#OverAndOut — A Social Media Story

Social media. We all have it. I consider myself to be an expert on most of them, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I was highly active on all of these platform. In hindsight, I was addicted.

I posted nearly every week. On Instagram, I have 133 posts, not including the “bad pictures” from the past I’ve deleted. I have over 500 tweets. I wrote a strategy with one of my best friends on how to get a maximum amount of Facebook likes. I unfollowed countless individuals who I “didn’t care enough about” in order to keep my ratio in my favor.

Two years ago, I texted my friend, “Likes are life”. While I was only half-joking, I was also completely half serious.

120 likes — my third best profile picture

Even though I’m not as a devout Catholic as I used to be, I decided to participate in Lent this year. I decided it would be most challenging to give up social media, sans Twitter and Facebook, both of which I needed for journalism classes. Regardless of academic duties, I decided to restrict my access to those sites. I deleted all social media apps from my phone as well.

This Lenten sacrifice had a direct impact on my life almost immediately. The first night, when I went to charge my phone, I found my charge was just under 50%. Normally, my phone would be nearly dead, even with a midday charge.

The first week was tough. I have never felt so alone before. Without social media, I had no idea how the lives of the people I follow was going. What I later realized is that they have no idea how my life was going either. I literally disappeared off the face of the Earth and no one cared.

Isolation led me to do something I haven’t done in a long while — reflect. I asked myself questions such as, “Why do I post?” and “Who really cares about me?”

I can answer one of those questions.

I, along with most other people, post to show off. Sure, posting a challenging picture I took using a DSLR is acceptable, but only because that counts as art. Posting a picture of my family Christmas card is fine because family comes first and everyone should know how awesome they are. However, posting a blurry, low pixel image of my girlfriend and I doing something cute and fun? I posted that to brag to others that I’m dating, not to show how much I appreciate her. She doesn’t need an Instagram post for that.

Apparently I’m cold a lot

Similarly, Snapchat stories exist merely to show all the people you know how fun your life is. People probably know I have a girlfriend. But probably only due to my incessant posting of random pictures of her and I on my story. A lot of people probably know that. But without Snapchat, they wouldn’t know, nor would they care.

I’m only about two weeks into my social media exile. This experiment was only supposed to last 40 days. Now, I’ve decided it will last an indefinite amount of time.

As an aspiring journalist, is it career suicide to give up social media? Probably. I’ll probably have to log back on to Instagram and Snapchat one day. However, with the knowledge I hold, I now know how to behave myself on social media.

I will still continue to add pictures to my Facebook albums — I have relatives that care about me who I don’t always have the time to update. And those who are my true friends will text or call me if they’re really curious about how my life is going.

However, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter(when my journalism class ends), we are #Done-zo.