2016: The Year I Stop Subconsciously Scrolling

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Twitter for the 4th time in an hour? Have you ever found yourself constantly checking Snapchat, watching every minute of someone else's life? Have you ever been alone somewhere and opened one of your social media accounts in order to appear "less awkward"? If so, we're in the exact same boat.

I made my first social media account in middle school. Fast forward 7 years, and I've gone from having no online presence to knowing what all of my friends (and a few strangers) are doing at any given minute via text message, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. And for the most part, it's great. I absolutely love connecting with others through my various social media accounts, so I am by no means against social media, but I am against the overuse of it. 

I'm against scrolling through hundreds of celebrations, comments, complaints, and beautifully edited pictures on different apps without even realizing how much time I've spent online. I'm against the irrational fear social media has given us of missing out. I'm against the need to constantly be connected and updated with every trivial aspect of someone's life. I'm against subconsciously scrolling instead of putting down my phone and living life. I'm against revolving our lives around notifications and likes and favorites, not a real purpose. 

The other day I found myself opening my Facebook app, scrolling down my feed while rolling my eyes at all the silly statuses, and then closing the app. Only to reopen it again. Once I had exhausted Facebook, I mindlessly looked through Instagram, hardly even paying attention to the blurry pictures that I quickly scrolled passed. In writing, this situation seems absolutely ridiculous and trust me, it is, but it's something most of us do without even realizing it. When I walk around my college campus, eyes are glued to bright screens and ears are filled with headphones, successfully shutting out the world. When I arrive to class early, no one talks to each other, they scroll through their phones, avoiding conversation. When I'm at parties, people spend the whole time taking Snapchats, pretending the party is much more fun than it actually is. It's become apparent that when abused, social media is anything but social. 

When social media is used properly, it enables us to connect with others. It's a wonderful tool; an opportunity to put ourselves out there and get a glimpse into the lives of others. When we subconsciously scroll and misuse social media, however, we're willingly disconnecting ourselves from the world. We've chosen to update our Twitter instead of having an actual conversation. We've decided to connect with people who are miles away instead of the ones right in front of us. We've decided to worry about missing out on an experience posted on a social media site instead of creating an environment where the need to document every moment is nonexistent. Because the moments worth living aren't the ones you see on Snapchat; they're the moments that make you forget to open Snapchat. The friends worth having aren't just the people who favorite your best tweets; they're the ones who are there when you've closed Twitter and want to talk in more than 140 character statuses. The moments worth remembering aren't always captured in an Instagram-ready photo; they're the happy smiles and sparkling eyes that even the most professional camera would fail to fully capture.

Social media is a great tool, but it's not the foundation to a happy and fulfilled life. Most of us spend nearly 2 hours, 8%, of each day on social media. What if we cut that in half? What if we made ourselves aware of this excessive usage and made a conscious effort to live and enjoy the present? In 2016, I want to focus on love not likes. I want to focus on connecting with people, not comments. I want to live every day fearing mediocrity, not a lack of mentions on Twitter. People are going to remember how you made them feel, not how beautiful your Instagram page was. People are going to remember hugs not favorites or likes. People are going to remember when you looked away from your screen and found that life doesn't have a direct message option or a place for comments, yet it still offers so many connections and interactions and opportunities. 

Post the pictures later. Limit the number of times you scroll through Twitter. Go to an event, and don't open Snapchat. Treasure the feeling of not knowing everything that your friends are doing. Watch the sunset without a filter blocking its beauty. Notice how your friend's eyes light up when they talk about something they love. Listen to your Grandma's laugh when you call her on the weekend. Life is so worth living, so I encourage you to join me in 2016 as I learn to love the skies I'm under. Sometimes connecting is tweeting your friends or posting an Instagram picture, but it's often all the stuff that happens when we're looking up, not down at a screen. 

You Might Also Like

2 Happy Thoughts

  1. Oh my wow. Yes. Thank you. I needed this, and the entire world needs this. You have really hammered an issue that we all KNOW about (being disconnected from the world due to technology and social media) yet refuse to do anything about. Your words are profound and beautiful.

  2. It's crazy how connected we all are to our phones! Making a conscious effort to log out of the apps on my phone when I'm done has really helped me cut back on the mindless scrolling recently, but I know being present is something I can always work on. Such a great post, Katherine!


Posts You ♥

@ Me Next Time