I think social media can kill a person.
5 nights ago I made the impulsive and seemingly reckless decision to delete my Instagram and Twitter accounts. For good.
You might think I am crazy, and I confess, I considered I might be, when I realised I would be deleting the last three years of my life, stored, saved and recorded in images and 140 character sentences.
But over the last few weeks I have become aware of how social media, seemingly harmless and fun, can actually have a death grip on our actual real life lives.
We have all read the articles and bulletins about loners living a life of wild adventures online, while they secretly sit in their mum’s spare room, crying into a bowl of Kellogs as they celebrate their 32nd birthday alone.
I don’t care much for those stories. I think there is truth in the statements that people can now live their lives entirely online in a virtual world, having hundreds of friends but never having one real meaningful conversation. I understand the pull of sob stories of lonely twenty-somethings who have an entire network of global contacts, yet don’t know how to communicate with a real persons standing before them.
I get all of that, but my beef with social media is for another reason.
The issue I have with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is that they glorify the best parts of our lives while we hide away the mundane, ever day stuff, in an ever increasing attempt to appear constantly happy, fun and adventurous.
We put photos on instagram of our best angles and perfect makeup, as if we ALWAYS look like this.We post images of ourselves in exciting places, with exciting people and doing exciting things. I have no issue with having great adventures…this blog is my outlet for mine.
What I do have an issue with, is the result this social media revolution is having on our attitude towards life. I think that we have fallen into a deep dark trap of slowly and gradually comparing every inch of our lives to everyone around us.
We did this without social media. We didn’t need Facebook to know that the pretty blonde girl in our primary school class was cooler and more popular than us. We just knew it.
But I strongly believe social media has made the ability to compare even more subtle and even more dangerous.
We see friends and acquaintance tag themselves at fancy restaurants and envy their disposable income. We witness hilarious tweets from people better looking, smarter and funnier than us.
We compare ourselves to the best bits of everyone around us, and however much we try, we never really quite meet the grade.
Maybe for some of you this has never been the case. Maybe instagram is your photo album for personal use.n Maybe Facebook is the only way to contact that old childhood friend, and maybe Twitter is real just a tool for keeping up with the latest sports news.
I’m prepared to be brutally honest and say that for me it started out that way but pretty soon you start watching other people, you start wanting what they have, coveting their experiences and returning to their homepage more and more and more, pretending that we are just interested while we subconsiously buy similar clothes, throw more parties and use the same photo filters…
I willingly confess that in my time I have been to an event, a meeting and to social engagements hoping that at the end of the night people would judge my photograph of the evening as the best.
I think social media is like a drug, where you feel like it gives to you but really all it is doing is stripping you down of your individuality and ability to be comfortable in the every day life you have.
Likes, comments and shares become the fuel for the underlying desire to have a life that other people envy or look up to.
I am saying all of this from experience. A few years ago I would have laughed at anyone who said social media was just a vaguely disguised way of comparing ourselves to everyone else. I am not naturally that kind of person, but I think the online world demands bigger and better…and God help us if we don’t appease it.
So I deleted my Instagram and Twitter.
Truthfully, I find it weird to open my phone without being greeted by that cunningly friendly blue bird.
It is disappointing to witness the empty notifications box after what could have been a really successful instagram photo.
I even have to figure out something else to read while I’m in the bathroom.
On the plus side there is no more pressure to put up fantastically awesome photos, and no more need to post witty tweets. I hope to never see a retweet or a hashtag again, because I am quite happy living my life for me. For my pleasure and enjoyment.
From now on I am going to stand in the moment and enjoy it. Rather than take my phone out and try to capture the blood red sunset, instead I will just watch it, with my own eyes. And when it is over it is over.
There will be no lasting momentos, Facebook “Check-Ins” or Instagram updates.
I will have been there. And isn’t that enough?
What are we trying to prove with all this flaunting and “networking” and incredulous amounts of time invested into something that can be destroyed in the click of a button.Perhaps you think that I am accusing everyone who uses Twitter and instagram of being soggy-minded insecure sheep. I certainly don’t consider myself one and I still found myself falling into this trap. Maybe you think only a truly insecure person would leave her social media – as I was probably not getting enough likes and my pride was hurt. Think what you want.
In the end, who really cares..?
I am determined to live my life and feel every bit of it with my hands, see it with my own eyes and not share every little part of it with the world.
People in the 1800′s coped without snapchat, and so will I.