Or without a smartphone really.
This morning I woke up at 4.30 thinking about my life before I had a smartphone, before I had any social media account – which I find myself thinking about a lot lately.
Now this is not gonna be a post about how toxic social media is, how social media ruined my life and so on. However, I definitely do think that social media can have a big impact on your mental health and that we need to be aware of why and how we use social media.
With this post I want to remember the old days without liking and sharing and being online 24/7. Or maybe remind the younger ones of you what it looked like. But first…
The good things about social media:
Before I start talking about the good old days, I don’t want to dismiss all the positive sides of social media.
Without social media I would’ve probably never have dreamt so big, left my comfort zone so often and done some of the best things in my life. I would’ve probably never quit my job, left Germany and travelled to Bali and Australia for over 2 years for example. Just because before social media I never really thought you could actually do something like this. By following people on Instagram I saw how other people live completely different lifes and did all of these amazing things like travelling the world which inspired me to do the same.
Without social media I also wouldn’t know most of the people I have in my life today, I think that by now I got to know most of the friends I have today through social media.
Social Media (or well, the internet in general really) also allows you to work from anywhere and to start your own business online which I think is pretty amazing and an opportunity to appreciate.
My life before Instagram & co:
I actually had my first smartphone very late, I think I was between 22-24. I honestly can’t remember exactly but it must’ve been around that age. Must be crazy to imagine for some 18-year olds? I still had an old phone when everyone around me already had a smartphone. I refused to get a smartphone because I thought then I would be on my phone all the time.
I did own a laptop, of course. I think I got my dad’s old laptop when I was around 18.
Just as I refused to get a smartphone I didn’t want to go on Facebook for a very long time because I thought it would be „too much“. Facebook then was my first real social media account as it was for many people back then, I guess. I think I was around 19, 20 when I finally joined Facebook. And I only joined Intagram – which is is now my main social media platform – in 2015. I remember studying in Sweden in 2014 and getting asked about my Instagram by people but back then it wasn’t really that popular yet in Germany and I also thought I already have Facebook, that’s enough. Little did I know where all of this would lead, haha.
But there was life on the internet before social media, you know.
I did actually spent long hours on my laptop. I had been a bit of a forum nerd at that time and was a member in probably 5-6 different forums writing thousands of posts on them. Not joking… I always had super high ranks in all of the forums. If you know how forums work, you get what I mean. Not sure how many people still are forum members nowadays.
Other platforms that I used to browse through a lot were last.fm and DeviantArt. I do actually still have accounts there and log in there sometimes, even upload photos on DeviantArt. I guess it’s more for nostalgic reasons.
I also used KWICK! which basically was our a „local facebook“ and kind of like the social media platforms we know today. It was also the reason I didn’t join Facebook earlier, I thought that platform was enough, why join another one?
What I really loved about how I used the internet back then was that it wasn’t really about numbers, about marketing, comparing, making money, consistently uploading, being strategic and so on. Now as I said, I appreciate the opportunities that come with social media but still… those were nice days.
I also remember how different days looked when I didn’t own a smartphone:
In the morning when I woke up to go to school or work, there was no phone to check at all. I made myself a breakfast and often would read a bit while having it or listen to the radio. Maybe sit in bed or on the coach and watch the sunrise thinking about the day ahead or having a morning chat and cozy time with my boyfriend I had at that time… with no one having a phone in our hands.
When I was at work or in school I wouldn’t be on my phone during the breaks, I’d just sit at a table eating with others and then maybe play a game of table soccer or have a nap. After work I’d get home, work out, read, make dinner, watching a movie or yes – sit on my laptop. But there would be no phone, no thinking about what’s going on in the social media world. The weekends were spent meeting friends, going on trips, hiking, taking photos (not for social media!), with different creative hobbies,…
Yes, I still do all of that but there’s always a phone included somewhere.
Thinking back to those days it feels like they were spent so much more in the present moment than today. Of course today you can have routines and I try to implement things such as no phone before bed, no phone the first hour after I wake up or social media breaks. I actually have to make these things a routine and the phone and social media are there and I will get back to them, it’s just not the same as not even having these things in your life.
Why am I using social media then?
First of all: It wasn’t really that I thought much about getting a smartphone or creating different social media accounts, it’s just what direction my life went… I guess you know that from your own lifes, it’s just „what you do“.
Now let’s face it: Smartphones and social media will never go away, I actually believe it will all just become bigger and bigger and soon enough we’ll live in a completely digitalized world which definitely is not something I like thinking about. I wish we could go back to the old days. That’s just one why I want to live in the middle of nowhere one day (as I basically did the past 2 years) where it feels like everything is 50 years behind, haha.
Ironically enough I’m currently enrolled in an online marketing /social media management course. Why, you might ask? Well, as I said, this is just what the world has come to, it’s not gonna disappear so I can choose to use it as an advantage or I can refuse to use it and miss out on the opportunities it offers.