Tuesday, October 10, 2017


In honor of World Mental Health Day I wanted to share my reason for taking a break from social media and what I got out of it. 

I remember a question popping into my head earlier in the year which was
“Am I gonna be 30 trying to keep up with social media?”
It sounds pretty silly right, well let me try to explain. 
Social media plays a huge role in our generation today. It is the root to how people receive news, how people interact amongst each other, and sadly enough how people stay up to date with just about everything and everyone. 

In high school I remember always being on my phone listening to music and staying up to date on articles, which is what led me to pick my major in college. Around senior year of high school I remember my friends always taking videos during lunch, and when I asked why, their response was simply “Snapchat”.

I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty intrigued to learn what this was, so like many other teenagers, I made an account not really knowing how to use it. After a few weeks of opening the app every few hours I finally understood how to go about it. 

I would spend hours going back and forth between apps on my phone, which at the time, didn’t seem wrong, but the more I think about it now, the more it makes me upset. Now my point here is not to convince you social media is bad for you, because if that was the case not only would that make me a hypocrite, but I’d also be introducing you with studies from people who actually know what they’re talking about. I’m simply just trying to share the moment I realized I was way deep into this social media empire.

Remember the days when taking pictures of your food started becoming a thing on Instagram? I think that’s when the craze began. In reality it wasn’t so much about the food, but instead, because everyone else was doing it, you were pretty much forced to keep up with the trend. I think its important to take note of this: everyone else was doing it. This will help further explain. 

Today I use social media as a way of staying up to date with news going on around the world, I use it to stay in touch with family members and friends who live far away, as well as a way to express myself, whether its through pictures I post on Instagram, or text forming my opinions.

 Instagram has never affected me in a negative way, simply because I use it as a picture diary. I simply use the app to post a picture and later use print studio to print the pictures & put them up on my wall. I enjoy going back through my feed and reliving memories, (which I try not to delete unless its involves birthday posts). I used to be careful about who I allowed to see my feed and would block people from school, until one day I stopped caring. 

Unfortunately Instagram isn’t the only social media platform I have had experiences with. 

From the beginning of me logging into the world of Snapchat I noted a huge difference. Snapchat was a place where people put just about everything they didn’t post on Instagram or Twitter, it had a personal side to it. If you’re anything like me, personal stuff kind of weirds you out. Any of my friends would tell you I don’t like to share a lot of my personal life, maybe a few glimpses, but I have a weird thing about opening up to people. Now for someone who’s like me it may seem weird that I even considered keeping up with Snapchat for any longer than a week. Here’s where the problem began. 

I quickly learned all the features of Snapchat which included things like filters, stories, and friend streaks. It already sounds like way too much to keep up with right? Well as time went on the features grew making it almost impossible to not know what everyone was up to. I was “friends” with people I barely knew simply because keeping up with everyone was a thing. Snapchat really did take over my life. I would click and refresh the app every few hours if not minutes, and watch people sing to their cameras, drink tequila shots, and embarrass their friends using filters. In our generation this seems to be pretty normal, well I thought that was the case too which is why I began doing it. I would hang out with my friends, my phone always in hand. I would freak out when the time clock would appear next to someone’s name following by a number of days on the verge of disappearing. I would post my whereabouts hoping people watched. It simply became an obsession. 

The obsession only continued to grow, that when I would be having lunch with friends who weren’t into social media, it was awkward to have to sneak a picture of them or the food to show others what I was doing. I actually remember an occasion where I got into this huge argument with my brother who was simply asking me to put my phone away when we were having lunch. My brother and I used to grab food to catch up and talk about life, but during this time I was having a hard time separating my reality with what I was trying to convince others of. I actually remember him telling me I had to stop being on my phone 24/7 and actually enjoy having a real conversation without my phone. I was not only mad but felt disrespected when he said this. I ignored the situation and carried on with my life. Another situation occurred when I was out with a few friends and was posting videos of us hanging out. I must admit I’m awful at texting but I remember ignoring texts coming into my phone. It didn’t seem like a big deal until I realized these individuals could note I was on my phone after watching the ten second videos I was blasting Snapchat with. 

I want to take a minute to mention the friend streak feature on snapchat because I was talking to a friend not too long about it over lunch. I want to share an example of a time I began realizing social media was affecting me. A little over a year ago I was going through a few things, one of them being dealing with the death of my grandma. This event came so sudden and had a really huge impact on me, I’m not lying when I say it was HARD. I, at the time, was going through a huge transition with myself as I fell into a little hole of depression. I had a few friends at the time who were aware of my grandma’s death and never bothered to check up on me. This is where my anxiety took a toll on me as I felt like there was no one I could really talk to aside from my family. While this was all happening I was still trying to live a normal life both off the internet as well as online. I was snap chatting a little less but still trying to keep up with everything going on. The friend streak features plays into this as I remember people blasting me with a reminder to snap them back before our streak would end. One day I realized something: Wait… how are these “friends” worried way more about keeping our friendship alive online, but can’t bother to ask me how I’m doing in real life. 

I promise Snapchat isn’t the only social media platform that played a role. I remember the days I used to log onto Twitter to cover Giants baseball, fashion, and blogging. At the time Twitter was fun, I met some really cool people who were using this platform for the same thing. While I was living this private life online I never once mentioned my blog or social media accounts with people in my life aside from my brother. I liked the privacy of it and being able to say just about anything. Somewhere along time I began following my friends online and everything that came with the reality of it including subtweets. 

I don’t think social media is all bad, I mean I am pursing a journalism degree in a time where social media has taken over the newspaper industry, so who am I to convince you? I still to this day use social media, and I still do share glimpses into my life. However over the last two-three months I have grown an interest on finding time to be offline and enjoying my reality. I find myself not hesitating to find a charging station and not worrying about catching every moment on my phone and simply living in the moment. To think this never existed in previous generations is something that comes across my mind everyday. I want to emphasize the importance on clearing your mind and giving yourself mental days to focus on your own life instead of someone’s else’s. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, social media can take a toll on an individual and it shouldn’t be hard to admit, because everyone goes through the obsession stage, all I’m trying to say is… be able to notice it and step away when necessary. Remember that friend streaks online shouldn’t define your friendships offline, and that you shouldn’t feel obligated to post a 10 second clip on a daily basis, in fact I encourage you to try to take a week off of social media. 

"We all care what people think of us. We all want to feel accepted. We all want to feel liked. Social media multiplies those thoughts and feelings without us even realizing it." 
-Jason Took (JasdonDoesStuff)

If you want to read an awesome article on social media detox before you give it a try yourself I will link this article. Jason did a 30 day social media detox and kept a journal on his feelings and the process.
Please read! Not only is it accurate, but he provides more links that might be interesting to you.

Happy Mental Health Day 💛

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