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It’s 7 am. I can hear birds chirping outside my window, which I forgot to close the night before. My white sheets are clean and starchy, pulled tightly across the mattress beneath me. When I open my eyes, I fight to hold onto the last few glimpses of a peaceful dream that never got to conclude. All is manageable. My world is comforting, and I am content to wake up like that for as long as I’m allowed. This is, of course, a pipedream. Instead, as a future public relations professional, I’m bound to mornings brutally stolen by devastating news and constant crises right at the tip of my fingertips. The best part is, handling them and wasting my time on every social media outlet known to man will be my livelihood, or so my professors tell me.
Although I spend an egregious amount of time on social media, I really don’t want to. I am part of a generation that grew up with constant inundation of worldwide tragedies and authoritative strangers insisting that we are not good enough to deserve an ounce of joy. Shockingly, after 21 years, I’m thoroughly exhausted. Obviously, life would not be perfect in the absence of social media, but I must think it would be less draining. Nothing makes me happier than getting to the end of the day, looking down at my phone and seeing it nearly at full charge when I know the last time it was charged was about 24 hours prior. Suddenly, I can begin to grasp what makes my life important and what makes me want to do it all again tomorrow. Spending time with friends, staring at the ceiling while listening to old vinyls, sitting on the grass and watching beetles crawl through the blades. Life doesn’t have to be so heavy all the time. Unfortunately, it seems like my chosen degree (it’s too late to back out of it now) is a guarantee that social media continues to be at the epicenter of my existence.
Every PR professor I have ever had seems so excited that the world is becoming more and more online. They create lectures, units, and full-on courses about how to succeed on social media. More importantly, they cannot help but stress just how imperative those platforms will be to my career and my life. Essentially, giving me a death sentence, I fear.
If I were able to fully quit social media I think I would initially struggle with the sort of connection I’ve grown accustomed to. Seeing my friends and family’s important updates or, really, just pieces of their lives is a blessing. I might miss the validation that comes with posting especially admirable pictures and thoughts. On the other hand, I know for a fact that I would be able to react to sudden stressors better. I would be able to pour more time into myself. For God’s sake, maybe I’d learn how to play the piano or paint with gouache or run a half marathon. I know that life would feel so much more possible if I were to zoom in. If I could focus on just me, I might actually want to cherish every moment that I spend here.
Prompt: Have you ever considered quitting social media? What do you think would happen if you did?
Mackenzie Dawson is a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class at Pepperdine University. Social media and copyright issues are covered in the class. Mackenzie is a Public Relations/Sustainability major.
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