It’s official. I’m going to be anti-social for the rest of summer.
I’m going to take a break from Social Media for the next two months of Summer Break, and focus on living life in the present.
This isn’t a random decision out of the blue… I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking over the year, and I’ve come up with several reasons why I need to take a hiatus from Social Media.
I didn’t want to make a list and title it “8 reasons why you should take a break from Social Media”– Doesn’t that sound like the shared links that are flooding your news feeds? Haha, I wonder if I’m the only one who gets annoyed with these lists that sometimes don’t seem to add much value to my life. The number of items on the list barely represents the (often lacklustre) quality of the information in the article.
Instead, I’m going to try to make sense of my thoughts, and hopefully you will catch my drift.
Social media is wonderful, it helps us to connect with old friends, and helps us to keep in touch with friends and family from all over the world. It makes the world a smaller place. Everyone is linked to everyone.
Despite my decision to be anti-social this summer, I have nothing against social media. I just feel that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
Most of us are on some form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and the list goes on and on…
The first reason I need a break is because I feel that social media increases the need for social validation from your online friends. I’m sure you have ever felt the need to check how many ‘likes’ your post has gotten to see if your friends approve or support your post or photo. Perhaps you disagree, but I’m sure you’re posting your photos or tweets up for someone to see since you deem it ‘worthy’ of sharing… and wouldn’t that be looking for a form of social validation as well? That what you are doing is interesting enough to be tweeted/instagrammed? (*cough* instagram worthy *cough*)
Our sense of satisfaction shouldn’t come from the number of likes we get, or the number of ‘favourites’ or ‘retweets’ or ‘shares’ or ‘views’ we get, but from how much we, as individuals, like what we are doing. It shouldn’t be about taking the perfect photo that you know will make you look good, or at least make your life seem happening, it should be about the enjoying the moment and the people you’re with.
We seem to be getting too caught up in capturing the moment that we forget to enjoy it.
With the constantly updating feed of people’s perfectly edited photos and captions about their perfect lives, there is also an unhealthy sense of comparison that comes about as a result. On my part, I felt a pressure to get out there and to lead a less boring life. I felt a need to match up to the glamorous (online) lives of my friends. I was worried that people would judge my appearance since my photos look far from glamorous compared to my friends who look like blogshop models 24/7.
But of course, no one posts their real unglamorous sides online, I mean who would? Your online profile is how you want others to see you, but it far from reflects who you truly are.
I could make myself seem like some super popular, extroverted girl with a super happening social life online, but that’s not who I am. I’m shy, introverted girl who loves my alone time especially after a day out with friends. And I’m proud of that!
Initially, I was rather insecure as I felt that my friends would judge my lack of posts and photos, and deem me as someone with no life.
But then I thought…What exactly is a person with no life?
Just because someone doesn’t have an active online profile doesn’t mean that they have no life. In fact, I think they probably have more of a life than those who are constantly updating and maintaining their online lives. The people who are barely there on social media are often the ones meeting with friends and building meaningful relationships, relationships which do not need to be documented online.
Some of my closest friends barely exist in the social media world. They may not have hundreds of Facebook friends… but they have a treasure trove of true friends that they will keep for a lifetime. And that’s what really matters.
Another thing that I need a break from is stalking.
I see your guilty smirk. I’m guilty of stalking too… we all are! And I don’t want to do that anymore. When we stalk, we tend to judge people based on their past, even if it may not reflect who they are in the present. We see what they chose to post, but that wouldn’t be an accurate depiction of that person.
Stalking also has a focus on judging people based on their appearances, since stalking is mainly done on photos of that person… to see their friends, their social life, their hobbies etc. Stalking is comforting in a sense, since you get a glimpse into lives of your friends before you knew them, and it does give you a better idea of the type of person they could be like. But I want to learn to get to know people for who they are now, and not get to know them with a preconceived notion of what they might be like. I want to know you for you, and not who you were or might have been.
I’ve also been rather put off by the lack of uniqueness that has arisen due to social media.
We see something that is well-received on social media, and we mirror that. I mean who wouldn’t want to be well-liked right? Even if it’s literally in the form of ‘likes’.
But that’s when things get b o r i n g. The flood of instagram photos that all look the same, the #ootds with girls touching their hair, looking at the floor, or faking an overly-enthusiastic smile, or maybe even just keeping long wavy windswept hair and blogshop model-esque clothes that are hallmark of the ideal pretty girl.
I’m nothing like that. And that’s fine by me. Haha. I’m cool with getting dirty, and looking messy… I mean I can’t look fabulous all the time right? (I kid, I barely have fabulous moments).
If you aren’t like the socially defined concept of beauty… so what? You’re beautiful and unique and that’s even better!
We seem afraid to deviate from the norm and be unique because that isn’t what the rest are doing. Maybe social media emphasises this need to be what everyone is, since that’s what’s popular and popular = good. (Well not really, but it’s human nature to want to be accepted)
Even our thoughts and opinions about things seem to be influenced by what the people around us think and agree with.
This conformity to society’s ideals also applies to writing. Well in my case at least. There was a point in time when I got rather jaded, and didn’t want to post much since I felt that I was writing what people wanted to read, rather than what I wanted to write. I’ve been wanting to write about my thoughts, like in this post about running, but I was afraid to, because I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to read my thoughts.
But I decided to go ahead and write what I want, because it’s my blog, and it’s my freedom of expression. I want to write about things other than food reviews, because I want to provoke thinking in my readers, and hopefully help them to think beyond the norm that we have become so comfortable in. I want to write about travel and culture to encourage people to step beyond their comfort zones and not be so afraid of embracing a new culture and way of life. I want to write about health and wellness to help people step away from the rigidity of calories and the idea of the perfect body or weight. I want to write about the most random things simply because I feel like it.
And so I will 😀
Perhaps the scariest thing of all about social media, is how smart it is becoming. Do you not find it creepy that Facebook can recognise you and your friends in your photos before you even tag them?
Our lives are no longer private, and nearly everything we post online can be seen by someone. Even our search history can be accessed if necessary. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve gone incognito.
Big Brother really is watching.
And that scares me.
So here’s to two months of being anti-social.
It’s gonna be exciting, and the best part yet? You won’t see any of it.
…until I blog about my experiences that is! (I will still be blogging, but I just won’t know whether you ‘like’ what I have to share.)
What do I hope to achieve in these two months?
I don’t have high expectations. I know it will be hard to cut off social media just like that. But I’m sure it will be rewarding.
I look forward to living in the moment.
I look forward to interacting with people face-to-face rather than through online conversations.
I look forward to rediscovering who I am, and what i enjoy doing, rather than what society has defined to be ideal.
I look forward to learning about new cultures and stepping out of my comfort zone.
I look forward to being different, and embracing my uniqueness.
Perhaps by becoming anti-social online, I’ll discover what truly being social means.