It is a goal of mine each new year to become less attached to my phone and more aware of my surroundings; to live life in the moment. Yet each time as I ring in the new year, I am on my phone documenting all the festivities completely oblivious to last year’s resolutions.
I think we can all agree that social media is dictating our lives, for better or for worse, and our generation is growing up head down, glued to the latest Instagram story or Facebook video. For many of us, myself included, our jobs depend on us being on the phone and updating constantly. If I’m posting on social media, it proves I am working and clients like to book and re-book models who appear to be a hot commodity (whether they know it’s a #tbt is up to them to figure out). I’m a huge proponent of social media and think it has made our world a lot easier to communicate. Brands can interact with customers and understand their wants and needs, friends can meet up on a whim incredibly easily, and you can connect with friends and friends of friends anywhere in the world you happen to be. It’s incredible and we are so lucky to have this as part of our lives. What I have a hard time grappling with are the negative aspects that have been brought with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The thing that I’ve found difficult to come to terms with is the difference (and there is a clear difference) on the necessity of posting for work and for personal life. Documenting your life from the early days of Myspace in 2003 to live Instagram videos and Snapchat stories now, evolved at such a rapid rate that I often forget what it was like to live a life where others didn’t know what I was up to at any given moment.
From a model in the fashion industry’s perspective, I’m 100% fine with the amount I post on Instagram. I chose to post both work and personal things because Instagram has given me a platform to show what Britt Bergmeister is like as a package. I want clients to know I’m a professional model with a down-to-earth personality who values being punctual, is a die-hard sports fan who enjoys classic rock, fantastic food, and killer workouts. What I post enables me to differentiate myself from the next brunette 5’11’’ model in NYC. This to me, along with however much any other person posts on social media is quite alright (Instagram videos and live Snapchat stories not included).
What I’ve noticed within the past few years is the amount I scroll aimlessly through people’s stories and lives, often cross-comparing with the end result of not feeling so good about myself. Naturally, we post our absolute best selves on social media. While I try and dilute this lens and show the full story with funny posts about awful workouts I’ve had, huge pimples on my forehead or the not-so glamourous lifestyle that sometimes comes hand in hand with my job, most people, myself included, want our lives to look rosy on the outside, often a lot happier than they are at that very moment. I’ve become so removed sometimes from my own life that I’ve missed important conversations, crucial plays in basketball, or an important twist in a movie because I wasn’t even truly participating in my own life.
The moment I told myself I would never take part in Snapchat was at a bar with my boyfriend for the Raptors/Heat game in the 2015 semi-finals. There were three guys at the bar in front of us, watching one of their friend’s Snapchat stories for over half an hour. They were out at a bar to watch a huge game, and were missing the entire thing as they watched their friend post drunk Snapchat videos. I thought it was the lamest thing I had ever seen. I never wanted to be so enthralled by someone else’s life while I was out with my own friends creating our own memories.
Fast forward a year and I’m making my own Instagram video’s now documenting myself watching said basketball games and my reactions, posting what I’m eating for breakfast and what I think of the new blockbuster hit I’m watching. While I I try and never post while I’m out, take my phone out while I’m with friends or my boyfriend, and stay connected to the real world when it matters, I’ve succumbed to something I thought I never would and can only imagine what I’ll be doing a few months from now in the social media world.
Even as I write this article, I’ve been fighting the desire to check Instagram. I haven’t posted anything in over 24 hours, there’s nothing I really should be checking or posting yet the urge to see who’s been looking at my feed or who is doing what on at this very moment is so intense it’s like an itch I’m dying to scratch.
I thought if I made a public list of things I hope to accomplish for myself, it would make it more real this time and I could not only (hopefully) try to help others with similar social media obsessions, but also hold my own actions accountable and think about the promise I am going to make to my readers each time I want to take my phone out while out with friends, living life in the now.
Personal goals to live more in the NOW
Stop posting pointless videos on Instagram story
If posted, don’t scroll through aimlessly looking at who watched said Instagram video
Never take phone out when with friends or at any dinners
Limit phone use when hanging with boyfriend
If the desire is there to aimlessly scroll, read an important news article instead
Start the morning off with two Economist articles rather than the Instagram scroll
Post it, and then forget about it (if you need to check likes, check once at end of day)
Limit social media use in general when out and about
Stop comparing yourself to others
With these goals in mind I know I can continue to post and enjoy my friend’s lives but limit the negative effects it has on myself. Social media is never going to end, but I can control the influence it has on my life and try and live with my head up enjoying the constant surprises life throws at us, and yes, if I’m unable to document the cute dog that just walked by me or my beautiful latte art I’m about to enjoy, it still happened and can still be a vivid memory in my mind, photo proof or not.