I’m just like you, addicted to my phone and the tiny little apps that cover it. It’s always taunting me and keeping me half involved in everything. Social media has taken over the world and in a lot of ways, it’s been a great thing. We can send positive messages to a broader audience, help our careers by sustaining a brand, advertise, sell, and do just about anything we want through this tiny scientific tool. However, with every great advance in technology, there are always some negative consequences that follow.
We have so much at our fingertips, that our eyes rarely leave the screen.
Whether its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or even just texting, we’re always glancing down at every minute in every situation. It’s becoming such a phenomenon that psychologists everywhere are diving in, wondering what the effects are and how this changes social interactions.
I read an article in this month’s Cosmopolitan entitled, “You Are Not Your Likes”. Essentially, it breaks down how social media and the number of Likes we receive on any given post directly affect our self-esteem. Only, because it’s virtual, it leaves us constantly wanting more. As I read this article, I noticed how much of it applied to my own life. When I would post a picture on Instagram, I would wait for the flow of Likes and reassurance that my picture was interesting, pretty, unique, what have you.
And if those Likes didn’t come, I would go into denial about why I didn’t get them. I posted it too early in the day! Everyone is working, duh. These excuses flow out of me as a way to justify that the picture I posted is as cool as I thought it was. At times, (and I KNOW you are guilty of this too) I would contemplate deleting a post because it didn’t receive enough Likes.
There it was all written in this article.
The hard truth about social media and how important it has become in how I see myself. It sounds sad.
Even when I read back that last paragraph, I somewhat cringe. Is this really what my generation and those after me have come to? It’s a frustrating concept to think about. Social media is somewhat of a necessary evil these days because it can help your brand and your work reach levels it never could before. It flows so much information through its avenues that there is just no way we can turn back now. That alone breaks my heart a bit.
I decided I needed a break to get myself back to reality. Disconnect in order to reconnect with my own life and leave others to worry about theirs. I turned off all my notifications and entered into a week without social media. Fascinating realizations happen when you put down your phone. As your mindset changes, you realize just how dependent you are on social technology. And when you start to look at those around you, you see just how bad the problem really is.
When I let go of my social media for that week, my life changed.
I was actively participating in it at 100%. I wasn’t comparing my life to the supermodels I follow on Instagram or all my friends on Facebook who are getting married. I was just blissfully aware of my own well-being, my own life. I was a safer driver, a better friend, an open person, and never once did I actually miss being on my phone. You realize how many small moments you miss when you are looking at that screen. The sweet conversation with the cashier at the grocery store. The funny pun a man makes in a long DMV line. A glance from the cute guy across the coffee shop. A sweet thank you from an elderly man for holding the door open. Even, a small smile from the child waiting at the bus stop.
So, put down your phone and let your life give you all the Likes you need. You have a whole newsfeed right in front of you, it’s just not on a screen.