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Pics or It Didn’t Happen

Published on October 10, 2016, at 3:36 p.m.
By Megan Perkins

What’s the point of going to a Zac Brown Band concert if I don’t Snapchat a video of me poorly singing along to “Chicken Fried”? Why should I go hiking if I don’t even make it to the top of the mountain to get that “views” pic? How will anyone know that I got third-degree burns on my shoulders at the beach last weekend if I don’t tweet about it? These are the questions that keep me up at night thanks to social media.

Pics or it didn't happen

This obsession with constantly staying tuned in is quickly becoming the norm. A study conducted by dscout Enterprise showed we touch our phones about 2,617 times a day. At this rate, there’s no doubt public relations practitioners should be targeting their audience online and through social media platforms. However, the recent concept of unplugging challenges this theory.

A digital detox can be defined as the suspended use of the Internet, resisting from communication through phone calls, text messages or emails, or simply cutting off all ties from your smartphone, laptop or tablet. The purpose is to remove yourself from the virtual world and enter reality for a few hours, days or months.

Photo by Alatele fr via
Photo by Alatele fr via

Organizations are increasingly taking steps to encourage unplugging. The travel company Intrepid Travel has launched a new digital detox travel plan where participants agree to disconnect from their phones and cameras for eight to 10 days on an adventurous vacation. Hotels, such as Renaissance Pittsburgh have created digital detox packages for guests where people can exchange their devices for board games and cards. Richard Branson’s Virgin Management just started a new initiative to separate employees from their email for two hours every Wednesday morning to participate in one-to-one meetings, brainstorm sessions or running clubs. These digital detoxes intend to fight the backlash of Internet dependency.

I don’t know what terrifies me more: the thought of not refreshing my Instagram newsfeed and ignoring an email for a few days, or the realization that those things terrify me. It’s alarming how dependent I have become on the Internet and social media, but as a student studying public relations, do I really have the luxury to un-tap from the digital world?

According to a blog from the PR agency Berkeley, the answer is no. Digital platforms have started a revolution in how we receive information. It’s necessary for PR practitioners to remain tuned-in to stay updated on the latest news and to release their clients’ stories in a timely manner.

Although it sounds nice to sit back and enjoy listening to “Homegrown” at the ZBB concert without being interrupted by an Instagram notification that so-and-so liked my picture, I’d be risking not receiving crucial information if my phone was tucked away.


  1. Post comment

    This article speaks volumes about the prevalence of smartphone and technological dependency. Earlier today when I was supposed to be studying for a test, I had to consciously stop myself from checking and updating my social media multiple times. This addiction to technology has taken over our society. As much as I would love to unplug, technology is our future and is only continuing to develop. As opposed to fight it, I chose to strive for balance. I would hate to miss out on the beauty of life all because I was glued to a computer screen.


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