Breaking Up With Technology

Seven days ago I made the decision to purge my life of social media. Actually, let me rephrase. A week ago I cleansed my phone, my iPad, and my computers of all sites and apps social media related.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. If I got rid of all my social media then why the heck am I posting on my blog? Isn’t this considered social media?

Okay, yeah.. I guess it probably is. But for me this is more of a public journal than anything else. If there was a way for me to hand write my thoughts and instantly share them with the world, then I’d be all over it. This is the next best thing.

When I decided to take a break from the technologically connected world, it wasn’t because of some “New Year’s Resolution.” If that was the case, I would have started this on January first. No, the initial reason I did this was because I caught myself unconsciously reaching for my phone every two minutes to check the same three apps to see if anything new and worthwhile was happening in the social media world. And the fact that it had become almost a second nature or a habit that I wasn’t even consciously aware of irked the hell out of me. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it had become somewhat of an addiction. Had I gotten any new likes? Comments? Had anybody significant viewed my Snapchat story? GOOD GOD, SARAH. GET FUCKING REAL.

Another reason I deleted my apps, which I am not ashamed to admit, is that I had turned social media into my way to stalk the hell out of people [I mean, c’mon, I’m a female. If you haven’t figured out by now that we’re all detectives, then you’ve been living under a very large rock inside a very tiny bubble]. Oh, you have an ex-girlfriend? Oh, she’s actually still your girlfriend? Oh, you did what last night with who? Why wasn’t I invited? UGH. And then agonizing over the knowledge I’d obtained and wondering why I couldn’t just have the effing willpower to keep my mind otherwise occupied. Yup, guilty. And, yeah, it’s damned stupid that I have to remove the apps to physically keep myself from checking up on folks, but, hey, we all have to start somewhere.

And on the flip side of that, drama was starting because of things that I’d been posting. Even removing unwanted followers [read: ex-boyfriends] from your apps doesn’t keep them from finding out what you’re doing and bombarding you in one way or another with petty drama and arguments. So, fine, if I’m not posting anything at all then nobody can run and tattle on me like a bunch of seven-year-olds. Yes, people. This is what our world has come to. I’m almost 29 and these are the sort of things I am forced to spend my days ducking and dodging. And honestly, who really has the time and energy for that?

My final reason for disentangling myself from the cyber world was because I wanted to focus less on the fake life I was attempting to portray to the world, and more on the real life that goes on behind it. The problem with social media is that we actively choose what we want the rest of the world to see. Filtered photos, ten-second snippets, status updates.. It’s all put out there because we want people to see it. It’s never anything we’re ashamed of. Nothing we show ever reflects a bad moment or memory. And if it does, it’s because we’re trying to portray some message from some almighty pedestal. “Look what I did, but I learned from it and I’ve grown from it and now I’m a badass bitch.” If you follow my blog then you know that I, myself, am guilty of this. Even now, in this post.. “Well look at me purging social media from my life. I’m freaking awesome.” Whoop-de-fucking-doo, amiright?

But seriously, guys. I wanted to start focusing my energy on more positive things. More real life stuff. Like the people I talk to and see every day – my family and friends. The people who I support and love and who equally reciprocate. My dog, who probably wonders what the heck I’m doing half the time when I’m constantly snapping photos and videos of her for Snapchat and Instagram. I want to buy a house this year. And instead of scrolling through social media feeds, I can house hunt. Instead of checking to see how many likes and comments I got on something I posted, I can study for my broker’s license so that I can further myself in my career. These are the things that I want to concentrate on. The things that I should have been concentrating on all along.

I am not, by any means, saying that social media is bad. Facebook, for example, keeps me connected with my mom’s side of the family, who just happen to be scattered all over the continental U.S [and actually a cousin who is now in Japan]. Aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, grandparents, great aunts and uncles.. They’re all on there and we all stay in touch because of Facebook. A lot of people use Facebook as a way to stay updated with news stories and current affairs. BUT, on the other hand, I believe that it’s vitally important, especially in this day and age, that we begin to limit ourselves with social media. Limit our daily usage. Limit what we post and how often we check to see the response on it.

Like I said, I am only a week into this thing. I didn’t set a timeline for myself or a goal to see how long I could go without social media. I just wanted to take a break. And however long I go, well.. Only time will tell.

What Does Technology Do For You?

As far as technology goes, I’ll be one of the first to argue that it is, in many ways, hurting our culture. I, for one, prefer the relaxation and conjuring of imagination that only a book can bring to the human mind. I despise television – in my opinion it doesn’t teach us anything of value, and, these days, is just thousands of channels of mindless drivel. Have Americans really become so bored with life that we have resorted to filming penniless rednecks whose only form of entertainment is drinking too much moonshine and passing out? Ahh.. but I digress…

I do, however, believe that some technology has become extremely beneficial, and, in fact, helpful, to many of us and our ways of life.

The camera, for one. I never truly appreciated its value until this semester. I am enrolled in a photography and Photoshop class – I am one month into the semester and have already learned a hundred more things about a digital camera that I never knew before. As a creative-minded individual, I am soaking up every tidbit of information like a sponge. And as a design student, I am even more appreciative of having a camera in my phone – and a good camera, at that!

One of the things that I’m learning in my design classes is that we can (and must!) draw inspiration from everywhere and everything. That means pulling out your sketchbook and roughly outlining what’s caught your eye. OR.. Pulling out your camera phone and snapping a photo that can be uploaded to your computer and saved into your archives. *Sidenote: I hate to put down sketching, because as old-school as it is, and as modern as design has become (we now use CAD and other design programs to draw out future homes, gardens, and commercial spaces), it is so much more fulfilling to hand-draw something on paper. I actually prefer this method, myself.

That said, it sure is a lot easier to remember what something looks like when you can pull up the image of it.

The beauty of digital archives is the ability it gives us to see different forms of design right next to each other. As an interior design student in today’s society, the curriculum we learn in school is heavily contemporary. I tend to balk when it comes to designing something that I feel is cold and lifeless, but there are aspects of modern design that can be warm and inviting if done the correct way. I am more appreciative of the traditional look, but I do love a good mix of the two.


Take the two light fixtures above, for example. They are both visually appealing and yet completely different from each other. The chandelier is bright red and really draws the eye. It is whimsical and traditional, and yet modern in its own way. The lantern below it almost has an Asian flair, and is much less eye-catching. But it still draws enough attention and does its job in a visually appealing way. I love the challenge of finding a way to incorporate both into the same space.

So the next time you’re out-and-about and you see something that you feel is just fantastic, don’t hesitate to document it. The other great thing about digital photography, is your ability to delete it.

ImageAbove: the Mont Bleu Hotel & Casino in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada

ImageAbove: An outdoor seating area on campus at Sacramento State