By Victoria de la Cruz
My name is Victoria de la Cruz. I am originally from Barranquilla, Colombia and I am a social media addict.
When I was starting this so called social media detox, I really didn’t know what to expect. We live in a society where we have become so lazy when it comes to human interactions and extremely attached to technological gadgets that I even doubted my ability to complete this detox. It is no novelty in our society that we have lost sense of what truly is important in life: being present. I have been a victim of this many many times but it was only through a revealing moment that I decided to take action and embark in a new experiment.
I decided to do my social media break for an entire week, in which I documented the whole process and gathered all of my feelings. My first day, I was so busy that I didn’t even realize or miss my social media apps (FB, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat), but I did see myself checking my phone multiple times only to be disappointed by the fact that I had no notifications from these apps, and to be honest not many notifications at all. Next day was pretty much the same but the third day was when all of my thoughts started to gather and all of the feelings began to kick in.
For one, I became super judgmental of those who would use their phone and ignore me or use their phone while at dinner, which made me realize that I had been one of those people before. Another strong point is that the only reason why I use my iPhone at all is because of social media. For multiple days, I forgot my phone at home during the evening and I honestly didn’t care. I strictly used it for phone calls, news and a couple of texts. Something that felt very refreshing was that you knew nothing about what people were doing. Let me tell you, this one was very satisfying. I have never felt so great about being disconnected with society because I was enjoying time with my family and friends.
So, do I really need to Snapchat all of the things that go down in my life every single day? Mm, I don’t think so. Even though I love taking pictures, the obsession with taking pictures of every minutes of our lives has gone a little too far. I am being brutally honest here by saying that I text and snap while I drive which I really know now that makes no sense at all. In general, I didn’t find myself taking many photos just one or two family pictures which is very surprising considering the outrageous amount of photos that I have on my phone.
Dear Millenials, God have we become narcissistic! As Time magazine stated last year, we have become the me me me generation. It is all about us, and we forget that other people exist and that its not all about us. Let me break this down in another way, we have become so obsessed with our looks that we seek self validation through social media. We have become so insecure with ourselves because we are obsessing over what other people have, what other people look like and mainly just obsessed with other people (celebrities, fitness models, the list goes on). I am not criticizing the platform at all but rather our attitude towards it.
Social media is an amazing tool to reach people, share common interests and network. I believe that we need to learn how to use social media in a way that it doesn’t get in the way of true and emotional human interactions. This social media detox was very eye opening. I honestly think I had or probably still have a social media addiction problem, which is something that little by little, I have the urge to change.
My piece of advice to everyone out there is mostly to: Live in the moment. Be in the moment. Be present. Talk to people, socialize in person. I know for some of us social media has become a defense mechanism because we feel that we turn to our phones when things get “awkward”. Don’t be afraid of things being awkward, its life – nobody or anything is perfect, so why are we so obsessed with portraying perfection?
Last but not least, it is great to use social media as a tool to stay in contact with your friends who live abroad, but don’t let it become your gateway to gossip about other people’s life. Take a step forward and put your phone down, you will see things from a different perspective. I suggest you to try a social media detox every once in a while –you will soon realize that you are so obsessed with a virtual world that you miss the beauty in the actual word.