Quite by accident I have been abstaining from social media. After an extremely harrowing experience, I ended up losing my phone in the abyss of a drunken and hazy evening.
Now, combine this fact with my meagre and humble income and you are left with the inability to use social media on a hand held device. Granted, my trusty laptop can suffice as a tool to communicate with the worldwide web. However, I found myself lost with the inability to do it all the time. No matter what situation I found myself in, no matter what traumatic experiences I would face in the big bad world; I was well and truly alone.
All I could afford was an old Nokia brick, and the only entertainment I had with me was Greg James from BBC Radio One; no Spotify, no Youtube, no Messenger, no Whatsapp, no Instagram. I had nothing other than the velvety voice of the radio to accompany me.
Bring on the Misery
At first my life was a complete and utter misery. Every walk into lectures, to the shop, anywhere that lasted more than ten minutes, was a layer of Dante’s inferno. A boring and monotonous journey of which I could not escape. But as time moved on inevitably I began to notice things about myself which I previously hadn’t known before.
In a world where we are always connected, being away from our friends, our emails and our work can seem like an absolute hell. However, I noticed certain positives about being alone through my forced abstinence from social media and my arbitrary removal from the online world.
After a week or two I began to realise that my inability to use any online entertainment services didn’t bother me. I had accepted my fate. I actually found myself looking forward to the breakfast show every morning on BBC Radio One when I woke up, instead of immediately loading up Spotify and playing some filthy drum and bass to blow the cobwebs away, I listened to whatever was in the charts.
I found that I was a heck of a lot more productive, social media had been a real distraction for me. I was working harder with my studies, concentrating for longer periods of time and reading like a young Bob Dylan; I was quite the intellectual. I really felt I was learning something new everyday, it was beautiful and since I lost my phone I have read three books, I know it’s madness I only lost my phone a month ago! I’m averaging like 0.77 recurring a week!
This is by far the most interesting thing that happened to me over the course of this strange and clumsily assembled experiment. I was approaching people in the street, where previously I would have my head down with Skepta shouting something in my ear as I walked into Uni, now I would be looking up throwing in the old good morning to people, I felt like Toby Maguire in Spider-Man 3. I embodied a cheesy, wholesome character and I loved every second of it!
It’s All Fun and Games
The true positive that I discovered was very similar to my previous point: I didn’t take myself seriously anymore. I would stroll about whipping out my little burner phone with a grin, I found the entire thing hilarious. I developed more of a character in real life because none of my energy was going into my social media life. It was a beautiful experience, I started seeing the world as a bit of a playground, everything was a bit of a joke and I think I laughed more this month than I have for a very long time.
After this I’m definitely going to spend less time on social media, real life is pretty great too! I know lots of people put social media down and I’m not trying to do that, it can be an incredible tool for marketing, branding and anything visual/immersive. Social media has become very important but sometimes I think putting our phones down can open up avenues we have never really explored before, and that sounds pretty good to me, I might just keep my little nokia; actually on second thoughts probably not.