It's a proven fact that about 85% of millennials own a smartphone and from that pool, 87% of millennials with a smartphone are connected to some form of social media. Millennials from generation X have a really bad reputation for also being known as the 'modern day zombie'. I mean, it'll be no surprise when you walk into any mall or park and see a flock of them walk by you unaware of anything around them but what's going on on their Snapchat stories.
As a millennial myself, I thought I'd take it upon myself to try giving up any social media for an entire month.
I know, I know, it sounds totally insane and masochistic in this time and age--- and it was, don't get me wrong, but the final product of this experience wasn't entirely bad at all. Before you all think I'm totally crazy, just hear me out when I say that despite everyone's doubts I have hope in this generation and I took it upon myself to see what we've been missing as an age group.
Believe it or not I actually enjoyed it.
As a millennial, this week was definitely the hardest. Cutting social media cold turkey was definitely really hard because how would I be able to keep track of my Instagram followers or my Snapchat streaks with my friends?
My first observation? I'd always find myself retreating to the comfort of my phone whenever I'd make awkward eye contact with some creepy guy on the bus or when my mom would bring me along to some family friend's fam jam that I really didn't want to be apart of. It was literally my first instinct and I'd find myself scrolling through Twitter without even realizing it and force myself to peel my eyes off of it before completely changing my mind. I'm sure you can all relate when I say that sometimes we use social media as an excuse to hide and shield ourselves from situations that we really don't feel like getting into.
Don't deny it and try to say that you've never seen an ex fling or just someone you really don't want to make awkward small talk with by pulling our your phone and just mindlessly flicking through Instagram. Don't get me wrong, I still look like an asshole purposely ignoring these people but at least I had some excuse for it.
But during my life without the use of my phone, times were tough sitting on a bus for an hour trying to get to school. I tried listening to music and reading a book but I was extremely fidgety as I tried to resist taking a look at my phone to interact with someone. And it was also unbearable whenever something viral was happening on the internet and I had no idea what was going on. The other day someone told me about how Taylor Swift & Tom Hiddleston had broken up and I had no clue that they were even together...
Yeah, I've got to say that I've had the pleasure of knowing how living in the dark felt like in this day and age.
Weeks Two, Three & Four
Is it totally cliche to say that my life has changed from just three weeks of this experiment? Well, I didn't reach enlightenment or have seen Jesus just yet, but these past two weeks were definitely easier and even refreshing. Because of my commitment to staying offline this month, you definitely start to notice everything. Instead of trying to take a selfie of myself and the sunset, I got to enjoy the view and soak in the sunset. I even remember going to a mall and immediately noticed the amount of people just blindly walking and typing at the same time.
When you think about it, it's actually scary how much people prioritize the amount of likes on their photo over the poor old lady standing on the bus looking for a seat (don't worry, society is not dead quite yet and somebody eventually gave her a seat as I was standing up as well).
It's not that my life was entirely changed but it was nice to take a break from being chained to my phone and having a responsibility to be all over whatever social media drama is happening and just living in the moment. I remember going to last year's Big Bang: MADE concert and what 100% regret from my experience was enjoying the concert through my cellphone screen.
Yeah I got the perfect Instagram shots but when my phone eventually died, I was ten times more pumped and felt like the past 3/4 of the concert flew over my head without even noticing it. That being said, from this experience I was able to just live and learn to not give a shit about how my social media feeds are looking.
At first I thought that due to my lack of interaction with the world on the internet I was less connected to the world and my friends. Little did I know that I was able to concentrate on who I was spending time with more clearly and that the crazy shit happening on the news deserves more of the world's attention than Kylie Jenner's blonde hair. And can I just say that it is so fvcking annoying when you're spending time with your friends and instead of listening to your incredibly hilarious story (well, at least that's what I think about my jokes anyway) you look up to see your friend on their phone taking a foodie pic.
It's been a few days since I was able to post my first selfiesnap announcing my return on social media and to say I've quickly bounced back to my old ways. To be fair, I'm a media student in university so it's kind of essential to be connected despite how freeing it was to not be so connected.
But I've gotta say that I've learned to drive through my everyday with a new lense in mind.
Yeah, I'm back on social media but at the same time you learn to balance your priorities when you realize what you're missing which is some fresh air from all this social media craze.
It's a good thing to be connected with the world, but just remember that life isn't measured through gigabytes-- it's measured by the moments you can never get back but always look back on.
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