Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Year Without Social Media

I’ve noticed that I’m not as friendly to strangers as I used to be.
Used to, I'd strike up a conversation with the person awkwardly standing with me in the elevator, watching the little numbers light up. I used to smile and wave to the people passing by on the street. Shoot, I'd even become like BFF with the old lady behind me in the line at Taco Bell.

But in the past year, I've noticed that those interactions have become few and far between.

I wondered why, but then I quickly realized the reason...

...I got a smartphone. (Yeah, I know, I was a good 4 or 5 years behind the rest of the world, but whatever).

Now that I had instant access to my facebook or Instagram, I found myself constantly, almost robotically scrolling through the news feed any time I had a second of spare time. It became a habit.

This is something I've noticed in friends as well. If I'm having dinner with 5 people, I guarantee there will be 5 phones sitting on the table, just waiting for the next text message or "like" on Instagram. If there's silence, everyone will revert to updating their status or seeing what everyone else is up to.

Nothing irritates me more than someone whose phone is constantly attached to their palm while I am talking to them. To me this screams, "Whatever I'm looking at on my phone right now is more important than you."

Since when did virtual interactions become more important than real ones?

Don't get me wrong, technology is great! There are amazing benefits to facebook and other types of social media. They are excellent tools for keeping in touch with friends who live far away, and for communicating in general. But it becomes unhealthy when we are so addicted to social media that we don't know how to function without it. The number of "likes" you get for a post does not determine how popular you are. Sometimes we just need to live in the moment, rather than thinking, "Oooh, This would make a great cover photo," or, "Wait! I gotta Instagram this!"

I've found myself saying and thinking these things, and's dumb! I want to experience real life and not just document it.

Social media makes communication easy. But it can also make us lazy. When wondering how "so and so" is doing, I often find myself scrolling through their photos so that I can assume what has been going on in their life. Instead, I could just be really old school and call them to ASK how they've been doing.

I'm tired of living my life through the lens of a screen with photos and little sentences on it.
So for 2014, I’m going to try an experiment. I’m going to go an entire year without facebook, Instagram, or any other social media network that comes up between now and 2015. I'm sure I'll check in occasionally to look at my best friend's wedding and baby photos, etc. But for the most part, I want to be social media sober! After the year is over, I’ll be able to evaluate the pros and cons and decide whether or not to return to the virtual friend world J
I'm going to use the time where I would usually be mindlessly browsing through pictures and statuses to make phone calls, write letters, go on walks, read books, and sit down and talk with people face-to-face.
I'm going to start talking to strangers again (in a non-creepy way...promise).
This isn't a bash on our society or technology. It's simply a realization that for me, I'm spending way too much time on this stuff and it seems to be detracting from reality. Life is short, and I don't want to waste it!
If you need to contact me during my hiatus, feel free to e-mail me at, or check my blog for occasional updates.