For the past 3 years I have been obsessed with social media and I have finally realised that what I have wasted countless hours on is not real life. I have been consumed in this world that is characterized by the number of likes you get, how many followers you have, and how pretty you are. I let myself be defined by a number. Essena O'Neill has recently announced that she is quitting social media and since then she has been my influence in deactivating my instagram and snapchat accounts and trying to take a break from this business we all take part in. In her last video she talks about how social media isn’t real life and how we have all been sucked into this lifestyle of always being on our phones and having to know exactly where everyone is at every moment of the day. When she said this I immediately connected with her and I was desperate to read more about this movement. She has created a site called “Let's be game changers” http://www.letsbegamechangers.com. This website has tons of different amazing features but one that has truly stuck with me is her Behind the Image tab. On here she shares some of her old photos and tells her followers the truth behind her images. One of her pictures is a photo of her before her 15th birthday dinner and she explains how she had to force her sister to take a million photos of her just to get the perfect one. And how she only took this to put up as her facebook profile picture and pray that she would get 100+ likes. The reason this tab speaks to me to much is because that was my mindset, and that still is the mindset majority of teenagers growing up in this generation.
This mindset has taken over my life. I would only do certain things to take a picture of me doing it, or eat certain things, or even buy certain things, only to post a picture with it. This summer I went to San Francisco with one of my best friends to visit a childhood friend of ours. During this trip we saw amazing things around the city and I ate some of the best food of my life. When I think back on the trip I find that I forget particular memories and I now realise why. The day we went to the farmer's market instead of looking around I was snapchatting because I couldn’t get over all the cool geotags. I was blinded by an app, that honestly I don’t even enjoy. Its sad to think that I acted this way and I am embarrassed when I think back because today I would do anything to just sit on a bench at the farmer's market and watch people interact with each other, because THAT is REAL LIFE. I also was only looking to buy food that looked good in pictures so I could post one on Instagram. Each day on vacation my aspiration was to take a great photo either of my food or myself and post it and try to get it to above 200 likes. This usually happened, but if it didn’t I would delete the photo and would feel rejected. I allowed myself to become dragged down my numbers and social status. I tried telling myself that I didn’t care how many likes I got and people would tell me the photos I posted were so cool and that it’s a great photo but the likes told me otherwise. If I didn't get enough comments I would doubt myself, and wonder if the picture was even worth posting in the first place, most of the time the disbelief and uncertainty takes over and I delete a picture that I truly loved.
This movement is happening NOW and it is our responsibility to change the way our generation acts and communicates because as social media rises we become less and less communal and social in our lives.
Try taking a break from social media for a week and see how you feel. Take this week to look up from your device and focus on things that you usually miss in your day to day lives and you will also find that you have more time to think with a clear, uncluttered mind. Once I clicked the deactivate button on my instagram I felt a wave of joy and relief through my body that was truly indescribable. Not knowing where everyone is every minute of every day is not a bad thing, not even close to one.