Human Vs. Computer: The Setbacks of Social Media

Soncheree McCampbell, Staff Writer

What if I were to tell you that when you are alone in a room you’re not really alone? You may be wondering how this can be possible. Well, when you’re alone in a room, what are you most likely doing? For the majority of American young adults, the answer is scrolling through social media.

Surely, all of you are aware of the significance that technology plays in our society. People of older generations often find it incredible how we now have “mini computers” wherever we go, and younger generations are no strangers to this phenomenon.

Yet, absolute praise for technology is dwindling as people’s guilt at being chained to their cell phones escalates. The cause, in my opinion, is social media. Social media, intended to connect and inspire, has become a drain, an overwhelming responsibility that young adults feel guilty for not fulfilling. I often hear my peers obsess about the number of likes that they get on their Insta posts; the amount of views that they get on their Snapchat stories; the amount of digital validation that social media gives them.

Don’t get me wrong, I was once an avid addict in the social media community as well. I would pick up my phone anxious to see whether my views exceeded 300 or not. But my participation in the No Social Media & Songs Without Intention Challenge has led me to delete all of my social media accounts and altered my way of thinking.

The No Social Media & Songs Without Intention Challenge, which has been a spontaneous and random action within the young adult community, requires participants to refrain from engaging in distracting and temporarily stimulating social media and songs with lyrics for as long as the participant sees fits. The challenge is meant to promote self-awareness, propelling participants to be alone and recognize their truest thoughts, aspirations, and feelings. My personal desire to experience the challenge occurred after I have witnessed my mom taking part in it. The clarity she discovered inspired me to also take part in this journey, which I did for 30 days.

Taking part in the challenge was difficult for me because I love music. However, I was able to listen to instrumental versions of some of my favorites throughout the challenge in order to satisfy my need for music in my life.

Another important discovery for me was a reaffirmation of my love of writing and my desire to pursue a writing career. The time that I used to reflect, I recognized that writing makes me eager.

Lastly, I discovered that as a person, I feel unfulfilled if I do not learn or experience something new everyday. The time that I would usually spend on social media, I used to read informative articles.

I’m not listing my realizations to boast about my self-enlightenment, but to share that I made these realizations because I had a lot of time alone.

My experiences led me to believe that people are afraid of isolation. In fact, people do everything to avoid it. Have you ever been to a movie or a party alone? Have you ever eaten a meal out alone or gone shopping alone? Before you simply pat yourself on the back for saying “yes” to even one of these questions, think about the situation you were in and try to recall whether you were actually alone with your thoughts – no social media. Even if you were to answer yes to being physically alone, social media denies us from being completely alone. Social media hinders the essential alone time it takes for self-discovery. We are not able to truly know ourselves if we are always in the presence of others, whether it be in person or in virtuality.

I consider myself an extremist and I understand that deleting all social media accounts seems daunting. “What is the point of deleting something that most people have?” or “It would only make me anti-social and non-savvy?” are two questions I have heard. I agree with these questions to an extent. It is harder to be social 24/7 without the correct apps, but maybe that is a good thing.

As I’ve mentioned before, self-discovery is almost guaranteed when we are unplugged, and self-discovery is self-improvement. At the end of the day, don’t you want to be the best version of yourself? In addition, life becomes simpler without the bombardment of other people’s irrelevant news. We don’t need to know that someone got Chipotle for lunch; we don’t need to know that “she said this” and “she said that;” we don’t need to know that s/he can lip sync to that song.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but when you really look closely at it, it becomes very clear that social media simply overstimulates, creates drama, and gives people a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Society does not need to condone this digitized life.