Our lives are governed by social media.
We can try and deny this sentiment, but deep down, we all know it’s true. However much we want to believe that we don’t think about the potential Instagram post a night out with friends will garner or constantly check the likes on our article share on Facebook, at some point we need, to be honest with ourselves and realize that posting, tweeting, sharing and snapping are all a huge part of today’s landscape.
And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Plenty of us choose to partake in the antics that are social media because they help us feel connected and stay connected. Some of us enjoy the freedom of expression or the common thread it provides us all.
We are never shocked when someone says they have a snap chat or an insta. But we are shocked when they say they don’t. In fact, we almost shame people for removing themselves from the 24/7 interconnectivity that — let’s be real — can get annoyingly overwhelming at times. It’s outrageous to think a millennial boy or girl might not want to participate, but we all know that there are times we’re so over it, we could throw our phones against the wall.
I deleted my Snapchat six months ago. Despite the fact that it’s merely an app that has no tangible weight or influence on my life, I began to feel like it did. Responding to people became an obligation. Sending snaps became an obligation. I would let the notifications pile up on my phone, refusing to acknowledge the photographic communications sent to me until the little red number in the corner of the application became too high for me to ignore.
I would post a story and hope pathetically that a certain person might see it. My joy when they did felt horribly artificial and my sadness when they didn’t felt horribly pathetic. Why did I care so much?
When my friends were hanging out and I couldn’t be there, I turned to their snaps and stories to ease the pain. I thought I could live vicariously through the photos and videos, but I thought wrong; watching my friends have fun didn’t make me feel like I was there. It only heightened my fear of missing out.
So, I made an executive decision and deleted my account. Immediately, I felt pounds lighter, as if the weight of snaps I never opened or never sent had been sitting in the pit of my stomach waiting for me to permanently close the window of opportunity before they disappeared.
The relief I feel every day is indescribable. I live in the present — I’m not constantly worried about capturing a moment for it to just inevitably disappear seconds later. I don’t feel responsible for answering yet another message, I don’t worry about the way I look before I send a message, I don’t see what my friends are doing when I’m not there and consequently don’t have to feel badly about it.
It’s a great life sans Snapchat. I’m sure it’s great with it, too — I had fun while it lasted. And if you love it, then by all means, keep it. Not everybody is going to feel the way I did.
If you are like me, though, and want to get rid of that Snap but are too nervous, remember how much better I felt and how, contrary to popular belief, my life did still go on.