One of the most compelling occurrences that the digital age has brought us, has been instantaneous connectivity. With this, interactive experiences are readily available at our fingertips; the world shrinks and we are graced with an abundance of people to navigate this phenomenon with us as hobbest, career moguls, advice seekers and much more. As a result, “logged on” participants are automatically subscribed to an open forum of expression and feedback. This then creates opportunities for collaboration and validation.
Those that have been able to use social media to their advantage can attest to the privilege of establishing great connections with others that are logged on. Even so much to the effect of building an online tribe where you may exchange casual conversation, important life updates, opinions, or a few “yassss sis” as encouragement. But what happens when a participant is forced to “log out” ? Are their artistic expressions, business expertise and motivational words still viewed as important? Or is the validation from the online community the primary factor of them staying motivated to display their offerings ?
A recent social media outage that affected the Facebook family of apps caused Instagram to become unaccessible to its users for most of the day. As a result, many of its users questioned if this was the end to their reign on the social media platform. Facebook issued this tweet to the masses on March 13th stating its outage to users:
"We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible."
Luckily, I was caught up with running errands for most of the day so I didn’t experience the results of a forced log out. In fact , I didn’t realize there had been this glitch until I checked back in, the next day. I was welcomed with memes of people “getting back to real life activities” such as, having an in person conversation, reading a book or going outside for a walk. While this was funny, I have to admit, hearing others talk about the possibility for their Instagram based business (or personality) to be negatively affected made me wonder if I had become a “comfortable” Instagram user.
I grew with the routine of putting my work and thoughts on the platform and garnishing the support and feedback of strangers (who eventually became important to me). The acknowledgement of what I’m doing to be impactful in some sort , is almost expected. It is a great confidence boost and has prompted me to continuously work at my endeavors. Like many, I have moved from seeking in person advice, to scoping out what my online community might think. But as those who are vested in this world knows, sometimes that expected love doesn’t flow consistently. An ever changing algorithm can cause posts to not be seen by the audience while other factors can dwindle engagement rates. And whether we accept it or not, we feel different when we don’t receive as much “likes” and comments on a post as usual. So I can only imagine how someone who established a substantial following on this platform could’ve felt realizing this isn’t forever.
As much as we can thrive with these vessels, we must put equal efforts, into thriving without them. There has been countless studies done on the adverse effects of social media; how it plays into our psyche and causes anxiety, depression, social awkwardness and so forth. In a fight to nullify the negative stigma, Instagram has been proactive for online/offline balance by implementing a time management component on their app. Here, users can see the average use per day on the app and make the effort, to use it in a healthy manner. This is an effort to getting back to “reality”.
There are many ways to get back to solitude as you manage the time spent logged in. You can get involved with other hobbies that will be productive such as a cycle class, joining a book club or volunteering in your community. I recently got involved with my church’s community food bank and it was a pleasant experience. Since it required me to wake up extremely early, I did not have time to spend in bed scrolling. And since it was demanding while I was there, I did not have time to post about my good deed of the day . Activities that require your undivided attention while doing them are the ones that will make your offline experience worthwhile.
Being sound in your solitude is crucial. As you reflect on your own thoughts and not the ones only projected by your audience, you will gain insight about the treasures of you. You will get back to your “why” and unfold the essence of your offerings to these social platforms. You will also begin to cultivate ways to move the interaction offline and foster “IRL” experiences. You will remember what it is like to not be confined to time constraints on a post. You will remember that social media for most is snapshots from a highlight reel and discover that you don’t have to rush your journey. And most importantly, you will learn that the only limitations in real life experiences are YOU.
Nicole Stewart is a singer, writer and content producer from New Jersey. Her
experience as a radio show producer , has graced her with a dynamic background
that she is using to navigate a creative career journey.
She is also the founder of The Mogul Mine, a creative group that works with brands
and small business in areas of creative branding, marketing and content creation.
Website: Coming soon