Do we know of a life without social media, or better, do we remember of a life without Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, Snapchat, LinkedIn? What was it like before we all had to be watchable, or before we were a swipe right?
If you are old enough to have witnessed the rise and consequent viral spread of social media, come on board for a trip down memory lane and nostalgia. If on the other hand you don’t know of what it means to use phones ONLY to make phone calls, hop on for the revelation that will change the way you see your life.
When Facebook came out…
I was there. At the time, 2006, I was experiencing my glory days at Uni in the UK. My social life was everything I wished for, actually, even more. I made a bunch of new friends – and future colleagues – I was in a uni sports team, spending a good part of the day at the library and on field filming as well as recovering from mid-week partying. Then something so understatedly harmless as ‘this thing where you can see pictures of your friends’ started to be the topic of conversation in between lectures; and I was one of the first ones spreading it over to Italy I guess, where friends showed a little bit of scepticism about it and didn’t accept the invitation straight up.
When it first came out though, no one was documenting their lives on it, especially because the list of Facebook friends included more or less the same list of friends you would have in real-life. Nowadays, not only does Facebook work as great marketing tool for emerging business, but acts as well as one of the primary source of information and news.
When did it become so incessantly compulsory to check things out on social media?
The point is: we haven’t become obsessed with having a social media life overnight, it has been a rather gradual process, one we perceive as a state in which we wound up in rather than having consciously chosen to be in it.
So, how was life before social media?
There could be an infinite number of things that occur in everyone’s daily routine that are different before the rise of social media. I’ll go through some of the most annoying habits we have picked up and the things I personally miss the most about using phones for what they were invented for.
- Enjoying telling each other the stories of your holidays vs today’s ‘I’ve seen your Insta story’, the place looked amazing’. Catching up with friends and families after a long time you haven’t’ been together is somewhat spoilt, as nowadays they can all keep up with your life thanks to social media.
- Ghosting is not really something you can do in modern days, is it? Can you really end a relationship for good by disappearing from their lives? Provided that you can block them and stop posting altogether, aren’t they still able to see photos in which you might end up being tagged in? Before social media you could literally lose contact with your exes, as long as you didn’t live in a tiny rural village.
- Reading newspapers and books. I’m not saying we don’t read anymore, but social media play a big role as ‘time fillers’. When we are bored now, we pick up our phones and start scrolling, often not reading anything at all.
- Art, music, politics in the era of social media have turned us into a disorganised mass of believers, incessantly rioting over some comment. What I mean is that social media have allowed anyone to have a voice in it, and we feel entitled to speak up and get our opinion across, whether we are art/politics/current affairs conesseirus or not. That’s when we realize humankind will soon be extinct.
- Being famous. What does that even mean nowadays, when the post of an egg on Instagram is the most famous thing in the world? Life before social media put us in front of a question: have I got any skills, talents, aspirations in life, something I can work with to pursue happiness and a healthy balanced lifestyle? Nowadays we are all obsessed with likes and hearts, unable to find gratifications from the things we loved to do before smartphones.
- Wasting time. We keep saying time is the new ideal of luxury, but we are not very good at making the most of it. Is life better without social media? Before feeds and feeds of #OOTD and #foodporn and #nofilter nonsense, we weren’t always sure what to do with our free time, but surely we knew what not to do. Organising a meet up with your friends to then not even looking at them as you are glued to your phone, is not my ideal of life goals.
- Your life is your life, keep it private. The Ferragnez, the Kardashians, the whoevers have shared with the entire world some of their most intimate thoughts and moments in their lives. Why? The celebs have turned into the biggest narcissist, a trait that thanks to social media will backfire on them and lead to their rapid fall one day. If the celebs do it, commoners do exercise this practise to the maximum, thankfully, with disastrous results.
I have personally stopped using Instagram, simply because I have lost interest in sharing my life trough square filtered photos, but I still have look at what brands and celebs post on their profiles, of course, or it would mean I would be living under a rock.
Is a life without social media possible? Yes, but there would be plenty of things you need to be prepared to be OK with not knowing about.