Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why I deleted social media apps from my phone.

I love my iphone. I love social media. Something about it is so cool. It bridges communication that otherwise would be non-existent. I have a large extended family in many different states and I go to school two hours away from home. I think it’s amazing that I can stay connected while we’re all so far apart. However, personally it seems this connection can morph into constant communication and sometimes obsession. I've been so challenged by the idea of social media, how much it consumes my life and what the point of it really is.

At one point, I was reviewing creeping through pictures from this big event that ALL of my friends from back home went to. It looked like so much fun. I was jealous and I felt left out. Logically, I knew that I wasn't actually left out. I was even invited; it was on my end that I couldn't go. Still, there’s something about watching everyone relive the awesomeness of the night before on Facebook that strikes a chord somewhere in me. After wading through the “I miss home, I’m miserable” thoughts, I did some processing. I realized something about Facebook- mostly it seems we post to say, Look at me! my life is awesome or my life sucks. I felt convicted. Is this how people feel when they see my posts? (I mean, there is a slight chance that I’m the only crazy one who cares) Everyone who was there that night knew it was fun, so why are they still posting? Why do I post? It made me question my real reasons for social media. Is it really the age old excuse I use, “I want to keep everyone back home up to date with my life” read: I feel homesick and lonely and left out, if they like this status it means they still love me. Why am I turning to social media for reassurance when my relationships are built on so much more? Even more than that, my self-worth and assurance should be in God, and clearly at this point, it was not.

After wrestling with these ideas, I decided to make a change.  I deleted social media apps from my phone and seriously limited its use. I realized there was a major issue when I began hinging some of my self-worth in my popularity of social media. I decided to take the plunge into deleting it when I actually thought to myself, “I haven’t been getting a lot of likes lately, have people forgotten about me?” I dove  from typical technology obsessed young adult to psycho, sometimes it’s a fine line and I just crossed it.
After prayer and consideration—I decided to go for it. Of course, after posting a status about it and checking diligently how many likes I got, old habits die hard. (39, in case you were curious) So either 39 people feel the same way about their social media usage or 39 people are happy I am going to be posting less.

I tried to articulate why I felt this was so necessary and came up with 3 main points;

It’s a huge distraction. I don’t know what it is about constant stimulation but I seem to become unnervingly uncomfortable when I have to just… sit. I don’t like it one bit when I don’t have anything to distract myself (i.e my PHONE) Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with scrolling through your phone in a waiting room. I think there’s something wrong with scrolling through your phone in a waiting room, when you’re walking to class, when you’re waiting for class to start, in the bathroom, when you wake up in the morning, before bed, in between classes, in the drive thru, when your friends are talking, at meals, when you wake up in the middle of the night, the list goes on. My phone literally holds anything I could possibly want to look at online so of course it’s hard not to look at but there’s no excuse to be so attached. It distracts from my homework, class time, my friends, conversations. I need become more concerned about what is in front of me and less distracted by what is not.

It breeds negative feelings. If you tell me you've never looked at anything on face book and felt jealous or resentment towards someone, you’re lying or a much better person than I am. If you've never looked at something on social media and judged someone, again you’re a liar or you’re a much better person than I am.  Social media is our way of showing the world our highlight reel. Our awesome vacations and the adorable kids in our lives are plastered all over our walls—which I think most people want to see in moderation. Then I post pictures of my meals, screen shots of conversations, the starbucks cup with my name written on it, the sweet things my little sister said, the funny things my mom says; the list goes on. I think this is when it goes overboard—it’s just a way of showing off what I have. When people are posting pictures of the awesome things they’re doing together someone is bound to feel left out or forgotten. Social media in moderation and using it for its intended uses (So my mom knows I’m alive and so my friends can remember how hilarious I am) is completely fine but I think there’s a line between feeling connecting and showing off. It’s a fine line and I personally tend to be on the showing off side or feeling left out side. I want to fix that.

It hinders my relationships—My friends are probably more used to the back of my phone (at least my case is fabulous, right?) than my face. They’re used to me living our time together through a screen, and uploading the cutest pictures. They’re used to having the things they say quoted and tagged in a status. But 'they're used to it' is not a substitute for it being acceptable. My relationships, my real live, off line relationships should take priority. Even if I’m “checking up on friends back home” I need to put down the phone and enjoy what I have, even if it’s not always what I want. Of course I’d rather not be in class- but I’m lucky to be there and the pictures of my friends’ kids can wait. If I’m spending 3 hours facetiming people from back home, what am I missing happening in the lives of my friends’ right here, at school? Yes, I miss home like crazy but I love the people here and they’re in my lives for a reason. They deserve my attention, without my phone in my hand. My relationships deserve to be priority.

So here's to one of the most unnerving decisions I've made. I'm hoping to develop a more solid trust in myself, my relationships and most importantly my  relationship with God. 


No comments:

Post a Comment