Social Silence

Op/Ed editor says goodbye to social media for good

More stories from Hailey Novak

Social Silence

People looked at me funny when I told them I was giving up social media. Heck, I even questioned myself as I explained it to them.

I found myself asking whether or not it would really make that big of a difference in my life.

Now the semester is almost over and I’m faced with the decision of whether or not to grace social media with my presence once again.

Back in September when I first deleted the mobile apps, I felt like I was going on a really awful crash diet and though it might suck for the time being, it would all be well again when it was over.

But I don’t think I’m calling it quits quite yet.

We are more than the photos we post on Instagram, the tweets we share with our followers and the MyStories’ we post for everyone to see. I’ve met many people who are living a different life online than they are in reality, and there’s too many things wrong with that.

By spending so much time crafting a cyber life, we forget to just live the life right in front of us without having it justified by society first. In doing this, we become way too concerned with what everyone else thinks about us and our experiences.

As young adults, we’re faced with enough pressure to please our parents, professors, and bosses — we shouldn’t have to fight for the approval of the rest of society on top of that.

I do miss some of the funny Twitter accounts I used to follow and it sometimes sucks to be left out of the Snapchats my roommates talk about, but most of the time I forget it all even exists because it’s just not that important in the grand scheme of things.

This experience has encouraged more personal communication, allowed me to focus on what’s important and most of all, given me a much needed reality check.

I’ve learned to care about others more genuinely in these past three months because I spend less time putting my own image first.

If after reading these columns you haven’t once considered doing a social cleanse yourself, I don’t blame you. I felt the same way when the idea was first proposed.

A lot of people are simply so addicted to sharing every aspect of their lives with others that they’re scared to quit cold turkey in fear of missing out on their flourishing social life. The truth is, instead of losing connections and friendships, the important ones have grown instead.

“But Hailey, what are you going to do when you study abroad?”

I’ve been asked this question too many times to count recently.

I won’t be posting pictures of all the pizza I’ll be eating in Italy, (and I can promise you there will be plenty of it) or snapchatting all of the sites I see along the way, but do you all really care that much about what I’ll be doing anyway?

If you all want to keep up with my adventures, or vicariously experience getting lost in foreign countries due to my lack of directional skill, you can read my blog (stay tuned).

Who knows, culture shock could get real and I might change my mind in my desperate need for familiar connection, but for now, there are more important things to focus on.

That being said, I encourage the rest of you to do some self-reflecting, too. Is what you’re posting really necessary for everyone else to see, are you living a genuine life that makes you happy, or is that just the picture you’re painting for others on your Instagram account?

Hint: you might be unpleasantly surprised by the answers.