Alycia Hibbert

Every week, PDBY sends their journalists to experience something different and exciting. This week, Alycia Hibbert experienced a week without Social Media.

For a week, I experienced the life of the middle ages, life without social media. I know what you’re thinking. But that’s not so hard? Well, that’s what I thought too, which is why in addition to giving up Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, I also gave up the “social” part of WhatsApp, which is a pretty daunting task when you realize how much communication through social media is prevalent in day to day living.

I went about temporarily disabling my Instagram, deleting Twitter on my phone, blocking YouTube on my browser and turning off notifications for WhatsApp, only using it to communicate for projects, my commuting group and my parents (because my mom doesn’t take “it’s for an article” as an adequate reason for not replying).

To be honest, giving up social media wasn’t the end of the world. To me, these apps are more of leisure, something to do when lectures haven’t started, or to procrastinate starting the never-ending assignments I have due.  Not having the apps meant being bored on those occasions or having to work.

However, WhatsApp was a completely different experience. It was incredibly hard having to justify to myself not talking to those I love. I received numerous messages from friends asking why I deleted Instagram, with some assuming the reason for my social media absence to be a possible breakup with my boyfriend. Naturally, I couldn’t reply to these messages, but it was interesting to see what people assume of you when you are not in the social media sphere. I realized that people actively notice your presence on multiple platforms.

I learnt that you should not block yourself off from people if you don’t want to. I have best friends who live in France, and not being able to communicate with them, especially when I can’t see them in person, made me see how social media is a convenient tool for communication, and shutting yourself away from it completely isn’t always good. Ultimately, you should never feel forced to regard or disregard social media, irrespective of what people say. There is nothing wrong with being active or inactive on social media.

I think everyone ought to take a break from the outside world and focus more on self-love and self-care, though love and care come in various forms.  I think part of my self-care comes in the form of expressing myself to those around me, and not being able to do that was a challenge. The prevalent goal is to be able to express ourselves in any way and form, whether it’s through private platforms or public ones.


Image: Elmarie Kruger

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