Last week, my literature class assigned an extra credit project where each student is encouraged to give up social media for a week. That means I was unable to scroll through Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or any of the good stuff. When my teacher first introduced the project, my classmates all looked at each other with a face that read, “No way.”
But, after considering the average I have in the class and the upcoming difficult assignments that may possibly lower it, I decided that I should take any opportunity I get to maintain a good grade. So, I participated in the project.
When I told my friends I was going to do it, they looked at me in shock.
“So, you’re just going to disconnect yourself from the world that easily?”
Yup. And it was FANTASTIC.
I began to understand what some of my friends meant when they told me that social media is “toxic.” In some ways, it is. People devote so much of their precious lives to this dimension of streaks and hashtags — it’s like a drug. And I’m not going to lie, it sometimes gets to me too. I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m spending time with my friends, I look over at them, and they are on their phones, which upsets me. That is normally when I ask them if they want to actually do something — go to the mall? Eat frozen yogurt?
What’s the point of spending time with someone if they’re spending time with everyone else’s virtual lives?
This project most certainly taught me something. I learned that my life isn’t worth documenting on a source of which pretty much everyone has the right to critically judge. I shouldn’t have to worry about what people think when they look at my Instagram or Snapchat stories. Why does it matter so much, anyway?
However, I’m not going to delete social media. It obviously is a great part of how the world works nowadays, and truthfully, I don’t want to miss out on too much. I know that I’m going to use it less, though; when I’m hanging out with my friends, for example, I’m actually going to hang out with them. When I’m walking my dog, I’m going to pay attention to my surroundings and study the pretty spring flowers growing on my neighbors’ yards.
To me, this is worth documenting — but to myself. I want to ingest the small details of things and let those things expand my mind. By doing so, I am glad to know that it makes things a whole lot easier when learning about what truly matters in life.