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A Social Media Sabbatical

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A revolution has occurred in our generation; one that is so expansive it is unfathomable. This revolution is taking place in the current moment, behind seemingly harmless screens of all different sizes all over the world. This revolution deprives those who partake in it of privacy, filtration, safety, and reality. It has caused death, anger, oversharing; it has caused love, connection, advancement. A revolution so dramatic, so previously unheard of, that it is its own enigma. This revolution is social media, and it has defined our generation.

In the digital age, isolating oneself from social media is virtually unheard of. Millions of people utilize at least one or more of the apps, and this number is inevitably increasing. It has become an unexplained addiction; people feel it obligatory to check their phones for likes or comments as soon as they wake in the morning and when they fall asleep at night. People ensure they share posts that boost their credibility and reputation, in hopes of receiving validity from those who follow their content. It’s most often a popularity contest between friends and family; proof of how shallow and narcissistic human nature can be. Being entrapped by the societal pressure that entails using social media is far from ideal.

Giving up social media would undoubtedly be considered going against the grain. It’s almost shameful how it would take serious willpower and strength not to feel compelled to check on what 5-star restaurant your favorite celebrity attended over the weekend or if your crush responded to your direct message. The urge comes as second nature to those who have become acquainted with checking social media for more than twice a day. The idea of letting go is so utterly compelling, but in a world where profiles dominate, would it be realistic?

As a New Year’s resolution, I vowed to give up social media for a couple of weeks at most. During those weeks, I surprisingly did not find myself wanting to post any pictures to update people I barely spoke to about things that were, in the grand scheme of things, exceedingly unimportant. I found that I enjoyed and, in certain cases, did not enjoy my experiences to their full extent without having the desire to snap a photo of them and share with others. I did not feel unhappy that friends were having fun without me because I did not know they were having fun without me. When deprived of social media, you realize that it is the true link between knowing what those around you are doing outside of the classroom. I enjoyed the idea of this; knowing that I did not know what they were doing, and that they did not know what I was doing. I did not have anyone to compare myself to and, on the contrary, no one had to compare themselves to me. It was the first time in years that I was living with true anonymity, and, boy, was I living. ‘

In essence, I learned that social media was not a necessary component of my life as I once thought it was. In small doses, it is nice to be updated in terms of global and local news so rapidly, as well as what friends and family are up to. However, I firmly believe that social media is overused and it robs us of any true sense of humanity we have left. I am aware that this is a strong and hypocritical opinion for someone who uses social media so frequently, but until I see these platforms used for advancement rather than regression, my opinion stands firm.

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A Social Media Sabbatical