100 days without social media

The idea of a 100 day social media strike suddenly came to my mind and I decided to kickstart it. I've been toying with the idea for a while already and now finally the final blow came to let go of my addiction.
My swimmers www.disturb.fi


Penny had a high fever and we rushed to the hospital with Stuart. My first thought while my little daughter lay in the hospital bed was should I take a picture and tag us at Singleton hospital and say that the baby has a high fever. Instantly, I felt like I was a disgusting human being. How could I even be thinking such a thing when the tiny one is sick and needs me, her mother. It made me think what is wrong in my head to even be thinking that while she's being medicated in a hospital bed. I considered myself a repulsive mother.

That day I realized how my social media addiction controlled my life. How likes, follows, comments, and what other people are doing had become like a drug to me and I needed to get a new hit by fiddling with my phone many times a day. I had my nose stuck to my phone's screen everywhere. On car rides, at friends' houses, at the supermarket, on the beach, on the street, while driving a quad, in restaurants, while visiting relatives, in bed, absolutely everywhere I was checking my phone, why? I updated photos and statuses many times a day, wrote positive comments to many, read things others had posted, was present. I was present to people I had never met. I gave my time, energy and attention systematically to everyone. I believed I couldn't withdraw from social media because then I would cease to exist, right? I wouldn't be present anymore and no one would any longer know anything about me. A ridiculous thought now after pondering for two days. Why should anyone know me? Why should I be anything? Why would I mess up everything in my normal life by fiddling with my phone and virtual life? Why would I need likes on my photos, comments or discussions that led to hours of tapping away?

I've now been thinking about this and one reason for sure was that there was a time when I needed all that. I needed that support network from people and that cheering spirit. But all of the other time was just spent propping up my own ego and low self esteem. A nice comment brought a smile to my lips, a shitty comment, however, stayed on my mind for a longer time.

I think social media has over time become more and more addictive, a marketing tool, the embodiment of sexiness and superficiality. There are examples of perfect posts which have nothing to do with the real situation or circumstances. Cropping a photo, planning the content and tagging all the brands. Yes I've done it myself, albeit within the bounds of collaboration contracts with those collaboration partners that I myself like and can recommend. So it's clear as day that everything you see is for sure not what you see. You believe what you see and read, which is what the one posting it wants you to believe. So in the end, where is the authenticity and honesty in the addictive turns of social media. Is it ill-advised to be your own true self, with your messy hair and without makeup, in a messy living room. Who knows, but I myself made a video clip in these circumstances without sugarcoating it at all. I said what I wanted to say about the social media fast and it felt liberating. My chains are now off.

Nowadays it's desirable to tap your phone wherever you are, you're encouraged to do so, it's advertised and turned into a trend. So it's not a bad thing to be on social media, post on youtube or snap continuously, because "everyone else is doing it as well". However, the question in the end is what do we actually get from it, compared to the real life happening outside our phones? What do followers and likes mean to you?

Why is it that people need to imagine that they need to be on display to be something. Am I less now that I'm so to say hiding from the cyber world? Why did I think that I need to feed myself to people to continue being me and worth myself.

Of course it's wonderful to catch up with others and I can still do that as before. Through messenger and whatsapp, so I don't need to be immersed in the news feed of what other people are doing and saying. Why would I want to waste even one second watching some online video of some barbie doll raping a stuffed pig up the rectum? Somehow the whole thing began to be so crazily addictive that it wasn't possible to even understand how it took me along.

Pants www.disturb.fi 

Everything that happened around me came second because of fiddling with my phone. Hanging out with friends was mutual phone fiddling showing each other different content both from our own screens. When did life become so enslaving, cold and manipulative? Everything I saw on my mobile screen during the day took my attention away from all the life occurring around me. I feel sad about all those top moments and nice memories that I've probably missed due to my addiction.

I was always online. I tapped away continuously and saw my life through a screen. I noticed that I couldn't even get to sleep in the evenings because the bright light of my phone and the facebook feed rolling before my eyes kept my brain active. It was difficult to find peace for sleep.

I uploaded my pictures wanting to keep myself visible. I felt that was important. Important to share my life with everyone because that's apparently what you're supposed to do on social media. At least when scrolling my Facebook news feed I notice that that's what all of us did. So I wasn't any more special than anyone else. Everyone shares everything on social media and that's what it's probably been invented for. What happened to real communication and interaction? You no longer need to call anyone since you already know how they're doing.

It was frightening to see how I had become a prisoner of my phone. It went everywhere with me and there was something in every moment that I could have taken a picture of and posted on social media. Everything became interesting material, if only the picture and the text was inventively combined. It was difficult to notice these behavioral manners because they had become a way of life.

Stuart said, think about it, you would be a millionaire if you had a dollar for every hour you've wasted surfing through social media. I shrugged and said it was necessary. I needed to be on display, to be me, and I'm only managing work stuff here. What a load of crap. It's quite clear that social media addiction makes a person more narcissistic than they were before. I think it's false to claim that anyone posts their own photo in social media and is supposedly not interested in what others comment on it and how many likes the picture gets. Everyone uploads pictures for others to see and each one of them is for sure eager to see how others react to the photos. There's nothing wrong with that, that's what social media is.

The problem is when these traits surpass all other day-to-day things and relationships. When taking a photo is more important than paying attention to your own children, spouse, others present, and life itself. When kids play by themselves and mom sits on the couch tapping away at her phone, commenting in self-loathing on the life of other mothers. When couples lie next to each other in bed fiddling with their phones and when the phone screen is between your eyes and the road while driving. Relationships grow cold, children grow up, accidents occur and crashes happen. That's when you notice you're a social media slave. Don't get me wrong, I was probably worse that a lot of you. I realize that now.

Social media pulls you into its depths. I luckily didn't do anything so bad that I would now regret it in hindsight. It's good that I woke up in time. There's a time for everything and excess is never good. Maybe this 100 days will be a tough learning experience and will bring about self-reflection and growth as a human being, now that I have time for that. I'm  waiting with anticipation when the withdrawal symptoms will begin and what they'll be like. Feelings after these two days are through the roof. The first feeling was silence, in the morning I didn't grab my phone in my hand so the information flood didn't fill my mind. I feel free, no one knows where I am and what I'm doing and what I look like. It's a feeling of me owning my own life now. I feel energized, I've gotten so much done, and I have so much time for little Penny that it makes me wonder did all my time go to scrolling my phone? What all did I miss?

This blog was in Collaboration with Disturb.fi & Amadastore.fi


Translated from the original Finnish text by Stiina Rasimus-Sahari

Kommentit

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