Following on from Hannah’s post (read here) regarding involuntarily taking three weeks away from social media, I thought I’d post about a similar situation that happened to me over the last few weeks. My iPhone has well and truly gone to phone heaven at this stage but I’m not so sure if all of my 3,000 photos/videos have gone with it! Hence why I am still holding out hope that my iCloud will be restored in the coming weeks. I received that same lovely message as Hannah,
“To verify your iCloud account, a code has been sent to your device ending in *********41.”
The only problem is that both my Irish and French numbers end in 41. It turns out my phone is backed up to my French number which no longer exists. Therefore, I now patiently wait for the next couple of weeks to see can all be restored.
In the meantime, these are the following five things that I noticed whilst I was phoneless.
- Everyone is addicted to their phones
It’s not just me who has this habit. Sometimes I feel rather depressed when I think about all the time I’ve wasted just doing nothing and scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or whatever. But everyone around me appears to be addicted to looking at their phone screens too. Addicted to looking and scrolling through nothingness essentially.
- Our need to share everything online
This became even more apparent on special occasions like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. If someone needs to share every aspect of their happy relationship online, how happy or secure are they really in that relationship? Also, it now seems that we all feel obliged to post something online on Mother’s Day.
We all continue to portray an image online of how we would like the outside world to view us and our own lives. When you’re off social media, you start to genuinely not care about these things. You’re spending all your time and energy with the people you care about or doing the things you care about to even be bothered about checking back in with the online world.
- Our need to have a phone when we’re out for food
This is a habit that’s always annoyed me even before I went phoneless for a couple of weeks. Sitting with someone who is on their phone and not listening to a word you’re saying is hardly the height of craic. What is the point in going for lunch if you’re not even going to bother fully immersing yourself in a conversation with the people you’re with? I find it hard to adapt back to our lunchtime habits after living in France where lunchtime lasts up to two hours. You chat and eat over the two hour period. That’s the whole point of it (This is also most likely why I now appear to be the slowest eater when I’m out with friends!). Anyway, the point I’m making is, if the French can talk over two hours of lunch and digest their food at a much slower pace, then why do many of us feel the need to have our phones out while we eat our food in basically 20 minutes or less?
- I felt less stressed away from it
You don’t quite realise the anxiety that comes with the constant feeling of needing to keep up all the time until you’re away from it all and phoneless. Perhaps not everyone feels that way but I’m sure I’m not the only one. Chances are that whilst you haven’t heard or seen a story on social media first like everyone else, you can be sure that people are going to tell you about it regardless. Whilst you feel like you might be missing out on something, you’re actually not. You’re just discovering or being told about some important viral videos a couple of hours or days after everyone else (sarcasm intended!).
- We can’t flake on people as easily
Finally, just like Hannah, I didn’t miss social media as much as I thought I would. In fact, when I went back to Toulouse for a couple of days to visit friends, I particularly noticed this. I have not one single photo from the few days away (very uncharacteristic of me!). Also, I winged it every day by messaging everyone in the morning from my friend’s house and telling them my plans for the day. Then I would just turn up at the bar or wherever and hope for the best that they would turn up at the time I’d said earlier on in the day. I was phoneless so if they didn’t turn up then I couldn’t tell if they were just late or weren’t coming at all! You feel more of an obligation to meet people at the time you’d previously specified because you have no way of simply messaging them a few minutes before meeting up to cancel on them. I think that’s a positive, don’t you?
Louise Harvey is studying for an MSc in Communications, Advertising and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @louiseharvey_ // LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harveylouise/