Social Silence

Facing social helplessness from lack of access to media

More stories from Hailey Novak

Social Silence

This week social silence was taken to a new level.

Being MIA on social media is peachy when it’s your choice, but when you drop your phone in the toilet and are forced to communicate via Facebook messenger only when wifi is available, it’s another situation entirely.

On Halloween night my nearly new iPhone 6 decided to take a suicidal leap out of my back pocket and into the toilet bowl. Rice was no super hero in this situation, so now I’m left glancing longingly at the little device that sits useless on my nightstand.

It’s also the reason I debated typing “broke college student looking for cheap one-person phone plan please help” into the search engine of the AT&T website.

That’s when “social silence” got way too real.

In addition to simply choosing to abstain from Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, I was slapped with the harsh reality of not being able to do something I clearly took for granted: being able to send a simple text message.

At first I thought it might not be so bad. I thought it might be liberating to go off the grid completely, sans iPhone.

But who am I kidding? Even as a child I cried in my basement full of toys until one of my parents would come play with me because I hated being alone.

Is this what karma feels like?

I’ve decided the social media Gods are rendering me as what I can only define as socially helpless for dissing their media platforms. I feel like I would be better off communicating via carrier pigeon at this point.

If you think I’m being dramatic (yes Mom, I’m talking to you) let me enlighten you on a few of the luxuries that we take for granted just by simply having a phone, let alone social media.

-Alarm clocks: I turned in an assignment past due on Monday morning because I woke up an hour later than usual even though I mentally repeated to myself the time I wanted to wake up the night before.

-Music: As I left for class each day I instinctively reached for my headphones so that I could plug them into my – oh wait, nevermind.

-Google: Do I even need to explain this one? Google answers all of life’s burning questions and our smartphones make it possible to get those answers anywhere and everywhere (unless you have limited data and crappy cell reception).

-A social life: Even as I write this I’m sitting in an empty office with one eye glued to my Facebook tab in hopes the heavens will open up and someone will send me a message.

I understand this might look bad because I can admit right now my Facebook activity has skyrocketed since the toilet bowl incident of 2015.

Since then, I’ve quickly began to grasp just how reliant we are not only on social media, but on our devices in general.They make us feel connected not only to our smaller social circles but to the world at large.

There’s something oddly frightening about habitually reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, only to find nothing but a handful of pillowcase instead.

In a world that thrives on oversharing, I realized how communicating with others is essentially what my day is centered around in one way or another.

In all, I would like to thank those of you who have been gracious enough to keep me socially sane since the incident and to Law and Order SVU on Netflix. Without you, I might not have made it.

Also, I would like to formally welcome back my cracked iPhone 5 that shattered last spring when I tripped and fell over my own pants on my birthday. I can’t say I’ve missed you but you’ll have to do for now.