As a millennial distancing myself from the digital era by being “profile-less,” George Orwell and Ray Bradbury would have been proud of my new found insight.
Ironically, my least favorite genre to read growing up was science-fiction.
The cautionary prose interwoven in each futuristic plot was mostly lost on me. I had no connection to it, until very recently.
Quite a few dystopian stories center on the potential pitfalls of technology. And I’m absolutely fascinated by modern reality’s resemblance to these dismal speculations of the future.
In truth, I’ve never been the most tech savvy or culturally relevant person.
I stay informed enough and understand technology, even if only primitively, so it wasn’t ever a difficult decision to delete social media apps from time to time.
The reasons were always different, or so I told myself.
“I need less room for distraction.”
“I want to stop comparing myself and feeling so left out.”
“I don’t care about 99 percent of this. I waste so much time on here.”
What it boiled down to was my life overflowing with an onslaught of information I didn’t know what to do with.
I wanted something beyond just a social media detox again for the 403rd time. I wondered what would happen if I just deleted my accounts and eliminated my online presence.
Settings. Account Management. Deactivate. Yes, really. Yes, I understand. Yes, I am sure.
And just in case you change your mind you still have 30 days until your profile is officially deactivated.
It’s been more than 30 days. The world’s still spinning and my head’s still screwed on.
I read an article recently in WIRED Magazine that discusses the creation of a digital twin of the world. Social media has already begun the process by digitizing people and subjecting our behavior and interactions through an online interconnectedness.
For today’s generation growing up alongside the rapid growth of technology, social media is just an online expression of real life, headed by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For most, it’s an incredible innovation of sharing and liking and experiencing all the world at the click of a button.
For some, myself included, it’s a formidable screen to unhealthily observe life through.
An increasing number of millennials live with anxiety, depression and irrational expectations of perfection, according to Therapy Today, a journal for the British Association of Counseling and Psychotherapy.
There’s an overwhelming drive to prove oneself as interesting and dynamic, secure and successful, attractive and desirable in a single photo or 1,000 characters or less.
It’s all measured by the amount of likes received, number of friends attained and the influence one’s profile has on shaping the internet’s social universe.
But there’s an etiquette and culture social media engulfs, and if you aren’t privy to it, then you risk ridicule and separation from the online community.
What I’ve recently recognized, however is that assimilation is not mandatory. While social media is meant for everyone to be able to use, not everyone has to.
I don’t fit the perpetuated images of accepted beauty standards.
I’m not compelled to snap a picture everywhere I go.
I value my privacy and don’t care for those who feel entitled to access my life.
I got tired competing with all the other Pavlovian dogs.
My solution was to purge. No profiles anywhere. Become media-less.
Yes, there are less drastic measures to regulate the negative effects of social media like turning off notifications, manageable privacy settings, even browser extensions that leave content but remove numerical aspects (likes, follows, retweets, views). But I did what works for me.
I’m happier unplugged.
Socially prescribed singularity that tries to unite all the world’s diversity is concerning.
Offline, I’m more than a carefully crafted outline — ahem, profile — of myself.
I like myself more with less virtual social habits. I take pleasure in just being and don’t fret at not being, doing, trying more every minute, day, week. It’s frightfully exhausting.
Perhaps I read too much.
Perhaps I heed the warnings of 20th-century writers with eerily accurate insight too seriously and need to reshape my pessimism.
Perhaps I view myself as a protagonist in silent rebellion against an oncoming warped society of shallow socialites, all horribly uniform, and am the last hope for humanity to right their wrongs.
But I’m a snowflake-complexed millennial, give me a break.