Sacrificing Conversations for Mere Connections

Photo+by%3A+Ryan+Flory
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Sacrificing Conversations for Mere Connections

Photo by: Ryan Flory

Photo by: Ryan Flory

Photo by: Ryan Flory

Photo by: Ryan Flory

Have you ever innocently started to watch a video on Youtube, then the next thing you know, it’s two in the morning and you’ve spent the past four hours watching different ads for a new electric toothbrush? We’ve all been there and, to say the least, it’s not enjoyable to try and catch up on all the work you’ve procrastinated. This realization of lost time ultimately prompts the question: how much of an impact does social media truly have on your life?

To understand the complexity of the issue, I need to start from the very beginning. It was May 6th, 2019 on a Monday evening, and I needed to complete my two-page checklist of vital school assignments within the next ten hours. Although I knew how crucial it was for me to write my essays and finish my trigonometry homework, I somehow managed to find a viral cat video more interesting. I spent the entire night watching this one cat, completely forgetting about all of the work I should have been doing. The result was that I had to finish all my work half-heartedly and in the span of two hours. Let’s just say it was not the best essay I have ever written. The next day I was exhausted; I could barely hold my eyes open in any of my classes, keeping me from understanding everything I was supposed to be learning. 

Coincidentally, when I walked into my English class, we were watching a 2012 TED talk, “Connected but Alone,” by Sherry Turckle. It was as if my teacher was a mind reader, or well, maybe she just read my poorly written essay. Turckle explained how, “human relationships are rich and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology. And when we do, one of the things that can happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection.”

This one quote led me to question who I am as an individual and how I could have possibly allowed a tiny little device in my pocket to take over my whole life. I began self-monitoring my screen time, and discovered that in a week, I would spend 24 hours on my phone. It was insane, and I knew I needed to make a change. So after a small bet with my friends, I decided to take a whole year off of social media; to clarify, the three main apps: Snapchat, Instagram, and of course, Youtube. I was committed to making myself a better person by trying to see who I would become without feeling the urge to constantly check my phone. 

Photography by: Ryan Flory

As of now, I’m six months clean of my social media addiction and have, personally, never felt better. My screen time has decreased to an average of seven hours a week, nearly one hour per day, whereas before, I would spend seven hours daily. Although I can’t quite say my essays have gotten much better, I have been able to complete my work much more efficiently since I don’t have to deal with persistently being distracted by the small buzz of a cell phone.

I’m not saying that social media is terrible or that I am superior to anyone still on it, because if used correctly it can, in fact, be very helpful. Social media functions to publicize the latest updates and connect friends, however, it is the misuse of this media that creates an issue. The self absorption that many users emit and the constant need to be connected is extremely overwhelming. The media will continue to lead our newer generations into a never ending spiral if we do not recognize the toxic habits and put forth any efforts to combat them. If everyone traps themselves within this unhealthy technological obsession, people will further forget the value of the life that is given to them.

 

“We sacrifice conversation for mere connection.”
-Sherry Turckle.