Technolove or Tech = No Love? That is the Question

(Image Credit: astrosystem)

(Image Credit: astrosystem)

Technology has turned communication on its head. I no longer live in a world where people casually converse with the person ahead of them at the grocery store. Instead, you will find a series of people with their heads down and thumbs avidly keying a screen that illuminates their face while sending society into a dark age of relationships.

This is an exploration of what my personal experiences mean and the remorse I feel over a time of communication gone by, no longer enjoyed often.

What is Romance Again?

I won’t be so morbid as to say that swoon-worthy moments are dead, but they sure are far-fetched, if not totally forced. My idea of a Darcy darling has been replaced with Tinder tastelessness.

I am definitely not a damsel in distress, but are there any hot knights out there that I can ride alongside? What happened to the good ol’ days when I was courted by horse and buggy? I miss my sweating palm as I dialed my boyfriend’s house phone and was forced to leave a voicemail on the family line.

Comfortable as I may be lounging in my favorite PJs, I am not forced to swipe left or right robotically on my coach as I eat dinner and dessert—alone. Again. Hey, no judgments here!

This is no Arthurian legend that I’m living here. I am no character in my favorite Jane Austen novel. I left my land line in the ‘90s with my Tamagotchi pets and Furby. While I am happy to have left many misogynistic social practices in the past, where did the romance go?

There has to be a meeting point between the past and present where a “truly, madly, deeply” kind of love can be secured and kept safe from hackers. I haven’t found it yet, but maybe we can figure out the code.

I “Like” Them:

There is an immediacy that is not only inherent in social media, but also intrinsically part of our lives with the advent of the smartphone. These days you can’t escape notifications and there is no reprieve from hounding texts.

While it is so convenient to have my social life attached to my palm at all hours of the day *insert eye-roll here because I’m obviously being sarcastic*, I can’t help but scoff and think “Who cares what so-and-so is doing at such-and-such an hour?!” Although, I say this as I go ahead and “like” their photo anyway, because that’s the society I live in and I am addicted to the pressures of cyber friendships too.

How can we change this dedication to the cyber “like?” It’s such a massive part of our lives now. I went to dinner the other night with my girlfriends and as we all posted pictures, our conversation wove in and out of social media talk:

I’m so glad the semester is over. You used such a good filter. I just had a major sale the other day, so I am going to make my quota. That’s awesome! No one has liked my picture yet. I did. Yeah, but no one else has. Did you guys see the trailer for the new Leo movie?! Omg, that looks amazing. I can’t wait to see it. Ugh, look who just liked your picture. Who? Just look…

And so the story goeswe momentarily step out of our physical reality into this outside experience so closely tied to what I’m doing at that moment. It’s a new layer of my life that I haven’t quite figured out whether I “like” or not. Regardless of how I feel, this movement towards technological living has given society a new power over the individual as we are swayed towards a virtual reality in tune with others.

No Wait before the Date:

Remember when Christmas was exciting and there were presents wrapped by a mysterious, fat, and happy man who rewarded us for being good? Well, the jig is up. We send Christmas lists to friends and family without any intrigue or mystery because we have to know what we are getting—we have to know that these gifts are right for us.

The innocence is gone as we eat, drink, and are merry with friends and family over the holidays and find ourselves being set up on “blind” dates that aren’t so blind anymore now that we can stalk profiles. With or without the wine, you are drunk on the notion that this might be the one, distorting your understanding of the situation. You now have the ability to kinda-sorta know what they look like, so essentially, you have signed up for “blurry” first date (since people very rarely look as good in real life as they do in pictures).

Then the questions start pouring in… How do I know I like him if I don’t even know if he reads? Is he liberal? Does he like the outdoors? Is he allergic to dogs?! These are all questions I need answered which profile stalking deters us from finding out because catching a glimpse of someone’s pictures categorizes them. We are never able to remove those first impressions with his ex-partner or his agility while doing a keg stand in ’09—we never get a clean slate and it doesn’t give us a chance to find out who someone truly is now.

It is this immediacy that I have qualms with because it has ruined “the wait.” You don’t need to wait around to meet someone because the best versions of those people reside within a little device that fits in your pocket. You are immediately notified when they added you to be a “friend,” and when they “liked” your picture, but what these notifications lack is the meaning within this virtual communication that can only be relayed with human contact.

I mean, what does an Instagram “like” even mean?! Also, how should I react to a man commenting “Gorgeous!” on my profile picture—along with so many other women’s?! These roadblocks didn’t exist for centuries and all of the sudden I’m plopped into a dating scene that is nothing short of understanding social hieroglyphics that include emojis and acronyms for every occasion.

This all sounds nice and confusing, if not a bit superficial and weird, but what about when things don’t work out? What happens when you can’t escape the virtual reality of your ex-spouse?

I Can’t Quit You:

We have all been confronted with the issue of that is *cue dooming sound effects*: the ex. They pop up on your newsfeed time and time again. They went to your spot. They went on a trip that you had talked about. They started dating someone new.

This is where my relationship with technology becomes unhealthy because I always go back for more. How do you move past the “Ugh, I hate them but I want to know what they’re doing” stage? It’s hard but there has to be a way to rewind the clocks to the time when I didn’t have an app that reminded me of our painful parting words with status updates and pictures fun outings.

The best way to channel the years when you were able to move on without a siren going off in your broken heart every time you go online is to un-friend them. I tried it out recently for the first time and it worked wonders. I no longer had the ability to look or see anything. After deleting their phone number, the unhealthy habit was broken forever. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done for ever,” and it’s true because I never have to see him again, or anyone else that I don’t want to see, since I took control of the situation and learned to remove myself from their life. Don’t mind me; I’ll just be dancing down my new singing, “I’ve Got the Power.”

The point I’m trying to make here is un-friend and un-plug as you see fit. Be a “friend” to yourself first. No one can do it for you, so I say take the power that resides in the stroke of your finger as you eliminate the unnecessary and invest in your value. Go out there and wink at that hottie across the coffee shop. Ask for your friends to refrain from showing you pictures of a successful banker who used to party like a rock star. Join a hiking club and have conversations with someone new.

These are all experiences that are available to us now, but we forget when we are inundated with notifications that people “like” us on our lit up screen.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be deleting my social media accounts any time soon, and I do believe in the good power and logic behind the technology that keeps my life moving forward, but sometimes you have to take the time to reevaluate the big picture and what it takes to get there. There just isn’t an app for that. I can’t download my partner (even though I sometimes wish I could—it would be a hell of a lot easier). I have to cultivate that relationship myself, the old fashioned way.

Share the Love:

While we may have created these obstacles that did not haunt people in the past, and while they are painful realizations to overcome when faced with a virtual reality layered on top of our everyday existence, social media is a powerful tool for us finding love and loving life.

We can share things with friends and family. We can celebrate others’ successes and invite them to cheers to our own. Just remember to stay grounded within this experience. Technology and the social media that it makes so easily accessible is a simulacrum of what is and always will be reality.

In the End:

I think we found our answer to finding that “truly, madly, deeply” kind of love within this society which is to remember that technology and all that it brings is not our physical reality and to stay true to ourselves when we find our world looking more and more filtered.

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Snapchat with Celebs: Who should you be following?

Snapchat with Celebs: Who should you be following?It’s no secret that celebs are all about social media. First, the trendy thing was Twitter. Then, everyone started making Instagram accounts (and thank God for that — what would we do without the knowledge of what Chrissy Teigen eats at every meal?). Now, it seems like everyone who’s anyone has Snapchat. Although it can get a little TMI with certain people, Snapchat is actually a pretty cool way to keep up with your favorite celebrities on a more personal level. Check out these famous accounts if you’re looking for some serious entertainment!

Shay Mitchell (@officialshaym)

Shay is one of my favorite Snapchatters. She’s the type of person that is always doing something, and she seems to always be willing to share her adventures with her fans. As of recent, her snaps have been filled with book signings for her new novel, Bliss, as well as with fun photo shoots and filming of Pretty Little Liars.

Ryan Seacrest (@ryanseacrest)

That’s right, everyone’s favorite host has a Snapchat! Here, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at red carpet events and see footage that you won’t find on any televised coverage.

Justin Bieber (@rickthesizzler)

As we’ve learned from recent events in Bora Bora, the “What Do You Mean?” singer is certainly not camera-shy. The Biebs loves taking pouty selfies and snapping clips of his fans at various concerts.

Calvin Harris (@calvinharris)

I’ll be honest and admit that I’m here mostly for any romantic T-Swift shots (which have yet to appear on my phone screen), but in the meantime, the DJ is quite active on Snapchat nonetheless. He’s a bigger fan of the selfie than you might guess, although he tends to take a more humorous route than Bieber, often poking fun at himself and those around him.

Rihanna (@rihanna)

I love Rihanna’s Snapchat stories. They’re just what you’d expect from her, if a bit more toned-down. Last week, she showed her fans a full day of wine tasting with her mother and friends and gave us a peek inside the primping process before a big event, because who doesn’t want to know what the day in the life of Rihanna is like?

Kylie Jenner (@kylizzlemynizzl)

I think it is safe to say that Kylie is the queen (or shall we say #kingkylie?) of Snapchat. She’s probably the most active out of everyone on this list, and shares a large variety of snaps, as well. On a regular day, you’ll probably see her getting her hair and makeup done, playing with her dogs, videos of her friends, shots of her many expensive cars and famous boyfriend Tyga hanging around her house. In short, Kylie never fails to keep her fans in the know.

Let us know what your favorite Snapchat accounts are below, and be sure to give some of these celebs a follow!

The Top 5 People Dominating Vine

The Top 5 People Dominating VineHow often have you been scrolling Tumblr or Twitter and seen a Vine star that you know you’ve seen more than once? I know I personally find myself scrolling through Vine when I can’t sleep and next time I look up, it’s 2 a.m. For six-second videos, they sure can take up a lot of your attention! Even if you’ve never even opened the Vine app, there is a high chance you’ve seen or heard of these five Vine stars.

  1. Lele Pons

Lele Pons was the first Vine star to surpass a billion loops. The Miami-based star coined the phrase “Do it for the Vine!” which involves ridiculous activities like pieing a police officer or getting in the back of a random truck. Most of her Vines include her trying to get a boyfriend and how difficult it is to be a girl.

  1. Thomas Sanders

Thomas Sanders is known for his clean and family friendly Vines. Besides his Stitch and Stewie impressions, he very rarely alludes to anything pop culture related and is a breathe of fresh air when everyone is doing very similar things. Sanders is famous for his Storytime! Vines which entail him narrating a stranger’s life and them reacting to him.

  1. King Bach

Bach is a Vine star that has probably benefited the most from his popularity on the app. He has made Vines with celebrities like Justin Bieber, Tyga and Kendell and Kylie Jenner. He has also landed roles on TV shows like The Mindy Project and Wild ‘n Out. His Vines usually revolve around unfaithful relationships and jokes with his friends.

  1. The Gabbie Show

Like a lot of Vine stars, Gabbie focuses on relationships and lack thereof. But she is still hilarious and includes her friends and fellow Vine stars Jessi Smiles and Axl James. If thousands of six-second videos of Gabbie isn’t enough for you, she also works for Buzzfeed and has a weekly Youtube show called Just Between Us.

  1. Meechonmars

Honestly, no one on this list makes me laugh as hard as Meech. All his Vines are pretty random. They cover friends, relationships, and parents. All in all, it’s not hard to find a video by Meech that you can relate to and laugh at. Meech definitely falls under the not family friendly category, especially when his friend and fellow Vine star Dope Island is involved.

Like Twitter and Instagram, Vine is the perfect app for self-expression and time wasting. So next time you can’t sleep or need a laugh – download the Vine app! And be sure to subscribe to the top five mentioned here because you can’t go wrong with them as you delve further into the world that is Vine.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media

What a time to be alive! A millennial such as myself is fortunate enough to be born in an era where social norms have exceeded our ancestral expectations. Information is only a click away thanks to the internet, there are drones being used in all sorts of ways and we even have hoverboards being utilized as a substitute for walking. Social media has also changed the landscape in ways we couldn’t even dream of 20 years back. But is social media all good? Are we hurting ourselves long term by relying too much on conveying our communication skills through an app? Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of social media.

The Ugly:

We love to think we’re always right, but in reality we’re not. In the comfort of our own home we especially love playing arm-chair psychologist when it comes to judging the misfortune of others. Unfortunately those who engage in social media love to take it to a whole new level. Whether it’s clowning an athlete and bringing his personal life into it or judging a television star selfie, social media users will take shaming to the next level. Sadly, adults are usually the ones pulling the strings (or typing in this case). Makes me wonder why one is so comfortable tearing an individual down from their couch. Oh wait, now I know…

The Bad pt.1:

Shame is a tactic used to belittle the individual you’re addressing. As Dr. Brene Brown said in her book Daring Greatly, “Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” Whether it’s about race, status or education, tactics like shame are used to show superiority over another person. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen people use shame as a tactic to attack individuals whose beliefs don’t align with theirs. Social media is a forum that allows one to express themselves through pictures or opinions. Constructive criticism is one thing, but hating on someone because of their views on a particular subject is ridiculous.

The Bad pt.2:

The aspiration nowadays for young people is to become “YouTube famous” or anything in the realm of social media popularity. It’s a numbers game for some folks, where the amount of “followers” or “friends” they have boost up their egos. Low self-esteem, insecurities, or just life in general can play a part as to how one uses social media. Instead of it being used as a way to pass time many find it as a utility to escape what’s really eating them from the inside.

The Good pt.1:

Finally some positive news! You may be asking yourself “is social media is all that bad?” My answer to that is no. If utilized correctly, it can be such a useful tool to get a whole new perspective on things. Special events like the Olympics or MTV awards have such a following, and it’s great to engage with like-minded individuals who may or may not like the same athlete or artist as you, but are able to communicate with one another and discuss on such topics. On top of that, who can pass up sharing a funny meme? I know I can’t.

The Good pt.2

Believe it or not I’ve actually made some cool friends off of social media. I hit it off with a few where we actually got to meet in person. Networking is an important facet of life. Whether it’s for work to spread your ideas or to branch out and form personal relationships, social media can play an integral role in creating those bonds.

Again, do I hate social media? No, but do I believe some form of etiquette can be used while engaging others? Hell yeah! If you have the decency to act right with people in person, why’s it so hard to use those same principles behind a computer screen?

 

Ashleeeybash: Socalitybarbie pokes fun at social media & I don’t blame her!

(Image Credit: Socality Barbie/Instagram)

(Image Credit: Socality Barbie/Instagram)

Let’s be real. There will always be someone trying to be internet famous SOMEHOW whether it be through a viral fail video or Instafamous all because of their epic photos. I came across the IG handle “socalitybarbie” who basically pokes fun at it all. Just remember, not everything is as it seems on screen. Continue reading

Social Media, Anxiety and YOU

(Image Credit: ViewApart)

(Image Credit: ViewApart)

“Did someone like my status? Or see my newest picture on Instagram?” “I know I didn’t get a notification, but it won’t hurt to check just to be absolutely completely sure that nothing new happened on Facebook.” Yes, I’m one of those people. Someone who checks his social media accounts periodically, even when he knows decently well that nothing has happened. Rationally, I know it seems like borderline insane behavior – or at least the behavior of someone who is very anxious. But, at the same time, I know plenty of people just like me… Is social media making us crazy? Continue reading

Watching Life Through Screens

(Image Credit: Bibi)

(Image Credit: Bibi)

This era of human history is all about “the screen.” We love our smartphones, tablets, touch screen watches and laptops, and we love to share every moment of our lives through these devices and the wonderfully addictive apps that come along with them. And that’s fine. We’re all guilty of it. But it poses a serious question. Continue reading

Want to be Just like your Favorite Celeb? There’s a social media app for that!

Taylor Swift and Ryan Seacrest (Image Credit: Ryan Seacrest/Snapchat) / Reese Witherspoon (Image Credit: Sophia Vegera/Dubsmash) / Katy Perry as a Bitmoji Left Shark (Image Credit: Katy Perry/Bitmoji)

Taylor Swift and Ryan Seacrest (Image Credit: Ryan Seacrest/Snapchat) / Reese Witherspoon (Image Credit: Sophia Vegera/Dubsmash) / Katy Perry as a Bitmoji Left Shark (Image Credit: Katy Perry/Bitmoji)

Apps of every shape and size have quickly taken the world by storm. In this ever growing age of technology, everybody with a smartphone, tablet or computer is using them. I look over and see my grandparents playing Candy Crush and checking the weather on their favorite weather apps. It’s a world where there is literally something for everyone, and people will do anything they can to find an app that helps to make things convenient. Celebrities are no different than the rest of us when it comes to our love for apps! For the most part, a lot of apps only become really popular after being used by a big name celeb. We’re taking a look inside some of their favorite social apps including Snapchat, Dubsmash and Bitmoji! Continue reading

Tara Talks: Episode Twenty Nine (The One with The Things Guys Say on Dating Apps)

TARA TALKS (Image Credit: Tara Robinson)

TARA TALKS (Image Credit: Tara Robinson)

I have encountered many strange conversations on dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid. I frequently post them onto Twitter or Facebook with comical commentary. So I figured, I’d share all of these with you guys.

Let me know if you’ve gotten any horrible messages like these. And tell me your worst pick up line!!

If you have any topics you want to see me talk about let me know on Twitter or in the comments below!! Continue reading

Ashleeeybash: My Thoughts on the Whole #dontjudgemechallenge

(Image Credit: Ashley Bulayo / The Daily Quirk)

(Image Credit: Ashley Bulayo / The Daily Quirk)

YEAH SO. I HAD A FEW THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THIS WHOLE TRENDING TOPIC… SO HERE’S MY SPIEL.. Let me know your thoughts on all of this below. I get there might be some negative comments or what not but what would YouTube be without negative comments, eh? Continue reading

Why You Should Check Out Snapchat Discover

(Image Credit: Ivan Kruk)

(Image Credit: Ivan Kruk)

When Snapchat rolled out its latest update at the end of January, many users were caught off guard by the drastic changes made to the app. Social media erupted once figuring out the Best Friends feature had been axed. It was no longer possible to stalk our friends and significant others to see who else they were “snapping”! Continue reading

Tara Talks: Episode Fifteen (The one with Qualities I Look for in a Guy)

(Image Credit: Tara Robinson / The Daily Quirk)

(Image Credit: Tara Robinson / The Daily Quirk)

In this video, I discuss the three perfect qualities I look for in a guy. Let me know what you guys think of this video! And give me some ideas for next week while I’m at Tribeca! And come back next Tuesday for another episode of Tara Talks.

Continue reading

One Week Without Social Media: A Diary

(Image Credit: WavebreakMediaMicro)

(Image Credit: WavebreakMediaMicro)

Day 1. February 4, 2015.

First urge to check Facebook: 11:35 a.m.

Total number of times desperately wanted to check Facebook: 4 (v.good).

Actually cheated and checked Facebook: 1 (v.bad).

Asked my sister to look at something on Facebook: 3. Eye twitches because I could not check Facebook: too many to count.

Total number of ignored notifications: 8

 

11:35 A.M.

Dear Diary,

Well, it’s happening. I’m starting my one week purge of all things social media just for the sake of writing what will hopefully be an entertaining article. I’ve taken Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and placed them all in a DO NOT TOUCH folder in the very depths of my iPhone (deleting them altogether just seemed far too harsh and unnecessary; I’m way too lazy to go through and reinstall and reverify all that info in seven days’ time). I have NOT turned off my notifications because in some way I am sick and twisted and want to further tempt myself. It’s like working out with a big bowl of candy only a few feet away from you. Finishing the workout always makes you feel great, but it feels even better when you finish without immediately sticking your hand in the bowl. But…I am known to go for a mini Snickers when I finish an especially vigorous workout. They have protein you know; not a total wash. Have bad feeling about this…

Today has been far easier than I anticipated. Yes, it’s not even noon, but I’m holding out hope that I will remain strong, feign disinterest in the latest going ons in my social circle and find other forms of entertainment when I have the strong desire to scroll through Newsfeed. Bring your worst, spawn of Mark Zuckerberg!

12:55 P.M.

I’m off work now and the temptation is growing. Just received a notification that I’ve been invited to a pub crawl to celebrate a friend’s 30th. If I don’t RSVP immediately, will that be rude? Texting a mutual friend for the invite info as we speak.

10:25 P.M.

Damnit. I caved. All day I’ve been dutifully avoiding it. Okay, that’s a lie; I asked my sister Abby to check something fishy out for me. I had to go on just now though or I would have seriously ticked off a co-worker who went out of her way to write a status dedicated to me. Abby told me about it. Was I really not supposed to acknowledge it and risk a bad case of stink eye the next time I see said co-worker? Not chancing it. I did NOT look at my notifications and I did NOT go through Newsfeed. So one comment on one status is no big deal. REALLY. Tomorrow I will prevail and be social media free all day.

10:59 P.M.

Not being able to tweet during Broad City should be a crime, just sayin’.

 

Day 2. February 5, 2015.

First urge to check Facebook: right when I woke up. (BAD).

Number of notifications gained while I was sleeping: 4.

Actually went on Facebook: Once. (punishing myself).

Productive activities done: 5 (v.good).

Total notifications ignored: 21 (damn you, red alert number).

 

7:49 P.M.

Dear Diary,

I’m weak, so very weak. BUT it was extremely appropriate that I went on Facebook today due to the fact that it was my favorite Spanish teacher’s birthday and it would have been horribly inconsiderate if I didn’t shoot her a ¡feliz cumpleaños! That was all. It’s not like I have her cell phone number.

Birthday incident aside, today was a major success if I do say so myself. During lunch with Mom I was completely focused because I wasn’t constantly checking Instagram every five minutes to see what interesting things people were doing. Did she seem to notice my newfound attentive ear? No. Not at all. But was I able to think clearly in Marshall’s about which picture frames would best match my bedspread? Yes, yes I was. I was focused on myself and not on whatever Jimmy Fallon did on his show last night that all my friends were talking about. (P.S. Jimmy, I love you.)

But really, I’m starting to wonder what’s up with those 21 Facebook notifications, 3 Snapchats and 1 tagged photo on Instagram. Thankfully, Twitter notifications are shut off because I just can’t deal. Phone just lit up. Facebook again. Leaving phone upstairs for remainder of night. Temptation is growing.

 

Day 4. February 7, 2015.

Number of ignored notifications: 38.

Times tricked into opening a Snap: 1.

Times opened a Snap on my own accord 2 (v.bad).

Urges to check Facebook: blah.

Urges to check Twitter: none (v.good).

Noticed differences in mood: actually less agitated than normal.

 

8:45 P.M.

Dear Diary,

I must admit that this social media free thing is getting slightly easier by the day. Initially, as I watched my number of notifications growing, my anxiety levels continuously shot up a bit more each time. But today, the increasing number really isn’t bothering me so much. It’s taken four days, but I have realized that whether or not I’m active on social media sites does not play any huge role in the way my day to day life unfolds. I haven’t missed any catastrophic events, my friends have not started to ignore me and it actually feels good to not constantly be aware of what is happening in every single acquaintance’s life. I even feel slightly less agitated than normal.

It wasn’t until I was technically off Facebook and Instagram that I really started to notice the effect that notifications had on my mood. Getting notifications must be the equivalent of a drug, or caffeine at least. If I put my phone down and return to find I have new notifications, my mood increases by the tiniest amount. If I go a whole day without looking at my phone only to find I have no notifications, my mood goes down quite a bit. It’s actually sort of sick. I may only be happy being off social media right now because I currently know I do have a lot of notifications waiting for me. I actually really may only be feeling loads happier because I’m finally done PMSing for the month and social media may not be playing a role in my mood at all. Writing this, I feel like a completely crazy person. Really hope other people out there know what I’m talking about. Hmm.

I did cheat yesterday. But when a cute guy sends you a Snapchat, you’re going to open it even if the President himself has given you orders not to. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Day 5. February 8, 2015.

Times looked at Facebook indirectly via my sister: twice (weird circumstances, neither bad nor good).

New notifications: 7. However, total number of notifications has gone down…does Facebook start deleting your notifications if you don’t check them??? Must google search this. Also found out that multiple Snaps from one person continue to show up as 1 Snap total.

Things I’m focusing on instead of Social Media: 5 (organizing sheet music, feng shuing my room, catching up on Gilmore Girls, drinking coffee and the fifth I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you).

 

5:21 P.M.

Dear Diary,

For some reason, I feel like I now remember fully what it’s like to live in the 90s. Yes, there weren’t texts, or really even awesome cellular phones, and yes, I was only 9 when the 90s came to a close, and yes, I still have 24/7 access to the internet and am plugged in socially constantly through text, but I do have less distractions and life just feels a little simpler.

Now that I’m halfway through day 5 of my social media free week, I’m shaking my head at how ridiculous I was on day 1, literally tweaking out that I wasn’t going to be able to make it a week. YES I KNOW, I’ve cheated a few times, but I’ve been completely social media free the past two days so I consider that winning. Maybe I’ll even extend this experiment (J/K you totally know the minute Wednesday morning rolls around I will be right back on my social media grind). My mood has remained fairly good; my focus has been on point. My closet has never looked more organized. I say the good in this situation far outweighs the bad.

5:26 P.M.

Oh dear god. I just looked at my Timehop (full disclosure – no idea if Timehop counts as social media or not). Definitely extending my social media free week to social media free forever to save myself from further social media embarrassment. Or at least deleting Twitter forever.

11:28 P.M.

Wow, Beck, wow. And get over yourself Kanye. Seriously wish I could Tweet right now.

 

Day 7. February 10, 2015.

First urge to check Facebook: hasn’t come. Who am I?

Number of ignored alerts: Too many to count, definitely over 50.

Productivity level: very high (v. good).

Times I’ve felt inadequate because of stuff I was seeing on Facebook or Instagram this week: Zero.

Number of pictures on camera roll ready to be Instagrammed: 3 (not too shabby).

Time left in experiment: about 20 hours.

Feelings about being able to go back on tomorrow guilt free: undecided.

 

3:58 P.M.

Dear Diary,

How is it even possible that it’s already been a week? I swear I’m not trying to be overly obnoxious and act like this challenge was super easy just because the time has gone by fast. I’m just genuinely surprised about how fast it went. I can’t really even whine today about my cravings to log on or admit to having cheated because I pretty much haven’t at all in the tail end of my social media free week. Oh, well, wait. Yesterday I did send out one mass snap, but only because it was a snow day and I walked in on my sister doing this:

 

 

How could I not share that moment?

AH, I just had that light bulb go off in my head. Maybe, just maybe, this experiment has led me to realize that less is more when it comes to what I post on Facebook and Instagram or Snap and Tweet to my friends (Snap, Tweet, are those verbs in the dictionary yet?). There were very few moments this week where I was like “Oh wow, really feel the need to share this on every social media platform I’m on because it’s just way too awesome.” So I came to the conclusion that I post things that really don’t need to be posted because I might be bored and not thinking about what other stuff I could be doing.

In addition to this realization, I retract my statement that I needed to be tweeting during the Grammys because Timehop once again reminded me that I’m just not good at Twitter. For example, during the Grammys two years ago I felt the need to Tweet “Johnny Depp could be in drag and id still be gaga for him.” Sarah of two years ago, keep certain things to yourself, always use proper punctuation, and don’t say gaga, you sound like someone from a bad black and white noir movie. Thank you, Timehop, for unexpectedly becoming my voice of reason.

 

February 11, 2015.

Eagerness to check all social media outlets this morning: Ehhh.

Total number of missed Facebook alerts: 52.

Unopened Snaps: 23.

Instagram notifications: 5 (for all you “like” obsessed people, I didn’t post any pictures a few days before this challenge so stop laughing!)

Twitter alerts: Yeah right, Twitter is deleted thanks to TimeHop. J/K, not really, but not willing to go on it for another few weeks.

Lessons learned through a week without social media: more than 5 (v. good).

 

11:09 A.M.

So, I am officially done with my purge and could log onto Facebook or Instagram guilt free right this second if I wanted to. But before I do, I just wanted to do a quick recap on a few surprising lessons I learned while attempting to stay away.

  • Staying off of social media actually caused my stress levels to go down in some weird way. That might be saying a lot about me as a person, but I feel like when you’re constantly flooded by what everyone else is doing or has going on, you can tend to compare yourself to them. For example, every time I see someone is engaged at my age I wonder should I be engaged? Not really, but the thought has crossed my mind once or twice.
  • Not being able to log on if I was bored made me do more productive things. It’s not like when I’m on social media I’m this lazy blob incapable of doing things that need to be done, it just helps me to procrastinate more.
  • As a society, we are obsessed with all things Facebook and Twitter. By not actively being on either, I started to notice more and more how often other people were on it. Waitressing this weekend, I could not get over the number of people who had their phones out and were scrolling through newsfeeds the entire time they were out to eat. I’m guilty of having done it, but I’m going to try really hard not to (we’ll see how I hold out).

These were the big three lessons, and if you’ve stuck with me and read all of my ramblings, you know there were quite a few others. I think for now, I’ll keep everything in that Do Not Touch folder, only so it’s not so easily accessible. Just for now. I’d love to stay and chat some more, but…I have a few notifications to check out!

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A Modern Girl’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette

(Image Credit: Ra2 Studio)

(Image Credit: Ra2 Studio)

Everything we say and do communicates the kind of people that we are, and now that almost everything we say and do is posted publicly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on…we ought to put some deeper thought into the content. The trouble with social media is that it distances us from our audience, which causes us to be more daring and frankly more careless about the things we say and do online. This distance opens us up to bash on other users and be unnecessarily nasty and disrespectful, and also to get too personal with our own posts and status updates—boldly stating what a lonely wreck we are, etc., a.k.a. attention seeking. It’s one thing to be ironic. It’s another to actually fall into these unhealthy habits. Continue reading