PARKER: The anti-social media

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn

Until you’ve sat beside someone for a five-course meal without uttering one single word to him or her, but having successfully Instagramed soup through dessert, you haven’t experienced real social media addiction. Until you tweet something that gives away the fact you were not in bed sick, but instead out with Jenny as opposed to Jane, you have not experienced real social media addiction. Until you have been told by your significant other that he refuses to wait in a 45 minute line for donuts you only want to take a picture of before throwing away, you haven’t experienced real social media addiction.

Yes, I will admit I had turned into a bit of a fiend.

Checking Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and Snapchat and Vine and Tumblr and VSCO — that’s it I swear — once an hour seemed reasonable in theory, but I wasn’t checking every single one of my social media apps once an hour, I was checking them four times an hour — and some of them even more.

The issue wasn’t that I needed to get some sort of sick social-visual fix either, it was simply that my fingers just did it. There I was, in the right frame of mind to twiddle my thumbs and — instead — I just fiddled with my iPhone. Eight specific apps on my iPhone.

When did social media become an escape mechanism from our actual social lives? Actually, when did social media become an escape mechanism from our lives in general?

I had a problem — I knew this. Which is why last week I decided that from Wednesday to Wednesday I was going to go social media free. No checking Facebook, no checking Instagram, and absolutely no liking anything.

I had a near-conniption when it was suggested to me I actually delete all the apps from my phone, as I was certain that I would be able to increase my will power to the point of turning a blind eye to the increasing numbers in the red notification circles — but as time wore on and my fingers got itchy I realized it was going to be the only way. I had made it an entire hour. The easy part was over.

Over the course of the next few days, several things started to change in my life. I got interested in a new TV show. I saved a little bit of money by doing my work at Bean Around the World as opposed to the ever-so-trendy Parallel 49. I sent more text messages to people I don’t speak to nearly frequently enough when I was unable to just see/read/watch what they were doing.

My life, in a matter of a couple days, slowed down to a pace where I could actually focus on what was real as opposed to how I wanted to represent that reality.

While sites such as Facebook were initially developed to encourage the stalking of ex-boyfriends — er, I mean keeping in touch — is it possible we have evolved entirely past the social elements and straight into anti-social ones? I know some people develop very real relationships through the proper use of these sites, but are two-dimensional interactions as healthy as the ones we have to avoid to maintain them?

The past week was not enough to heal me of my lust for all things social-app wise, but it was enough to cleanse my system of app-scroll auto-pilot. I missed the time waster, sure, but I didn’t miss the way it was a constant beacon in the back of my mind. I feel much more in tune with my addiction now, if nothing else.

Then again, like a true addict, I pre-determined my withdrawal to suit my own needs. Thursday morning I jetted down to Portland and you can be darned sure when I chose to go social media free Wednesday to Wednesday I was taking into consideration wanting to Instagram those Voodoo donuts you know I didn’t even want to eat.

For the record, though, the line really was too long.

— Andria is a 20-something blogger from Kamloops.

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