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Ah, phones. A beautiful way to stay in touch with virtually anyone on the planet. Some of us are too connected, while others like to use their devices for necessities only. Still, there are some who live in the middle, struggling in a sea of ideas, ads, and people they haven’t spoken to since 6th grade asking them to buy wraps.
A few years ago, people had to have their phone number to be able to call you. Now, with things like Facebook Messenger calls, more people have access to you at all hours of the day.
The random cousin from Pakistan that you added as a friend calls you at 3 AM. The creepy guy you don’t even know calls you at 7 AM. The creepy girl you accidentally friended calls you 3 times then tries to video chat. It can be distracting to everyday life and it tends to be just that: a distraction.
Have you ever downloaded the Messenger app, only to be bombarded with “please turn on notifications” a thousand times before it finally gives up? Have you ever been part of a group chat in which you were expected to regularly communicate with others, regardless of the time?
It’s easy to throw your hands up and say “I’m just deleting Facebook!” Or “I’ll just delete Messenger and check messages on my desktop!” but then we realize that sometimes we may need to communicate quicker than that, or there could be an emergency. It’s simple: FOMO (fear of missing out). We have a sense of urgency and anxiety when it comes to Facebook Messenger, and social media in general. We may not even realize it, but how many times have you caught yourself “just scrolling” and wasting countless amounts of time on things that usually don’t matter.
We tell ourselves we are just going to “check Facebook” and promise we won’t scroll, but we do. We click the Messenger app when we get notifications, and often even when we don’t. Where is the balance? Where do we draw the line between too much socializing and not enough? Is there a proper line? Should we distance ourselves from social media except at set times during each day? Or is it possible for us to train ourselves to use social media freely, but more seldomnly?
I don’t have a solution, but I do know that everything needs moderation. It’s beautiful to connect with friends, family, co-workers and other like-minded individuals. I’ve met some of my best friends through Facebook and built meaningful relationships. That being said, too much of anything is a bad thing.
Turn off your phone sometimes, get on the floor and play with your kids with your phone completely off. Go on a date. Really talk to your spouse. Go to a park with your friends. Take an uninterrupted nap (for those of us with no kids, of course. I’m looking forward to napping in my 30’s). Do something with your life and then come back to Facebook and use it for the necessary, build relationships.
We live in a world where we are surrounded by business constantly, yet we often feel lonely. We have created this society that hurls information and people at us but we still feel lonely at times. Break out of your bubble and make in person plans with the people important to you. Learn to live outside of your bubble and off your phone. With time, we just may perfect the art of social media.