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Killer Likes

Will social media destroy us? (The Experiment)

By Denilia BluePublished 6 years ago 10 min read

Social media is a great way to connect with people from around the world. It can be a great platform for people to start businesses and earn money. But it has a dark side. A side that takes us away from reality. It can recreate a person's life. Carefully chosen photos, videos, and posts give us a glimpse into the parts of a person's life they want us to see.

So what does that mean for us and our impressionable minds.

The Experiment

Social media is everywhere. To give you some statistics, the average person has at least five social media accounts. Teens and young adults spend up to six hours a day on social media, and on average consume eighteen hours of media a day.

We've all heard the arguments about social media actually making us less social, creating a barrier between us and the real world. In a world full of constant chit-chatter between people, how is it possible we can feel more alone than ever?

People love to talk about the internet as though it has no power "Oh, it's not real, people shouldn't take it so seriously" but I disagree. It has ended people's careers, caused riots, and started real-life trends, that's pretty powerful to me. The internet is the new reality.

Besides the insecurities it encourages or the instant gratification it installs in us, how else does it affect us? It is with us every minute of the day in our pockets. We have a world of information at our fingertips.

We can watch people's lives on demand. Is that healthy? Reality shows, Snapchat stories, Facebook videos — we are watching people do amazing things every day. Can that cause you to re-evaluate your own life. What if you're not doing as great as they are, how could that make one feel? What if they're younger than you yet financially well off, what type of damage does that do to your self-esteem?

No, we should never compare, but it's hard not to when you have thousands of people's lives in your hand to watch at any moment. So I decided to do an experiment.

I wanted to see how much my phone changed me, if it had any effects at all? And if not consciously was it affecting my subconscious. Did it really distract me as much as I thought? And would there be a drastic change without it? So I turned my phone off for a month.


Okay so I told a slight lie, I initially didn't come up with the idea to turn my phone off for a month, actually the charger broke. But as I am a major procrastinator and had no desire to get a new one, I thought let's see what happens if I leave it off for a month, and so I did.

Now I love my phone. It offers me comfort and entertainment. It is a welcome distraction when I have nothing to do and is always there to direct me to my destination *sniffles* where would I be without it. So not using it for a whole month would be difficult, but I put myself to the task.

But before I go on I would like to say this article is for those who find they may be a little phone obsessed, the types that struggle to leave the house without it. The "I need to Instagram my food" type of people you know?

Or even if you find social media actually makes you a little bit depressed. If you are none of the above then this article may sound a bit crazy to you.

Instant Changes

A few odd things started to happen straight away. After a few days I found I enjoyed waking up in the morning. Now you might be one of those people who enjoy getting up anyway and I am in the minority here but I love my sleep more than life, if I could sleep forever I would. On my days off if I wake up any earlier than twelve my family actually asks me if I'm okay...that's how much I enjoy it, so this was strange for me. I liked getting up and going to work, looking forward to socialising with people.

Instead of waking up and taking my routine twenty minutes to browse my phone, I would get straight up as I had no phone to stop me.

I would get to work ready to start the day off right. Instead of going straight to the staff room to sit on my phone I would start a little chat with security, say hi to the people I would see around the building. I was taking more interest in what was going on around me.

I would get to work early without trouble. I was more organised. I would have time to eat breakfast in the morning and this was just the first few days.

Awkward Journeys

However journeys were a nightmare, I felt like an alien. I realized how much I relied on my phone when going around London. I can honestly say I do not enjoy staring into nothingness while on the bus.

But do you know what is worse? Not having Google Maps, or City Mapper or anything to direct my lost soul because let me tell you, I got lost more times then I can count. And you truly do not know how fragile you are until you find yourself wondering around Shoreditch at 9pm in the rain! Looking for the train station, asking every stranger that walks by and getting the vaguest of answers... yes, I did cry. And I didn't stop until I found the station. I was so tempted to buy a charger and forget the whole thing because nobody likes being lost man!

But on the bright side, that was the nearest I got to a mental breakdown.

On my days off I would write. Something I had failed to do for a long time, lacking any enthusiasm. But now I had no distractions and it forced me to get back on the ball again. For hours I would sit writing and I would feel happy, thoughts of my phone were now far and few between. My concentration was definitely getting better.

In fact I managed to write seven chapters of a new book I'm writing. This was a major achievement for me. Something I feel I may not have done if I would have had my phone.

I had time to think.

My Space to Think :)

I truly believe that having time to yourself is imperative to the soul. And I'm not talking fifteen minutes, I mean a few days, time to really think about yourself or life, friends. Just some time to look at everything, maybe just appreciate everything you have or just looking at your state of mind and making sure it is in good condition.

I now had a lot of this without my phone. There is a certain confidence that comes with knowing yourself. Which I believe I do. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you know I have suffered from depression most of my life. Meaning my mind is fragile and social media can hold power over me. I remember a few times I became Instagram obsessed as I would sometimes delete it only to re-download it again, and every time it would take a hold of me.

It was almost like this need I had, I wanted to look as pretty as the girls on the popular page, I wanted to look like I was going out all the time living my best life. I wanted everything these people had. I made myself believe I needed these materialistic things to be happy. But now without my phone my brain was not clogged with these thoughts on how to look successful, now I could actually work on being successful. I could do my writing and concentrate on my hobbies.

If you spend enough time by yourself you start to feel like you are actually falling inside yourself. In a sense that you become aware of your thoughts and how much power they hold.

I didn't know what was going on in the world except for the things I would hear through word of mouth, and I didn't care. I was concentrating on me, I had a plan and I was putting it into action.

Depression, anxiety, all of those bad feelings are made up of a number of things, and it is different for everyone. For me, social media was one of those things. I felt like I was never good enough, there would always be someone better. But with or without social media that statement remains true. Social media just highlights it.

I did feel my depression lifting not completely but there was an improvement, by simply not having my phone it started a domino effect, things started to change that would end up changing my thoughts and in turn my mood. I was happier.

Ignorence is easy.

I started to bump into a lot of people, people I had not seen in years. I bumped into an old best friend, an ex and a former school mate.

These were people I had not heard from in years, reason being? They didn't bother with social media. And they were happy, doing amazing things with their lives. One was now a music producer and modelling for a well-known brand, one was now a professional dancer, and one now had her own place and was working with a very well known company — all amazing. But when speaking to them conducting small talk as you do, it came apparent to me that each of them had tunnel vision, one had no social media and the other two barely used it, throwing every ounce of their attention on their personal growth. Watching their own lives and not others (their words).

Considering they were doing great things you might think they would use it to show off or at least share their achievements, but it was obvious to me that they had a pure passion for what they were doing and didn't let anything distract them. Now I'm not saying having social media means you can't be passionate about things, of course you can, but its clear to me social media is a huge distraction.

It made me think of all the times I had given up on things because I allowed my social media to put me off. I would see someone my age doing great things and think why should I bother, I'm too late now. It did affect my mentality hugely.

I was so used to watching people use social media as a way to flaunt their success that it almost sounded crazy to me that these guys wouldn't, as though you can only be successful if everyone else can see it too, which I will admit is a very ignorant way to think. What do we really achieve when posting everything we do other than satisfying our ego?

Which brings me to my final part.

Will it destroy us?

So I managed to answer all the questions I asked at the beginning, it does effect me, definitely distracts me and there is a drastic change without it. But there was one more question. I wanted to know if social media could actually destroy us? As a society as people, could it ruin us? I didn't know how to go about this question, it is not like I can see the future... so I thought let me change the question ever so slightly.

Has it already destroyed us? And to answer this was easy, I asked my elders, old family friends and even a few people at work. Who better to ask than the people who were around before it and have watched each generation change by its presence.

And many of them said yes.

We are on a sinking ship. Social media has desensitised our humanity. It is popular not to care, to look successful seems to be more important than actually being successful. The internet is an illusion that has now been accepted as truth.

That is not to say that it does not have its benefits. It has many. It allows the unheard to be heard. It can bring people to justice and bring awareness to things that may never have been brought to light. Offers confidence and most of all knowledge. The internet is a weapon that can be used for good or bad.

My experiment allowed me to see things differently. Not having my phone was like a weight being lifted. I saw it changed me drastically and appealed mostly to my ego. To the side of me that wants to be recognised, to be someone to have all the latest things, to watch people's lives, judge and gossip. The side of me I would love not to have but I do. It is in everyone however little or small, it is always there. Which is not a bad thing that side is also the side that protects us, that speaks up when we see things we don't like.

But in the end I see I do need my phone for the necessities. It is all about balance. If you find you cannot be without your phone then you are someone I would suggest definitely take a break from it from time to time.

If I could choose I would go back to the times before phones. I remember watching people at work constantly checking their phones and it was so obvious to me how absurd it was to be so attached to this little machine.

Social media can destroy us, individually and as a world — if we allow it to.

All I know is I was happier without the invisible pressures of social media so from now I will keep it minimal. It's up to you to make your own decision.

social media

About the Creator

Denilia Blue

Simple girl, Living in London refining her writing skills. Everything self-help, advice and problems. Let’s be awkward together.

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    Denilia BlueWritten by Denilia Blue

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