Are you GL.TCHed by Social Media?
Illustrated by Rebecca McFarlane
The word “glitch” is rarely used to describe human behaviour and is commonly thought of in terms of technology. I find it interesting that although we see our technology as glitchy, the ultimate glitch might be the ways in which technology affects us (whether it be our social behaviours, our connections to our environment, etc). Does our excessive use of, or even addiction to, technology create a disconnection, or alienation, from ourselves, our environment, and each other? For instance, I often find myself grabbing my computer when I’m feeling uncomfortable, or not wanting to think about or address something that’s bothering me. Although there are definitely pros to having a computer or phone, I think a lot of us use technology (whether intentionally or not) as a way of dealing with uncomfortable feelings (from boredom, to social anxiety). Our gravitation towards our phones has become almost a glitchy instinct, or maybe an avoidance of things that we think are glitchy (moods and feelings that we feel are out of place, socially awkward reactions or experiences, etc).
To explore these issues, I’m proposing an experiment, one that will hopefully have the added benefit of freeing your schedules a little and using your time to do things that you’re actually into. I want to challenge you (and myself) to leave social media for two weeks, or whatever amount of time you’re comfortable with. I’m hoping that through this experiment we can try to understand what our motivations are when we’re tempted to log into social media. Is it to procrastinate? To avoid an uncomfortable situation? To kill time? I also hope we will notice things about our environment, other people, or ourselves that we were missing when we busied our every free moment with Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever else. Hopefully by the end of the experiment, participants will have a better sense of which aspects of social media are detrimental to them and which are practical.
I invite everyone participating to gradually write about your experience and thoughts during this challenge or afterwards. You can leave comments about your experience in the comments section below this page, and you can also submit longer reflections for SPACE to consider publishing.
If you accept this challenge, take a break from Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and anything else you suspect might be distracting you from yourself and from life (e.g. solo Netflix binging) including any other form of electronic entertainment that you deem to be nonessential. Try to write down ahead of time the things you’re committing NOT to look at, and carry that paper around with you as a reminder.
The experiment begins at 12:00 a.m on Wednesday, January 11th, and ends at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, January 24th. We will also be inviting anyone in the entire College who is interested to join in the experiment for a shorter period, from Friday, April 7th at 12:00 am (in other words,Thursday at midnight) until Sunday, April 9th at 11:59 pm, and to share their experiences as well.
Are you GL.TCHed by Social Media? Am I? If so, how? Let’s find out!