Social media, I mean.
Today I looked at my email and saw that I had over 20,000 emails. Wow. I know to some people, that may be nothing, but that’s a lot to me. Especially because the oldest email is only from 2012.
I’ve been sitting here deleting all these emails… and I am about ready to throw my laptop out the window. But then I realized- ENOUGH.
I can’t let all this stuff take over my life. I mean honestly, the number of things I belong to, or subscribe to, or follow, or “like” is an unending list.
Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Vine. Instagram. Youtube. Spotify. Fab. Groopdealz. Fancy. Groupon. Living Social. I could seriously go on for days.
People have so many ways of interacting with me, and I have so many opportunities to interact with the great big world out there.
In one sense, that’s awesome. I can text one friend, tweet another, like another’s status, post a photo of me and my sister on instagram, watch a funny video on youtube, pin a recipe on Pinterest. Everything is literally at my fingertips. It’s amazing how far technology has come.
But where will it end? I don’t feel like I’m “plugged in” that much, but even the subjectively little that I am feels overwhelming.
I always have my phone with me. (Who doesn’t?) At any given moment, someone can get in contact with me one way or another. My iPhone gives me the power to do everything I mentioned above anywhere. Everyone has that one friend who’s texting and tweeting and facebooking through every conversation. I’m pretty good about avoid that, but I’m definitely guilty of jumping on my phone pretty much anytime I’m not otherwise preoccupied. Walking to class, bored in class, riding the bus, peeing (sorry, but sadly enough it’s true), falling asleep, waking up, working out- all. the. freaking. time.
But where does it end? When am I taking the time to just breath and be without the power of technology? My phone and computer don’t own me, but why do I seem to spend the most time attached to them?
Yesterday, on a whim, I rented a cruiser bike and rode off alone for a couple hours. The weather was perfect and the beach was calling my name. Of course, I put in my headphones and blasted some music, but after about ten minutes, I ripped them out and threw them in the basket.
I turned off my phone and listened to the sounds of the waves and the people around me. I rode down alongside the lake with the wind in my hair. I waded in the water and let the freezing cold water splash over the bottom of my shorts. I skipped stones (unsuccessfully) and ate a snow cone while watching the world go by.
It was perfect. I had the stupidest smile on my face and I felt so content. It was the greatest escape for a couple of hours.
But then I went back to campus and turned back on my phone and met up with friends and watched TV and jumped on my computer and the clutter came back.
Why is there this noise that never seems to leave? Why have we let all this technology get so out of hand that it sometimes feels like it’s in control of everything?
The fact is, I’m a joiner. If see something, and it looks even the slightest bit interesting, I might as well try it out.
It’s the reason I have dozens of apps on my phone that I barely touch. It’s the reason I have way too many bookmarks on my computer, filled with blogs that I haven’t visited in months. It’s the reason I can never say no to anything.
I hate deleting things. What if I need that email at some point? What if I’m bored at the airport and I want to play that one game on my phone that I haven’t played since August?
Well today I realized, enough is enough. This has to end somewhere.
I went back to my deleted emails and clicked the unsubscribe button again and again. I got rid of all of these newsletters and deals and surveys.
I can’t unplug completely while I’m in the middle of finals, but when I go home, I’m going to take a much needed break.
My facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc- those are all going away for a little bit. No more watching random youtube videos and getting caught up in blogs for hours at a time.
And my phone is going to be turned off, except for essential calls (i.e.: my car landed in a ditch, please send help.)
At least for a week or two, I’m throwing the clutter in a closet and taking time to enjoy the weather and my beautiful homeland of Colorado.
No one’s going to miss me if I run away for a little bit, and maybe by quitting cold turkey, I’ll break the hold social media has over me.
At the very least, I’ll get to spend more time looking up at the sky instead down at a screen, and you know what? I’ll take that any day.