Article in brief: The author explains the reasoning behind her decision to completely disconnect from social media for a while.
Social Media suicide is a very peculiar behavior, one which I have personally contemplated over and over again. I’ve seen it done before, I’ve read extensively on it. The idea of disconnecting leaves me wondering, is it an attempt to attract attention? Or can pain override every other emotion erasing the will to carry on expressing oneself?
I’ve gone and interviewed a few social media suicide victims. Their responses altered between the search of true meaning of human relationships, to the need to quit the addiction and therefore gaining more time that could be put in better use. But of course, there were some who wanted to be heard; wanted to be tagged to once again resurrect from their social media deaths. Then, there are other suicide victims that didn’t just end in the social media strata sphere, but extended into the social life arena. Slowly, these suicides evolved into the real life, with the need to be removed entirely from all social interactions.
But why I ask in a time when through social media one could connect to everyone anywhere everywhere at anytime, and not to mention the career opportunities one could cultivate through online resume databases, why at a time when you don’t have to ever feel alone or bored does one need to give up on social media?
I addressed these concerns of mine to a friend who without delay went on a pro-social media life campaign condemning any act of social media suicide as an attention seeker. However, in the midst of his social media propaganda rampage, he brought up a very unusual word: escapism. This word lingered while the rest of his speech muted away.
I looked up the word escapism on the Merriam and Webster:
an activity or form of entertainment that allows people to forget about the real problems of life
I asked myself the question: How many times have I reached to my mobile in order to avoid an inconvenient confrontation, whether a confrontation with others, or indeed confrontations with my own thoughts?
I have been through a very hard year, and a lot of challenges were swung my way. It became second nature, the moment I would wake up and was confronted with the sound of reality I picked up my mobile and went onto Instagram. Every time I was rejected and heard a no for a project or a research, I would end up hours on Pinterest looking for inspirational quotes. If I ever found myself in a room filled with strangers or a room filled with acquaintances on their phones, I cut the awkward silence and whatsapped every possible person until someone replied.
I avoided my real problem. My real problem was the need to face these problems, not to bandage them up with inspirational quotes.
The very nature of social media is in its accessibility and availability. Unlike a book or a movie it does not have an ending. You can easily have enough content to last you an entire lifetime and everyone can BRB. There is no disruption unless disconnected.
To add on to the point I’m trying to make, I couldn’t have said it any better than Prince Ea did in this video:
And so I disconnected.
To read the author’s reflection post the disconnection phase, click here.
Al Shamsi’s recently published book Alayah by Sail Publishinghas been awarded the support from Dubai Culture part of their printing and publishing movement “Reading in Arabic Challenge”.