Years ago, six to be exact, I said goodbye to Facebook. After becoming numb to the constant updates involving everything from what my friends had for lunch to just how exciting their Friday night was, I decided that particular social media platform wasn’t for me anymore.
While many people argue that social media brings us closer together, I felt a disconnect from those that I had once been closest with. Gone were the days of picking up a phone and calling a friend with good news, now all I had to do was type it out and wait for the “likes” to roll in. People that I would normally have no contact with were available to reach by instant messenger, and it created an eerie online community of people talking – without really communicating at all.
Perhaps what is still most surprising is the reaction I get from people when they ask to add me on Facebook. “I don’t have Facebook”, invokes wide eyes, followed by jokes about being too old, or living under a rock (I’m 29, FYI). This was most noticeable when I decided to go back to university this past fall, where I experienced these reactions from the fresh out of high school crowd. I normally followed it up with “but I have Instagram!” Or at least I did, until a month ago, when I realized I was staring at my phone for up to 2 hours on that app.
I differentiate this blog (or blogging in general) from the other types of social media by classifying the likes of Facebook and Instagram as “junk-food social media”, in which there is a constant feed of minimal content to feed you. Writing this, and reading the musings of others, is enriching. It’s content that goes from the eyes to the brain, instead of the mindless content of junk-food social media that goes through the mouth to the stomach.
What was left? Snapchat. Surely this was a little different. This was meant to take pictures or videos and send to people, which seemed a lot less neurotic than the earlier social media sites. But I soon fell into the same habit. Why exactly did I care how many people viewed my “story”? Did I truly gain anything from knowing people where looking at a picture, or watching a 30 second clip of myself?
So goodbye to Snapchat, as I begin to clean up the clutter in my life. In an effort to stare at screens less (although of course I’m staring at one right now, aren’t I?) I’ve eliminated all social media. Since I have already gone without Facebook, followed much later by Instagram, I know that the people who want to keep in touch will keep in touch, and I’m looking forward to conversations that are enriched with the long lost art of truly connecting with someone, speaking and all.