabbing my phone, I actually had to wake up and start my day. I wanted to stalk people like some freak because stalking people is so easy nowadays. Everyone does it and it isn’t even considered stalking anymore. It’s just considered “checking what this person is doing.” Whenever I had a thought, I was tempted to open up that blue birdie and broadcast it to the world. Instead, I had to keep it in and realize that just because I think about something, doesn’t mean it has to be said.
I wanted to feel . . . connected. And yet, I was connecting more with people than I have in awhile.
In this past week without social media, I was able to talk to people, see things, and live life. Normally, me being on my phone checking social media sites equates to me ignoring the real social interactions around me. But in this past week, instead of updating twitter, I listened to people, I spoke with them. Conversations were started that normally wouldn’t have been started if I had been on my phone. Instead of hiding away behind a screen when the slightest moment became awkward, I stuck out the awkwardness. I read. I started a new job. I also walked around my house aimlessly whenever I was bored.
I know this is already sounding like one of those cliché articles that bloggers always post, but let’s get real here. Social media does not make us social. In matter of fact, I think social media has allowed me to hide from the “real” world. It’s distracted me from walking on my own path because I have been constantly using it to compare my life with other people’s lives, even stranger’s lives.
It wasn’t until I spent a couple days without going on my usual websites that I started to ask myself why I cared so much. What does it matter if someone follows you on social media? What’s the point anyway?
And I think the truth of why I do it is embarrassing.
Maybe the reason I’ve been so obsessed with these sites is because, quite frankly, I want to be noticed. Tweeting something has allowed my very small voice to be heard (?) for a short second by random people, and I am not ashamed to admit that it has given me a sense of satisfaction. Posting a picture on instagram has boosted my self-esteem because for every like, I have been acknowledged by someone, even if for just a second.
And the rush of the like, the favorite, the screenshot on snapchat, goes away so quickly that the only way to keep it going is to keep posting, to keep disconnecting from the world around me until I am consumed into the Internet.
The movie Her is one of my favorite movies because it shows this. There is a scene where the main character is walking on a crowded sidewalk/bridge and everyone he passes is plugged into technology. It’s a bit surreal, and yet I think it is actually VERY real. This is what the world is becoming and I don’t think there is a way to stop it unless out of some bizarre circumstances, all of technology breaks down at once.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Internet. But the Internet cannot love me. And I need love. Real love. And Love doesn’t have a Tumblr.
And I need to occasionally meet with the people behind the screens because those people are what the Internet is about.
And I need to actually live life sometimes because living vicariously through someone else’s profile isn’t doing it for me. Time is going too fast, and it’ll never stop or slow down no matter how many times you click the backspace button.
But whatever. Today, I get to pick up my phone and be a normal person again. I’ll probably forget about everything I wrote and maybe even laugh at how I was once becoming one of those crazy anti-social networking people.
But also, I kind of hope that I learn to disconnect more. Even if it’s just for a week.