Cornwall - Jan. 30, 2012 - Social media has become such a huge part of our everyday lives that one rarely spends much time without checking their Facebook news feed or their Twitter homepage. We are so addicted to these sites that our phones now have access to them, because we can’t be without them for more than a few minutes. Classes are disrupted because we need to be in touch with our friends and family, and many people spend their work breaks chatting away.
After spending a few hours without the Internet, I decided to spend a day without using any form of social media. I didn’t use Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr for a full 24 hours to see how I would feel throughout the day. The goal of the experience was to test what sort of withdrawal I might go through, if any at all.
The most frustrating part of the experience was my trained responses. Whenever I felt bored, I automatically moved to click on the Facebook bookmark in my browser. After a few hours, this response decreased significantly. Twitter was a different story. Within a few hours, I found myself rather desperate to talk to some of my friends via the private tweeting system. Throughout the day, several of my friends complained about my absence, which only made things worse.
By the sixth hour, I found myself anxious and feeling left out, like there was something huge going on that only I didn’t know about. Within an hour or two, the anxiety seemed to wear off. I found myself getting more done during the day, and spending less time glued to my computer.
Due to this experience, I decided that it might be a good idea if I limit the amount of time I spend using social media, if only to increase my work output. However, I found that when I wasn’t using Facebook, I actually did miss quite a bit. I felt disconnected, and I was. It really just goes to show how affixed we are in our virtual world.
I can’t say if social media is a good or bad thing; to me it is a grey area. While it provides a connection to the world, it also provides isolation from it. In the end, I guess it really is just up to the user.