It was my final week working at the summer high school camp up the road from me. I was drained from the sun and the demands of the job. I took a mental break and sat down on a bench inside the school. Alexis, one of the camp students, took a seat beside me and started a conversation.
“So Angela, what do you do in your spare time?”
In a semi-automated way, I answered, “I like to play music in my free time”
But when I thought about it, since this summer job had begun, I really had not spent much time playing music. The job had long hours and occasional 7-day workweeks. Not to mention, working outdoors with that unique sass of teenagers took a lot out of me. It ended up temporarily changing my lifestyle.
“You seem like the type of person to watch Netflix all night, episode after episode” Alexis remarked.
“Not really. I usually like to cook but I haven’t been cooking much this summer” I replied.
“So what do you do?” Alexis asked.
I could not think of an honest answer to Alexis’ question. Since I was not playing music or cooking like a usually do, what was I doing with all of my time when I was not working?
I took a step back and thought about my after work routine. Usually, I would lie down on my bed and check Facebook, since there was no access to Facebook in the school. Twenty minutes of Facebook led to something more productive; checking my e-mails. Then, I would check Snapchat, and then Instagram. Hmm… somehow, it was already 7:30 and I was still lying down on my bed.
I realized that for the past 5 weeks, I have been fooling myself into thinking that I was doing “something” if I was busy checking my social media accounts. Sure, I had dinner dates or a night of drinks sprinkled in there somewhere, but the majority of my time after work was spent in my room on my phone or computer.
In retrospect, this made me feel as though I did not make the most of my time off. Being on social media for personal uses (rather than professional) is often seen in a negative light. It deems you antisocial, attached, and at times, self-absorbed. When I could have been exercising, trying new recipes, going to events in the city and experiencing my summer, I checked social media instead.
But on the other hand, what if keeping up to date with social media is now a hobby? Is that too far fetched? What if that is just a new component to our daily lives and there is nothing so sad about it? The content that I would digest on my Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat managed to keep me up to date with the news, my friends and family, I read shared articles on various topics, and of course watched videos as entertainment. Although I was only on one device, in one place for the evening, I was able to reach multiple layers of my life in that time after work.
What do you think:
Does social media provide enough quality content to be considered a hobby?
When can social media be considered a hobby and when can it not be considered a hobby?
How does social media play a role in your free time off work?