As my spring break comes to an end, I have been thinking about a lot recently. This entire year, both politically and personally, has had me explore the idea of how social media, or media in general, has influenced our lives and well being.
While in Santa Barbara with my friend, I decided to take a few hours out of each day and turn my phone completely off. In a world dominated by constant communication and technology, I too fall victim to the addiction of the digital age. Checking our texts, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, ext has almost become habitual and an expectation. From applying to jobs, to dating, having a social media presence is almost required. In some way, how we present ourselves to the online world has become more important than how we present ourselves to the people around us.
That being said, before my friend and I went to Santa Barbara, I noticed I had been feeling very stressed and anxious lately and felt it had something to do with my relationship to my phone. I found methodically checking my texts, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, my blog, and repeating that process about 5 times in a 5 minute time frame. I felt that I needed a break when I left my phone at home by accident on the way to an appointment and inevitably, felt calmer in the end. I noticed that I didn’t need my phone in order to have meaningful conversations with people and could enjoy my lunch just as much, without being engrossed on Instagram.
A favorite book of mine I always fall back on regarding this subject is “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle . In her book, Turkle writes about how our relationship with technology has hindered our abilities to have meaningful conversations. She goes on to discuss how social media has forced us to have shallow relationships. While I have issues with Turkel’s main thesis, I do agree that she has a point. Social media can be so beneficial for keeping in touch with friends and family afar, but also can make one’s anxiety worse.
In Santa Barbara, I spent time with my friend and had a great time surfing, eating, and enjoying face to face company While I use my phone for work and other necessities, I have decided going forward, having a few hours to myself is very important. I will always use social media and appreciate the value and power it can have, but I think the art of face to face and personal interactions are just as valuable, if not more.