For months I've been working on my Integrative project that deals with real life damages caused by social media. After exploring these ideas for so long, I've finally deleted all of my social media accounts. Going off of the social grid has been in the back of my mind all semester but was nervous to make such a huge change. Today marks the 3 week anniversary of life without Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. Every time I think about social media, see a site, hear about one, or am showed something on a social media platform, I write about it in a journal. During the first week I had about 3-7 entries a day. Now, I have less and less, sometimes going a day or two without writing.
Currently, I'm home for break and have realized it is a lot easier to be off the social grid here. At school I am constantly surrounded by people that use social media as an essential resource and their online life as the one they feel they most accurately exist on. Everyday I sit on the bus or in lecture and see someone on Facebook. Everyday someone tells me to look at a photo on Instagram. Everyday a friend assumes I saw their Snapchat. At school, it seemed like it was impossible to escape. At home, I hardly bring my phone anywhere. Here, I'm not concerned that someone will contact me and that I'll need to respond immediately out of fear of being excluded.
Social media is all about being a part of something, whether it is the physical website or happenings outside of the online community that appear in documentation online. It bothers me that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etcetera are all about showing off what you have and what you're doing. What about the person who is excluded from what you have and what you're doing? With social media platforms, we believe we are glorified for our possessions and experiences. We continue to post to gain assurance towards our lifestyle. However, we are constantly comparing our lifestyle to other's. There's always someone with something better. As a result, we curate ourselves more and more. I believe that this curation is damaging to our emotional wellbeing.
Additionally, I had a brief Snapchat relapse that brought me sadness and anger. I looked at snaps my friends sent me, most of which from events I was not invited to or in attendance. Having these experiences shoved in my face felt odd to me. I'd rather not know that I wasn't a part of something than have to experience it secondhand. Going on Snapchat for a short amount of time made me realize how happy I am being off of it. I'll never know what I'm missing and I've been living a much happier and more productive life.