Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Anti-Social Experiment

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Over a month ago I decided to say goodbye to social media. I deleted my Instagram account, deactivated my Facebook page, and deleted all social media apps from my phone.  It was time for an anti-social experiment. I was curious to see if people would notice my absence and how long it would take.


Over six weeks later and only a handful of people noticed.  Each time it was because they were trying to contact me on Facebook and thought I had blocked them.

Since when has Facebook become the means to communicate with people?  What has happened to a phone call?  What about connecting face to face and meeting with people?

Here are some things I have learned over these last few weeks.
  1. Social media = drama. Since leaving the land of social media my life has become much less dramatic. I have not gotten hurt by people (accidentally or purposefully) nor have I witnessed any tongue lashing between people.
  2. Social media = time away from my family. How many of us are guilty of wasting time on a social media site when we could be interacting with our kids? How many of you are guilty of scrolling through social media at dinner or an event?  I didn't do it all the time, but I will admit that since deleting the social media from my phone, I have been much more attentive to my family.
  3. Social media = too much information. It is so easy to but too much personal information up on social media. First of all, there is a safety issue here, and secondly, most people don't need to know what you are doing every second of the day.
  4. Social media = lack of real relationships.  Just because you are my friend on Facebook, it does not mean you are my best friend. I may not even really know you, yet I am posting pictures of my children and vacation (see above point) and sharing my opinions on politics and religion. (Ok, I never did that, but many people do)  This starts fights and drama (see point one). Also, just because someone liked a picture I posted does not mean we had a meaningful conversation about life. There is a lack of communication these days, and I believe that social media is a huge contributor to the brake down of relationships. Mulling over someone's social media content does not equate to getting coffee together and talking about life. There is a huge disconnect in today's conversations. I want relationships in my life to be different. I want real conversations and emotions, not typos and emojii.
  5. Social media = invasion of privacy. This is related to point #3. Social media is in google. Not only are your "friends" privy to your information, but anyone who googles your name is going to get some information from you. That could be ex's, potential employers, or the creepy guy down the street. Also, social media OWNS you and your information you post, and what you don't post. Facebook actually keeps hold of any comments or status updates that you type out but don't submit. Why?  Just why?
  6. Social media = low self-esteem.  Social media can alter your own perception of your life. Jealousy and envy are sins, my friend, and social media is ripe with temptation. Look who lost weight, has a new house, bought a new car, has a bigger garden, cooked an delicious meal.... It can stack up against your mental health if you let it.
I think there is a time and a place for Facebook.  I even have a Facebook page for my website. I don't have a personal page. Will I go back?  Maybe. I don't know. For now I am a happier person away from it.  Why would I want to add the drama and stress it caused me back into my life? One of my favorite quotes is from an ancient Greek epitaph. "As long as you live, be light-hearted. Let nothing trouble you. Life is only too short and time takes its toll."  With that in mind I say good-bye to Facebook and all the drama it has caused in my life. Life is short and I intend  to keep only the good things in my life. Being a part of my life will require more than just a "like" or a cursory glance at my wall. I want real relationships with real communication with real, live people. Real moments in the real world. Good-bye virtual; hello world.

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