Reclaiming my life from social media

Real life is much brighter than a LCD screen writes Robyn Gilmour

Written by Robyn Gilmour


You know, there came a time when I could actually hear my phone buzz even when it was dead. When I wholeheartedly believed that my Facebook messenger was letting me know about a notification right from my back pocket, when in actual fact, my phone was upstairs. On more than one occasion, I sat down to study for a class test or exam, checked my notifications and spent (wait for it) two hours scrolling through Tumblr.

Despite the minutes turning into hours faster than I thought was humanly possible, I did have the genuine intention of opening my maths book when the next even number came around. 14:09. Who starts studying at 14:09? I had to wait until it reached and even quarter and sure, wasn’t my faithful Samsung Galaxy the perfect way to amuse myself for the next six minutes.

I'd tell myself. "You know what Robyn? This is stressful enough, you totally deserve these six minutes away from the books." That was all fine and dandy until I once again checked the time and realised it was 14:18 and I was once again waiting for the next quarter.

It was then that it dawned on me, that I was spending, wasting hours and hours on something that wasn’t even real!  What good was scrolling through Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter doing anyone? The absence of this constant stream of information really stung when I sat down to write and English paper, or read a book to realise a) my vocabulary had diminished to the dregs of the English language that I had been exposed to for so long of Facebook and Twitter (realistically, how many new words can you learn from a 140 character tweet?) and b) I could no longer form an intelligent thought of my own.

To be honest, it frightened me. The apparent emptiness of real life once I had torn myself away from social media, how I could sit and look at a blank sheet of paper and not be able to string an opening sentence about the poetic techniques of John Montague or Yeats together. With twelve months until my leaving cert and my phone contract rapidly approaching its end (and with it the looming awareness that I would soon have to pay my own bills), something had to give and I knew it had to be my phone.

I expected the worst; the night terrors, cold sweats and shaking of going cold turkey but let me tell you, life is much brighter than a LCD screen. From the time I walked out of Harvey Norman, with my €15 sim free phone which, upon turning on had an impressive 4/5 bars of battery without ever having seen a charger, I knew things were looking up. It was like going outside after a day long pyjama day (another thing I’m not sure other people actually do). It was liberating in a way, in that I didn’t understand the extent of my imprisonment before I was free. You’ll understand me if you ever give a break from social networking a try.

Then came the issue of finances, a major problem for most people my age that I have found a solution to. If you take the time to look for a really cheap deal with any mobile network, you can save a fortune. Of course, you don’t have to take as extreme action as chucking your iphone but I do feel logging out of the aul Facebook app would do anyone a world of good! So there you have it, a bullet proof way to beat social networking and yourself.

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