Have you ever been in a room full of people and looked up only to realise that everyone is on their phone?

                                                    (Image: Huffington Post)

These images are all to frequent in 21st Century society. Children, teenagers and adults have their head buried in a electronic device on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, sometimes unaware of the people around them. I often wonder how long in a week or in a lifetime people will spend browsing social media as we cannot go anywhere without people talking about it. I have even seen on chat shows the impact social media has on everyday life e.g. ending relationships.

Now, I’m not negative towards social media because I myself am attached to my phone like it is another body part. I sometimes worry extensively about losing my phone, to find it in my hand. Social media has become a haven with me checking it nearly every hour. I wonder what my favourite celebrities are up to; or my friends and family. Am I missing something?  What’s happening in the world?

When used properly social media can be wonderful. It can connect people who are far away. It can allow friends who may not see each other in a long time, to connect much more frequently then before. Events and intimate moments are shared with others instantly. Social media is pretty amazing, in theory.

But with the positives come the negatives. With one big negative I have observed: addiction. Boy is social media addictive. I myself like possibly many others look at one social media and go straight to the over and the next. I sometimes will check all of my social media’s e.g. Twitter (shameless plug alert – add me on Twitter @Theblogster1), Facebook and Instagram – then go straight back to them 10 minutes later.

I often wonder about the effects that social media has indoctrinated on me. I long to remember the days before it all began and wonder without the technology we have now or without social media, what would society be like now?

The Challenge

I am going on a social media ban or blackout to see the effects it has on me and the subconscious behaviours I may have adopted as a result of using social media for nearly ten years from the popular days of MySpace – yes, I am old. I am giving myself a break from all social media for 72 hours. That means no Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. The only contact with humans I am allowing myself electronically is text messaging or phone calls – as well as 1-to-1 verbal discourse.

My Initial Thoughts 

I believe that this will be a breathe of fresh air and despite some resistance, I can think that I can last 72 hours. I am eager to see the results either good or bad and beleive it may lead to some change. It’ll be interesting to also see if I have developed any subconscious traits towards social media.

The Blackout

Day 1 

The first day was a breathe of fresh air. I did not have any urge to check any social media platforms. I actually was quite productive and felt liberated. 

I started the day early and instead of checking Facebook, Twitter etc. I read a chapter of a book, I looked at potential employment opportunities and listed down ideas I had for future blog posts. Though I wasn’t connected with the people in my life as much as I was before, this led me to communicate using other methods. Communicating this way, felt liberating and it was good to have an actual conversation with someone rather than reading about how they were on Social Media.

Day 2 & Day 3 

These days were the same, but I got itchy-finger-syndrome in the afternoon on the second day and throughout day three. I would often go on the Internet and type in the browser to go on Facebook without knowing. Obviously, throughout the years my subconscious has adapted itself to to go on Facebook as a default when going on the Internet. This would  again happen to me throughout the day. I would glance at people and see they were on Facebook. I would get jealous of others who were on Facebook and felt like I was missing out on what was going on in the world. In hindsight any newsworthy story on social media would be available on any news app or website. This actually enlightened me to the fact that I get my news from social media instead of watching or looking at the news (arguably both can be biased or untrustworthy when it comes to the news). 

It was interesting to see the effect on myself from participating in social media for the better part of a decade. It has become ingrained in our 21st Century society and with its pros their are cons. One con of using social media is the constant desire to look at it, though maybe it is not a desire. It could be out of boredom and social media fills this boredom. The biggest pro is the intention that social media is used for: for sharing. If used to share moments in our lives that others can’t see or share with us, it has great potential. If we step back from looking for likes and views, if we move away from superficial reasons like looking at celebrities bodies or envious about others lives – it will have more of an immense impact on out society. We need to look away from our screens and find away we can share that limits our time in front of a screen.

With its advantages and disadvantages social media is not going away anytime soon and if anything, it will only evolve. The question to ask though is, will it evolve to be greater than of will we be forever wandering what the Kardashians are up to?

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