More and more lately, I’m thinking about deleting all of the apps off my phone, deleting Facebook, and just having email, text, and a phone call by way of people reaching me. Oh, and my physical address for those fortunate enough to know me IRL. I have out of body experiences of myself, holding my phone, and endlessly scrolling on the nothingness that surrounds the internet. The posts of people’s babies and dogs, or “how to lose those extra five pounds!,” or the awful internet trolls that leave comments all over the place that makes this online world and life too much sometimes.
That’s not to say that I have been bombarded with hate or anything, but influencers that I follow, whom I love dearly, seem to get vile comments thrown at them on a daily basis. I understand that’s the world we live in, but when does that stop? When do people stop hiding behind their phones and the anonymity that is the internet and actually stand behind their words. I’d like to see those few who would because I’m willing to bet a lot of them wouldn’t.
The reason I’ve been thinking about this more and more is because I seem to be addicted to online life. I can’t seem to be off my phone for more than a couple hours a day or when I’m asleep. When did I stop reading books on a weekly basis and start just tweeting and reading blog posts instead? When did that happen?
While I was in France, there were months when our internet wouldn’t work and my roommate and I had to fend off the few books we had brought with us, the DVDs we borrowed from other teachers, and the outside world. Imagine. We had to actually live without wifi for months on end. At first, it was terrible. We started going a bit stir crazy wondering how we’d ever survive without getting hourly updates from others across the pond, but then it got easy. And dare I say it—freeing? It was honestly refreshing not checking my phone. Not caring about what I might have missed out in the world. I felt like a weight had lifted and my head certainly did because I wasn’t bending over my iPhone.
But in this age of 24 hour news, constant information at our finger tips, and being flooded with images of friends, family, and celebrities, why would you ever feel you need to hang out with anyone face-to-face anymore? You know everything they’ve been doing—hell, they’ve even taken a photo of their lunch so you don’t even have to ask them that—so how do you connect with people when everyone is on their phones 24/7? How do you stop yourself from constantly checking notifications and seeing if anyone liked your most recent post? How do you stop yourself from living your whole life online?
For me, I’m putting my phone down after I finish work. Having a job in social media makes it complicated to delete everything and not ever check it, but I can limit my use. I’m going to do my best to not use it on the weekends and just be with friends and family. I’m going to read more and step outside. I’m going to have conversations with people in person or on the telephone instead of texting. I’m actually going to be a human and not a robot with an occasional “LOL” or “haha” to something that I don’t really find funny. I’m going to start living my life IRL.