Traditionally I would start out this post with some weird, quirky, statement that has nothing to do with the actual post. So…in my personal opinion it’s almost a complete waste of time to listen to the audio book version of “A Clockwork Orange” because the slang is so heavy that unless you understand what Anthony Burgess means by calling someone a “eunuch jelly” or referring to a character’s junk as “yarbles” and their teeth as “zoobies” you’ll spend a good majority of your time completely confused as to what the fucking hell is happening in the story line.
Anyways. On to the actual post.
Urban Dictionary defines “Going Dark” as a slang term used for going silent—the act of not communicating to anyone for a given amount of time. It also defines it as a verb meaning “To disappear; to become suddenly unavailable or digitally out of reach for an undefined period of time.” And, as “To remove ones self from all social media outlets and otherwise make oneself unavailable for contacting. Typically done in order to be more productive.”
I find that my enthusiasm to be digitally connected to the rest of the human population comes in waves. Every now and then I deactivate my Facebook and Instagram accounts and just take some time away. Twice I have permanently deleted my Snapchat and once I have permanently deleted my Instagram.
On my phone right now I have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, and Bumble thus connecting me in almost every way possible besides Twitter and Tumblr. For me, that’s just bordering on too much.
About two months ago I was very into being connected. Maybe because I was single again and had no one to call up really to talk to. After two months I can fully say that I am over being constantly connected in every way imaginable to the rest of the human population.
Maybe it’s because of the election results. Maybe it’s because a guy I matched with on Tinder recently said I lack social tactfulness and that I am exceedingly crass (what I didn’t tell him was that he comes off as exceedingly braggadocious and as a pathological liar). Or, maybe it’s because I’m developing the habit of waking up and immediately scrolling through every single social app on my phone before I get out of bed.
Whatever the reason I’ve decided that maybe instead of being alone and trying to force connecting with people, I need to be alone making connections with myself.
The last time I deactivated my Facebook one of my aunts failed to update me on my Grandma’s health condition with her cancer and my mom panicked because she couldn’t get a hold of me through messenger. It made me realize that we rely on being able to instantaneously connect with someone through a social media app instead of actually calling someone. We’ve adopted the mentality that if we can’t send them a message on Facebook then well, we don’t talk at all.
So what does going dark mean for me?
It means no Facebook. No Instagram. No Snapchat. No Tinder. No Bumble. No dates set up through an online platform of any kind. Basically, I’m cutting myself off from the internet and from forced connections for the time being. Anyone who is important to me at this particular moment in time should have my phone number or at least my email address. In this day and age that should still be adequate.
I see pins on Pinterest describing steps for a “Social Media Detox” or a “Technology Detox”. My one question with that is how have we allowed technology and social media to become such a HUGE (like Donald Trump HYYUUUGE) part of our lives to the point that it’s necessary? For so many people our cell phones are basically an extra limb. I can tell that I am exhausting myself socially.
I’m not going dark because I’m depressed or because of politics. I’m going dark because I can feel that I need to step away for the time being and just be with myself. I might still post on here but I won’t be sharing it on Facebook or Instagram. I do have a few posts that I want to publish before I step away from social media. If I meet someone in person and they ask to go on a date or ask for my number I’ll decide to give it to them but I won’t be wasting my time swiping left just so I can find two people to swipe right on and hope I match. I won’t be waking up and scrolling through Instagram before I get out of bed.
Instead I’ll be taking myself out for drinks. I’ll be focusing on developing my goals, connecting with who I am now at 24 (well, I’ll be 24 in a month so I can’t quite say I’m 23), and maybe even a new hobby (weirdly enough I’ve really wanted to try learning how to cross stitch so I can gift people embroidered dinosaurs and swear words for Christmas). I will still stay connected to the politics and social events that are happening in America but for now, I feel that I can sit back and rest before shit really hits the fan in January.
For once in my life I am stepping away and shutting my mouth. Which is big for me.
Over the last few months I’ve developed the bad habit of caring too much about what is happening in the world and trying to battle everyone. I’ve started to base my self-worth off of the number of Tinder dates I had that week. And three times this week I made it out to my car before I realized I left my phone in my apartment and went to go get it because “What if someone messages me and I need to reply?”
It’s getting out of hand.
So this is my dare to you and to myself.
I dare you to leave your phone at home for a day. I dare you to completely shut it off on a Sunday, or if you’re brave, on a Saturday for the entire 24 hours. If you’re really ready, I dare you to deactivate your Facebook and your Instagram and your Tumblr or Twitter and step away even for just a week.
I promise that the world will still be here and when you log back in it will be like you never left anyways.
Only you will notice the change.
I dare you to step back from the internet and from your phone and have a conversation with yourself over drinks or over brunch. I dare you to turn off your notifications and when you feel the itch in your fingers to tap open Facebook or Insta, ignore it. I dare you to say hello to a stranger while you’re getting a coffee or while you’re in a bookstore or at a bar. Basically, I’m daring you—and myself—to try and make in-person connections and to just be silent for a few minutes.
If someone needs to get a hold of you, they can call. It’s not hard and it wasn’t that long ago when we had to call each other because texting didn’t exist and Facebook Messenger didn’t have a separate app.
And the irony of this post is that I’ll be sharing it on Facebook and on Instagram before I go dark. So there’s a little humor in that.