Choose to cut the ties with your social media applications

Katherine Baird

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There are five minutes until class starts and you could either engage in a conversation with your fellow classmates, or you could check whatever message just popped up on your phone. Most often, students choose the latter.
Smartphones and social media apps are imposing on our lives now more than ever. While walking through campus, you can expect to see the majority of students with headphones in and smartphones in hand.
A generation that is more inclined to connect with their friends via Snapchat than engage with the person sitting beside them is often the image that is depicted when our generation is called upon by older members of society.
Is this a problem? Can this be changed?
Some people have decided for themselves that social media and its seemingly crippling effect on interpersonal communication has been a part of their lives for far too long and choose to cut it out of their lives.
In the past year, stories have popped up on social media, ironically enough, about people who have disregarded the path so trodden and ventured a new route … a route with virtually no routing at all.
Daniel Milnor, reformed journalist, photographer and writer working for Blurb Inc., is one of those people who has decided that looking through the lens of social media is no longer the way he desires to perceive the world, or people for that matter.
In his blog, Milner writes that he doesn’t think cutting out social media will hinder his relationships.
“I’m not really losing these friends, just their online versions, and the idea that we are really connected via these networks,” Milner wrote.
When you are looking at someone’s social media you are looking at that person’s desired perception of themselves.
Who you truly are is not expressed through your tweets or Instagram pictures, it is simply one aspect of your life that you have decided to make public, or in the words of Milnor, “[your] online version.”
Of course he isn’t alone in this decision. Well-known names like Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Zayn and Emma Stone have also turned their backs to the socialsphere. The real question is, does this lead to a better life with more fulfilling connections and conversations?
The thought of your phone dying mid-way through class is scary enough, imagine not having any of the apps that contribute to 80 percent of the reason you have your phone on you in the first place. It’s kind of hard to imagine.
Truthfully, smartphones and their apps aren’t solely a negative impact on our generation’s communication.
In a Huffington Post article, psychologist Daniel Goleman eludes to the fact that it can be a beneficial element within our lives as well.
“Smartphones and social media expand our universe,” Goleman said. “We can connect with others or collect information easier and faster than ever.”
He isn’t wrong; in this day and age we can not only connect with people across the country, but across the planet within seconds. This widening of our communicative systems has led to a more connected, and some would argue, more educated world.
Not only are smartphones a connective mechanism, they are also a source of entertainment. There are instances when you are waiting alone, without peers near to engage with, that having a way to instantly connect with them can come in handy.
Maybe you’re riding the train or sitting at the dentist, where social media is an easy source of amusement to let the time pass.
Being able to scroll through your feed on any social media app and connect with those who are far from you is not only special, but fun. Hours can be spent using these apps and it is easy to understand why that is.
In the end, it’s up to you whether or not you believe social media is impacting your life in a negative way.
Attempting for just one day to free your mind from the confines of a mobile app may be an eye-opening endeavor. Ignore the social media networks and see if you’re able to get more accomplished. You may be surprised.