Friday, April 24, 2015

Life Without Snapchat

On Tuesday, April 14th 2015, I made a big, grown up decision...I deleted my Snapchat.
At first, I gave all of my Snapchat friends a heads up, posting a picture stating that my account would soon be gone. I was planning to delete my account 24 hours later, when the picture would disappear from my story. I let the Twittersphere know what was up, too.
...Then I changed my mind...It's no secret that I lack patience...
A lot of people have been asking me why I chose to remove myself from the buzzing world of Snapchat, and I will gladly tell you.

According to Digital Marketing Stats/Strategy/Gadgets, 77% of college students use Snapchat daily, and the average amount of time that 18-29 year old users spend on Snapchat everyday is 20 minutes. I think most users can agree that they spend far more than 20 minutes on Snapchat everyday. I know I did.

 I personally see no real purpose or significance behind Snapchat. Since it was not benefitting me or my quality of life, it had been acting as a distraction and a way to waste time. Sure, it allows you to peak into other's lives, but so does Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which I already use. Annnnd honestly, with the amount of posting we do these days, those three sources of social media are more than enough. I receive plenty of updates on your animals, car troubles, significant others, food and that person who has been annoying you lately. Trust me, I get it.

However, the main reason I deleted my Snapchat was because I want to post less. I had gotten to the point where I was looking for reasons to post, pulling out my phone like a reflex when I saw something even slightly interesting.

Dr. Linda Henkel conducted a study with 28 university students. They were told to observe 15 objects and to photograph 15 others. Dr. Henkel asked the students to describe each object in detail the next day and reported the following: "If participants took a photo of each object as a whole, they remembered fewer objects and remembered fewer details about the objects and the objects’ locations in the museum than if they instead only observed the objects and did not photograph them."

In today's society, with the aid of social media, we have become accustomed to carrying double lives, switching back and forth between who we are in reality and how we appear on social media. Based on the amount of time my peers and I spend online, I'm afraid that the social media versions of ourselves are becoming more important to us than who we are in reality. As a culture, we spend so much time trying to make sure that we appear attractive, fun, interesting and put together online that we neglect, or take away from these aspects in our actual lives.

Now don't get me wrong, I love sharing things online for my friends and family to see just as much as I love keeping up with their posts. Being over 300 miles away from home, social media has become more so a way for me to keep up with everyone I love as I am beginning to create my own path. That being said, I do not want to be remembered based on the way my life appears on social media. I deal with plenty of my own struggles and stumbling blocks that a random person who follows me online would never know about, because I do not post about them. I do not want my sense of worth to be determined by how many followers I have and how many likes my Instagram pictures get. I want to spend my time enjoying every moment I encounter, soaking the tiniest details in, rather than making sure it's documented properly. I would encourage you all to do the same. Stop sitting behind your various screens, finding yourselves envious of all the things other people are doing, and embark on some adventures of your own.

That being said, I am not permanently signing off. I don't think I'll ever use Snapchat again, but there are more than enough sites that I post to almost daily, for those who are interested. I simply want to cut back my time online, and focus on savoring and enjoying the reality that is my life instead of just trying to make it appear that way. I think I'm off to a good start.

Thanks for the fun, Snapchat!

See ya never.

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Maira Gall