Dakotah Harris
September 29, 2015


Lost In Real Life

          This era in our society is an era of knowing. Knowing can lead us to strong relationships with people from all over the world and to diverse plethora of ideas that before we could not be cognizant of. We can know more people from more places than ever possible in a time before now. This is the digital age and with that comes social media. Social media is something we almost all have in some form, and any one of us could say we’ve met, or at least seen the profile of, someone we may never had if we didn’t use it. I know for me the biggest advantage of social media is being able to stay connected with people I don’t get to see everyday. I have friends in several different states who are still very close to me, and I want to stay a part of their lives. I snapchat, share, and comment to stay in touch with them, and I don’t remember what it’s like to not see them everyday, albeit through the medium of social media. So through foisting the temporary abandonment of my social medias I am going to start an “Offline Blog” and share my experiences, emotions, thoughts, and perhaps even new philosophies. I am going to take a step back from social media and get lost in real life.


I Did Not “Like” It
Tuesday the 29th of September at 8:37 p.m.

          Today was the first day of my three-day suspension from social media. The only way I choose to access my accounts are through my phone, so yesterday I thought it advantageous to put all of my social apps on a different page in my phone, essentially creating my own Chernobyl. This revealed itself, rather soon, to be a well-decided move. When I awoke this morning I saw that through the night, while I had been sleeping, three Snapchats had been sent to my phone. In my just-woken, hazy state, I unlocked my phone planning to view them, which would thus break my fast before the first sunrise. Having to make the previously unnecessary swipe to the left gave me enough of a reminder to stop myself abruptly. I did not open the app and left the snapchats abandoned. The preservation of my commitment was of course quintessential; however, recognizing that someone had tried to share some kind on information with me was pestering. The irritation is still with me now, and the red notification bubble, perching itself so proudly on my app, still boasts a white three.
          Luckily, my other social apps do not give me any sort of alert when something happens I would normally go to view. On reconsideration though, I’m not sure if my ignorance from what I don’t know is better than realizing there is something I want to know. Allow me to explain.
          The world will certainly not stop itself and wait for me to witness it before moving again. I can almost guarantee that one, if not more, of my followers have posted something on Instagram, but I don’t know that for certain. Instagram’s app could be down. Everyone could be going through the same abstinence I am, and I would have know way of knowing. Malfunctions in the servers of Instagram have happened before and word of it has spread. The biggest way though was through Twitter another popular social network. This means it”s unlikely I would know of any malfunction. Most likely Instagram is up working fine and my friends are sharing their lives with one another. Certainly I could call and ask them if anything happened worth sharing, but in today’s high pace world who has time to call all of those people?
          Overall, today hasn't been terrible. I would rather have the ability to be in touch with my friends but waiting isn't detrimental to my sanity. These effects of a day without social media may be portrayed in some exaggerated cartoon of a teenage girl that looses her phone and goes berserk, but for me they are nothing but exaggeration. I’m making my way ok so far. I will report back tomorrow.


 I Am Constantly “Twittering” My Thumbs
Wednesday the 30th of September 2015 at 8:15 p.m.

          The bubble now shows a perturbing seven. I will admit feeling tempted by a set of digital code that is apathetic to me. I know it cares not how I feel, but I have an undeniable emotional reaction. All I want is to open the app and dissolve the notification from its current, and seemingly permanent, unwelcome hostel. I can’t help but laugh on reflection of my own misery. The kindred bond between my cognition and physical body both chuckle at the overdrawn anger I have towards nothing more that a simple red sticker. To me this side effect of my disavow from social media is worth my heightened emotions.
          It’s ironic that real people are causing me “virtual pain”. I did not let those who I regularly interact with through social media know of the personal venture I had taken. I felt this would only sway them to not send, post, and share with me as they would in conventional circumstances and that would take away from the experience altogether. Now, I see they have inadvertently purged me with a festering distraction I can only describe as the utmost annoying.       
          I don’t know who sent the snapchats, and I have undoubtedly decided recognizing my ignorance is much worse than being oblivious to the existences of the information all together. It is most likely that whatever the pictures capture and whatever banner is written across them will have no major effect on myself or how I behave. I believe the reason I seem to be so powerfully affected by the red circle is in the past it informing me I was going to learn something new. I believe we as an evolved and thinking species are most excited when our brains are about to receive new information, and the red dot to me is to having a stick and string hold a carrot in front of a rabbit’s face. The carrot dangles close enough to cause frustration but not enough to merit reward.
          I have been using a friend, at his volunteering, to tell me how I have appeared to change in disclosing my moods to outside minds as I continue to go without my social media. Today without any encouragement he told me I hadn't seemed to change much. This made me pause for a second. I doubtlessly know I am feeling a change inside. The lulls in my day that were once filled with browsing one of my social apps have deferred  to the twiddling of my thumbs. The movement feels almost as natural as breathing, and I suppose on some levels it is. Thumbs are certainly the steering wheel when navigating your way through social media. Without having that to do mine move in perpetual circular paths making them almost appear to be loading, waiting until some information is ready to navigate.        
          Overall, two days without social media has done more to me than I would have thought before the experience. I am hoping for some grand epiphany tomorrow that reveals how I can live just as enjoyably and economically without social media as I can with it. I’m not so sure that will happen.
I in no way think I'm addicted to social media, for I have nothing but integrity keeping myself from scrolling through Instagram while I type this entry. I know I can live without social media, but I would be lying to myself if I didn’t think it made things easier. There are certain normalities that have become apart of how I interact with the people, like opening and sending a snapchat.
          Tomorrow is the last day I have to go without the social apps, and I am eager to see how my mood changes as the day progresses. I am categorically sure I’ll become adrenalized by every second that gets me closer to removing the red circle from my phone, but the degrees of the rest of my emotions will be thrown to the wind. I don’t know if I’ll become relieved knowing I can use my social apps soon or if I’ll be indifferent and become accustom to not having them. I guess I will find out tomorrow, but for now I’ll just go back to twiddling my thumbs.


It Was A “Pinteresting” Experience
Thursday the 1st of October at 9:46 p.m.

          On my final day away from social media, I am most excited to report that my pique has stayed constant in its value today. The red circle shows the same white seven as it did yesterday. Over the time I have had to deal with its presence the grip of the dot on my aggression has begun to loosen. If I were to explain the sudden drop in messages it probably relates to my lack of response to the previous messages. As I have said, the people I interact with on social media most are a small group of my close friends who don't see me often, and only one of those friends has contacted me by means outside of the social media realm. I explained to her the situation and why my reasons for the dismissal of her message should not be taken in a distasteful way. She questioned how I could manage it, but was satisfied with my reply “It’s been ruff”. She gave me a sympathetic nod and said she understood, but that made me think of something completely different altogether.
          If I were to ask random social media users I imagine many of them could not tell me the last time they went a day without checking their social media apps. Supposing they could give me a time, were their reason for not logging on legitimate? Was it perhaps a day when their  charger had broke and their phones died leaving them without the apps? Or was it they were so caught up in work and their real lives they didn’t have time to look? Think about the latter example for a minute. How many people do you think could truthfully say their day was so eventful they couldn't find the time to check Twitter. People mumble the excuse of no time for several other loathsome activities they just don't want to do. Perhaps they didn't answer a phone call because they were too busy at work, or maybe they forgot to send an email because time just seemed to get away from them. Now ask these same people if they looked at their Facebook wall at all that day and see if they found time for that.
          I’ve become unknowingly a part of an increasingly smaller group of people who know what it is like to have social media but ultimately choose to not use it everyday. I have, for an outside reason but still by choice, decided to take myself off social media. By carrying it I can now say I do understand what it is like to not be on social media, but I don't feel a physical withdrawal.
          A lack of social media hasn't made me feel sick. At most it has given me an angst and agitation that, admittedly sometimes felt like it would never leave. I would either have to coexist with the notifications and reminders on my phone, or if not that make my peace knowing that the time I had to be with them was finite. I know what it is like to not have something that we as people in the era of knowing take for granted. The expectation of technology and information has turned us into an impatient society.
          Consider the story by comedian Louis C. K. about the man who gets on a newly renovated airplane. The man in the story takes his seat and over the intercom the pilot booms with the standard verses that are told to all passengers boarding any plane. Then eventually the pilot says, “And please take advantage of all our plane’s new commodities including our free wireless Internet access." The passengers look at each other with affirming nods including our man in his seat. Soon after the plane takes off the wifi begins to malfunction, and our man complains to the flight attendant who can only give a sympathetic apology. The man is upset over not having something he hadn't known existed only a few minutes before. The point is we are now so accustom to having these luxuries we get angry when they're taken away from us.
          As my final day of asceticism draws to a close I realize any hope for an epiphany is frivolous but new ideas to consider aren't scarce. Tomorrow, I will check my social accounts, but it will not be the mindless circular act as before. I now understand that even though we are in an age where information and friends are just a click away, we need to step back and be grateful  for these comforts.
          Social media for us has become an amazing tool for expressing ourselves and showing our best parts to the world. It can get us involved in what’s happening around us and makes us  more productive people. I believe it’s more than just the hashtags and selfies many of us post. What I think I missed most during my experience wasn't some narcissistic need to plaster my face on someone's feed in hopes of earning some affirmation in the form of a like. What I truly missed were the parts of my real life that were bettered by social media, and the conversations, inclusion, and overall entertainment is what makes up the core of that. From now on I will log in and not scroll with shallow intentions. I’ll open my snapchats with the appreciation that I have a way to see my best friends everyday. My logging off, I know now, was a good decision, but I will not have any regrets logging back on tomorrow, and you shouldn't either.