Communicating Happiness: We Were on a Social Media Break

To jumpstart 100 Happy Days and my #CommunicatingHappiness blog series, I decided I would participate in a “social media cleanse” beginning tomorrow, April 13th. This may seem strange that someone who is building a career centered on digital media wants to remove herself from social media. I am choosing to do this, something I have attempted in the past, because I believe part of my 100 Happy Days needs to focus on being in the present. Being in the present is something we hear so often, I know at least I do; however, I can never seem to fully grasp it.

I’m not saying social media is the root of all evil when it comes to happiness, but I am saying that I often find myself in an endless scroll on so many platforms–opening and re-opening apps–yet never really feeling any sense of joy after finally closing out of them.

I stand corrected on that comment actually, because my friends do know how to crack me up with a good, relatable meme.

The point though, is that as much as I love sharing images and life moments on platforms like Instagram, I still find myself feeling more negative than positive feelings as I lock my phone. And this is coming from someone who is an honest advocate in not sharing photos just “for likes,” but rather for the love of the photo or the moment. Even with this mentality on sharing posts on my own profile, it’s still as if this system with a sole purpose of “connecting,” disconnects me from my own life.

I’m attempting just 21 days (not 100) of closing my apps because let’s be real, social media is still a huge part of my life and the industry I am beginning a career in. I do hope that taking a break will allow me to refresh and connect more with myself and support system, rather than trying to connect with the lives of strangers on digital media.

I just want to reiterate that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with social media, although I do believe there are plenty of misuses and abuses to the digital world. I think this break will be a nice chance to focus on the backbone of communication. Communication is not only done through digital forms, even though this has become the new norm. The foundation of communication is the same as it’s always been, no matter what new tech apps launch next. It is sharing stories, speaking with people, listening and being fully engaged, writing, and emphasizing physical, authentic relationships.

I must place a disclaimer on this “cleanse” because I will continue using Facebook as the sharing platform for my blog and keeping up with events on my campus, and obviously I’ll be on LinkedIn as well for professional reasons. Additionally, I’m going to be taking the same pictures I always do over the course of the next month, so be prepared for plenty of #latergrams coming your way on May 13th.

And if you try to contact me via social in the next month please remember:

-Rachel

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United We Once Stood

I can recall a conversation I had with my maternal grandmother about what it was like growing up in the 1930’s and 40’s. She grew up during the end of the Depression Era and during World War II, yet my grandma spoke about how special the country was at that time. We were at war and there were plenty of hardships, but I can remember her saying how the country was still so unified and proud.

This is something I envy. I envy the American pride that rang through so many of our citizens. This isn’t to say our society doesn’t have American pride anymore, but we are lacking the unity.

At only 20 years old, I and my generation have witnessed terrorism, tragedy and division within our own country. Our government has extreme problems to address right now in terms of national safety, and I feel that this should be bringing our country together–with the ultimate goal to fight for our safety. Instead I believe the exact opposite is happening. Every day there seems to be a greater division between the people of our country– whether this is due to political campaigns, media or social media, I do not know.

Back in the World War era people most definitely had different political and social opinions when there were obviously different political parties and agendas. However, we still acted as one nation–not tearing down those with opposing opinions simply because they were not our own (I understand this is a generalization–it would be ridiculous to say everyone was perfectly respectful to the other party). The point is that in order to keep America strong and safe, we do need to be a unified nation that takes necessary actions to uphold our strength.

I have no answers for how to solve our nation’s problems–I’m just a 20-year-old PR student. I do have one opinion, though: something needs to happen in our administrative leadership to bring our country back together in a way that individuals can respect their fellow Americans’ opinions without constantly finding offense or refusing to take responsibility for their own individual or political actions.

Yes it’s idealistic. I’m not asking for all of America to just get along–that would be crazy. But I do worry about where our nation is headed in terms of being “United, One Nation Under God” because this foundational belief seems to be missing in the news I watch and read everyday.

-Rachel