Social Media: Continued Discussions and Temporary Conclusion

The seemingly impossible task of excommunicating myself from social media has been a continued project that I have managed to hold true to. But, considering I have many friends that are extremely hard to get ahold of and considering it is the holidays I have decided to take a brief break from my maverick holdout. With this being said, I still have an updated report card from myself considering I am approaching my third consecutive week from social media. I have up to this point still abstained from any infractions to perfection. The addicting urges to scroll, check, and stare blankly at my screen are completely gone and I believe I have cured myself from this horrid and underexplained disease that is social media over usage. From the standpoint of sleep I have experienced better quality still. I am completely inclined to believe that this increased standard of sleep and my lack of night phone exposure correlate to the utmost degree, so for that I must praise the Lord. I have increased awareness and the ability to remember small things, like what I looked at my phone for in the first place. I’m sure we have all opened our phone with an objective in mind but then blankly stare at an app without any clue as to what we intended to accomplish originally. So, we decide to scroll on Instagram until our memory allows us to remember, in which it may or may not do. A truly frustrating common occurrence to the best of my memory. I have noticed an increase in my thoughts and a better ability to plan things considering I have a massive increase in spare time. It seems that my thoughts are more relevant and important. The insignificant worries I had before are also gone. Like, is this picture going to get a ton of likes? Is this something I want to tweet? What should I use as a caption? Is this worthy of my story? I wonder what ________’s story is about? All these blank and pointless thoughts are thankfully out of my mind, and for that I must also thank the Lord. I have an increased interest in religion and a relationship with God, because my mind had to address it from my lack of “escapes.” The things are fast from social media will help you accomplish are astonishing. It really helps you find who you are, and it helps you analyze other people and you take a more considerate approach to their person. Like, their goals are more real as are yours, truly a beautiful thing to say the least. The insatiable desire to be accepted by your peers is often addressed on social media and measured by likes, but it should be satisfied by the ability of one to make some kind of difference in their community. We should take pride in our extol of the Lord! And to allow others to see the example you have set and lead others to him to some form. It goes farther than likes. My decry of social media is not to be confused with a new found haughty, that is not my intentions and I still believe we are all subject to growth, and it takes us all different paths to finally achieve our finest form. The zenith of this excommunication would be that I have a predilection for the smaller things in life. As a perusal, this entire three week experience has been filled with nothing but growth and self-satisfaction from the lack of comparison associated with social media. Obviously, the nadir of this experience was in the beginning of this maverick experiment. The confusion I experienced and my loss of information was overwhelming to begin, but soon my confusion was replaced with jubilance. I initially considered this to be a rash decision, and the common discussions about a snapchat story seemed ostentatious to begin, but soon it was just casual conversation that I seldom noticed. Social media in moderation is possible the most useful thing ever invented, but as an addiction it is deleterious. This is incontrovertible, it is an absolute truth. My temporary integration to the world of social media will be a transition done carefully. My knowledge of abuse will be my greatest friend during this integration. My strike of excommunication from social media is not complete, but brought to a halt for the holidays. To all a challenge is still out but one I would recommend to be postponed until these special times of the year are concluded. Still, the odds are not in your favor.

 

Poor Investments of the Impatient

 

            The inspiration behind my latest pondered concept originate from a reading that I avidly and patiently waited to read upon its release.  It was a blog that was in the works for a couple weeks and one from a friend that got me into this world of creative writing. For a backstory, this post was in complete reference to the “Dating vs Marriage” concept, and whether they are synonymous. The blog goes into intricate detail regarding the differences between these two fully separate forms of relations between two people and it shares with us the Bibles words to justify the writer’s belief. In all honesty, it is a slightly long post but one I would highly recommend to you all. Every single word is meticulously placed and the message is quite eye opening. I will leave a link and title at the end for any of you that want to read it, it won’t disappoint I assure you. Anyways, from that blog a concept was stuck in my mind, that maybe we are a generation of people that over invest ourselves into things. Think about it, have you ever dedicated yourself to something to an extent that it changes your social or even financial situations in a negative way? I am sure that we all have. We are people obsessed with fulfilling a pride in things that we may have no business in dealing with or pursuing. It is human nature to want to become the best at something or to avoid failure of any type. Investing yourself into a good cause is great, and it is the only way to get better as a person, but over investing yourself to a cause that is not worthy of time or even investing yourself to a good cause in which you are not qualified or able to be of service to are not justifiable although your motives may have been morally sound. Time is the most valuable asset we have as people. Once time is wasted or misused there is no return policy in which we are compensated. Another awful use of our time and devotion would be blindly or eagerly dedicating to a cause prematurely or without reassurance of its legitimacy. For this example, consider the American Civil War. The Confederate States of America had every advantage imaginable over the Union. They had Military Tradition/experience, pride, cause (the cause was to uphold the institution of slavery as a means of sustaining their agricultural based economy), and they were economically self-sustaining. The only advantages the Union had was population and a navy. With all the southern advantages, they elected to proceed to war without first building a decent Navy dismissing it as a slight disadvantage. In their minds, it was a war that would be based on land, and that a navy would do little good considering the terrain for the country and their strategic placement of their capital city. The Confederates played their advantages to perfection. They were dominant through the first ¾ or so of the war. Until, the North discovered their rivals Achilles hill. The North would eventually use their Navy to create a blockade so long that the south could not export their cash crops to Britain, and so that the south could not import ammunition or medical supplies. Without trade the South was doomed to lose and their blind investment ended up burning them, literally. Research William Sherman’s march to the sea if my reference went over your head. Anyways, this example provides sufficient evidence that blind investments are a bad idea and that they usually don’t produce positive results. Even in the case of eager men from over 150 years ago.  I guess to sum this up it would be that over investing yourself is a nasty thing that only leads to stress or complete failure. I am guilty of this, but I was able to replace my poor time management and time investments to help propel myself into a more positive mindset and a more positive position socially for the sake of my sanity. Sometimes less is more is what I am trying to get at. I don’t know your daily life, but it may be possible to restructure your time in such a way that you allow adequate communication to the people that actually care about you, instead of leaving them behind in your fast-paced adult life, or teenage life for that matter. There is not any reason to bury yourself in your responsibilities when you can find other ways to do them. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that you will be busy. I am not suggesting to anyone to neglect your personal responsibilities or hobbies. If you have a major exam upcoming study, if you are trying to become right with God, then read the word without conviction. If you are an individual that has found a congregation of like-minded people in which you can converse or share your passion with than continue to strive towards whatever you seek. If everyone of importance in your life is interested in your particular profession than you need not to slow down, but if someone is on a different page but is still striving, maybe you can allow some time for this person. That is if they are truly of importance to you. The entire concept essentially boils down to the fact that we are a people of poor time investments and people that are eager to forget about people that we consider important. We need to all live our own lives, but there is not an adequate reason to exclude people just because their interests differ. If they are condescending on your preferences than maybe you can speed off a little bit. In closing, I would just like my readers to consider their personal lives, time management, time investments, blind investments etc… and maybe try to restructure if it is necessary. If you must you can create and fill out one of those dreadful time planning charts issued by the majority of our Freshman Seminar professors. They are an easy way to visually see how you spend your time, and have actually helped me in the past. Good luck in your investments and as promised the link to the “Dating and Marriage Are Not Synonymous” blog is below

Titled “Dating and Marriage Are Not Synonymous” kenziejaysblog.wordpress.com

Infinite Prosperity

The idea of success is an ever-varying concept that needs some clarification. Success is most consistent with the fabulous and over glorified life of our favorite athletes, musicians, politicians, authors and any other person who breaks national spotlight and earns the coveted riches associated with fame. If that is your idea of success than unfortunely the odds are stacked against you fiercely, but possibilities are still there for you to achieve this rare and worshipped life style, so all I can say is good luck to you! But what happens to the rest of us? Are we unsuccessful and unskilled, doomed to a life of miserable and distasteful failure? No, I would argue that we are actually the more blessed and capable people in this world. Not all of us, but the few of us that are willing to grit our teeth to experience the wonders of life that keep you up at night and the dreams that to most will be just dreams. You don’t have to be on a stage to experience a euphoria and adrenaline rush that is overwhelmingly addictive and desired by us all. We can achieve that just from achieving our goals as people. From traveling the world to seeing all the wonders God has bestowed upon us. Simple things that are essentially free in cost, but valuable to us far more than any simple material object that will eventually deteriorate and lose value. You don’t have to be a Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian to enjoy life and experience the finer things our world has to offer. The idea is not to shame those that desire a lavish life style, but to give a ray of hope to those that measure success by material objects and things that have empty meaning. Recently, I watched a documentary called “Beware of Christians” and it is what inspired me to think about this entire concept. To summarize, it is about a group of college aged men that travel to Europe to practice Christianity in a less traditional way. They learned a lot about people as a whole and had many focuses, but the most lasting focus was the general appeal of people to nice things. A man with an extraordinary car was applauded just because of his car, and a multitude of people swarmed his car in what was a frenzy of materialism. As they progressed they had many mishaps but still showed a general happiness. It showed me how much fun can be had from just being around people that you like and having a core group of friends that support you as you support them. Happiness does not correlate with material objects. I’m not saying stay unemployed and be homeless, obviously money is required to live and be safe, but it won’t buy happiness, friends, true relationships, or self esteem. To be successful in life you need to enjoy your life and find your group of people. Without happiness, you can’t succeed. Without drive, desire, will and determination you can’t succeed. To prosper in life, you must love the life you live and have a love for your purpose once it is found. Our purposes differ from person to person and that is what makes us all unique. The prosperity and happiness achievable are infinite as long as you find what you desire to do, contribute and surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Infinite prosperity is an option, as long as you are willing to sacrifice and go through whatever hell you face along the way. Not all of us will be world recognized celebrities, but we can all be to some degree successful people. Just define your success and start your journey. 

Abrupt Disconnection

          Before you can even get a basic understanding to my latest endeavor, you must understand my backstory for this and understand my personality. A friend of mine went on a weekend trip to one of her favorite camp style religious gatherings out of state, a young life camp. She was fully expecting to be stripped of her phone for the weekend as are all campers that decide to spend their weekend there. Unfortunately, she was a staff member, and that doesn’t require the relinquishing of any personal devices including cell phones. Okay, not so bad. Why not just continue the fast on your own time while there, right? Nope, her and all her other friends that attended were incapable of completing their social fast for even a single weekend, which she considered to be an atrocity to their self-control. Anyways, she decided to delete all social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.… from her phone indefinitely. Once she arrived back on campus at our school she informed me of her intent and I considered it to be a joke or some other far-fetched pledge to never be completed in a million years. I even laughed out loud as soon as the words flowed from her mouth. Random college aged kids can’t be stripped of our beloved social platforms, we will curl up and die of boredom in a corner, won’t we? Well, she challenged me saying that there was no way I could fast either. Initially I thought to myself, “You’re damn right I can’t, why would I want to? Literally no point.” But the challenge was overwhelming to me. If told I can’t accomplish something or if considered incapable of a task I will attempt it, no matter its magnitude. So, I promptly deleted all my accounts from my phone. At least until she redownloaded them declaring me the better of us. But, that pledge was well over two weeks ago, and that sounds like a short time but that is undoubtedly my longest social fast since, well, before I made my “Myspace” account in like sixth grade. Given this prolonged period I suppose it is only fair to share with each of you my experience so far.

The Dreadful Beginning

            Initially, moments after my release from my social prison of constant checking, I felt weak, uninformed and lost. I was considering this to be a foolish mistake and was literally waiting on the text saying, “Hey, maybe this isn’t a good idea. I have mine back. There’s no point of it.” However, after several grueling hours I realized that it was a text that would never come. After most of the day had passed and my nightly ritual of studying in the library had concluded, I was off to shower and sleep in my dorm. Showering was obviously a rather simple task that never involved Instagram scrolling anyways. No problems there. Sleeping was a much different ordeal that I had trouble with. Without thinking I had deleted my common pre-sleep ritual. My nights consisted of scrolling on all my accounts for at least half an hour, and that was on my most tired nights. Scrolling could last up to a couple hours on my restless nights and that was a normal thing for me. Another issue was I had been producing Twitter worthy quotes or captions without an outlet to post them on. I had the immense desire to tweet them or something, but had nowhere to post them. It was almost justifiable to download my accounts once again just to share with the world my brainy thoughts or to sound vague to receive retweets or possibly likes on Instagram. After the first three days, my life became much easier on several different general categories.

Sleep

            As mentioned earlier my sleep schedule had rituals involving social media. I realize now that prolonged scrolling and internet exposure before bed was a contributor to my past sleeping issues. Before, I was lucky to be asleep by 3:00 am, but now sleeping before then is almost too easy, except for finals week of course. I have noticed a crazy difference in my sleep quality, and I’m not retiring to bed any earlier. I’m still a horrible night owl, but an extra couple hours of sleep is amazing! Another thing my social disconnection allows is a more productive morning after waking up. Not only am I less tired but I am less tempted to scroll on the gram in the morning. This helps me get extra work done or just grab a quick workout if I know my evening is busy.

Social

            Oddly enough I have had a better social life since the decision to disconnect. Sure, I don’t converse via comments or DM’s, but I have more face-to-face conversations it seems. It could be the subconscious decision to engage in more conversations because I realize communication is now very limited. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed this spike in conversation and it will hopefully drive me to continue this fast.

Academics

            This one is probably too obvious for some of you. My grades have always been well, but they could always improve. It has only been two weeks but I have a sharper focus in the classroom that I think must have some correlation to this newly formed fast. It is likely due to my improved quality of sleep, but nonetheless it exists and is noteworthy. My exam grades were consistent previously, but after performing the math I noticed a five-point increase from my previous exam average compared to my new exam grades received recently. Some of you all may be asking “well, what if he received took an L early in the semester?” Well, in order to have reasonable numbers I went ahead and excluded any grades that were poor in comparison to my average grades.

Social Media Fasting, is it worth it?

            My answer to that is a huge yes! I personally challenge each and every one of you to attempt a fast from social media for a weekend, or maybe just a three-day period in the week. Just give your number out to specific people that need it, or just post it on your Twitter or Instagram explaining your personal challenge and include your cell phone number in the post. Believe me, people that want to talk to you will keep in contact with you. I decided not to attach my number to any farewell post and I had unsaved numbers texting me with names and saying they had not heard from me in a while and got my number from whoever. In all honesty, we post things for attention of approval. I used to post snapchat stories of me working out or going on a 6 am jog in a “Hey, look at me” manner. You don’t post stories of you working out, partying, studying or whatever it may be to inform, but to receive approval from your peers for your actions that are oh so cool and amazing. I assure when you post that bikini pic from last summer it may be a throwback, but it is for attention, likes and approval. Men do the same thing, when you post that “transformation” picture you are doing it for likes and praise. I did it, and you are too but you won’t admit it. It took me up until three days ago, to realize the motives for my prior social actions and posting habits. One thing you learn from a social media fast is that you still need approval. You need to feel good about yourself and to be told you are doing a good job, but you learn who needs to be telling you this. You don’t need hundreds of likes, twenty comments, forty-three retweets or any other numerical value to feel like a decent and productive human being and contributor to society. You just need to value yourself, value others that mean something to you and try to make them notice you. I would also argue that social media is the root to waisted time. Instead of all that pointless and counterproductive scrolling and observing you could be doing literally anything. Reading if you like to read, working out if you are into fitness, hunting if you hunt, or whatever it is you enjoy doing. Instead of scrolling through the gram you could be speaking to the person you are supposed to be hanging out with, whether it be a friend or significant other. After my farewell to social media I have a growing disdain for scrolling during conversation or constant “storying” of ones’ surroundings. I have also noticed a strength in my short-term memory. I suppose this is also of relation but I can’t guarantee it as a fact. All I can say is that I have an improved life since my disconnection and I can’t find a single complaint or regret from it.

Concluding Thoughts

            Throughout this entire blog, I have expressed positives, pet peeves and random tangents as they appear in my mind. I would like to express that I have no disdain or hard feelings toward anybody that still uses social media. I realize fully that I am the minority in this case. The number of odd looks and redundant questions I receive upon my disconnection confession are almost as much a part of me as the blood in my veins at this point. Many can’t comprehend how I live without it and I would have thought the same thing before. I can’t cast any harsh judgements on my peers for their usage. It is not weakness expressed by them or even lack of self-control. Some don’t desire to disconnect and that I can see. Some may have no other means of communication and I can respect that as well. As I said before, I was literally praying for a text ending the madness that I bestowed on myself. I initially underestimated my challenger’s self-control because I fully lacked confidence in our ability to accomplish this insurmountable objective. As a progress report we are both still fully disconnected from our social media accounts and have yet to have any infractions. I can’t say with confidence that social media is going to be out of my life forever. I may one day return to its grip but with a far different approach to its use. As of right now my intentions are to stay away from it, even if my challenger decides to end our challenge. At this point I feel like my abrupt disconnection from social media has impacted my life so positively that I would be doing myself an unforgivable disservice if I were to download those time consuming apps once again. Our challenge has still been upheld to the fullest extent of its boundaries and for that I can say that I am proud. Not many college aged social media addicts can abruptly and fully disassociate from our accounts for any period longer than four hours not including sleep. In order to spread the unexplainable mental increase I have received from my fast I challenge you all to a three day fast. Do it with a partner if you must and maybe add an incentive between you all if that would yield success. Tell me how it goes and good luck to each of you that attempt it. The odds are not in your favor!