Rick Jones July Writing Challenge WinnerCongratulations to Rick Jones for Winning the July 2016 Barefoot Writing Challenge!

(Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The Challenge was to write an essay that answered this question:

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could send out one message in a bottle, what would you write in that message and why? 

Rick had us laughing while pulling at our heartstrings over the trials of island life. Enjoy his winning submission.

A Social Media Addict’s Worst Nightmare

Oh, this one is too easy.

It’s a no brainer.

I’m sure everyone will give the same answer. It’s so totally obvious.

And it’s our new social media lifestyle that has made it so.

Yes, social media has forever changed us. It has overtaken millions of people, like an all-consuming drug. We now spend every spare moment scrolling through various sites, devouring the up-to-the-minute activities of our many friends.

A few years ago, we were content with a few close friends. Now we have hundreds — even thousands — of Facebook friends. Plus even more on sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and others.

Since we “know” these people, we have gotten used to monitoring their every movement throughout the day. Who are they talking to? What movie did they watch? What did they eat for lunch? And of course, how many new friends have they added?

But simply keeping up with all of our friends is not enough. A few years ago, we were satisfied to update each other the next day at work or school. But now we feel like we must learn every tiny piece of trivia about our friends — instantly.

As a result, this new social media lifestyle requires us to visit our social media sites several times each day, digesting and responding to all this news. We must quickly flick and scroll our way through each site, keeping ourselves up-to-the-minute.

Imagine the horror of not seeing a friend’s new post — or YouTube video until… gasp… an hour after it was posted.

And don’t forget, we must take the time to update our friends on all our activities as well.

Having gotten used to this new cyber lifestyle, sitting alone on a deserted island would be unbearable. How could I exist without minute-by-minute updates on my friend’s activities?

And what would be the point of enduring my terrifying island ordeal if I had no way to share it with my friends?

I couldn’t post updates about the shipwreck or how I narrowly escaped death. Or how I swam through shark-infested waters to shore. Or how I bravely clawed my way through the jungle, fending off wild animals while searching for food and fresh water.

I couldn’t post pictures of those hungry sharks nipping at my heels. Or the cool hut I built out of palm fronds and my mangled life raft. Or the selfies of me trying to spear a fish with a sharp stick.

How heartbroken I would be, sitting alone on the beach gobbling down wild berries, unable to add any of it to my newsfeed.

I can’t imagine anything worse than being unable to update my friends. No posts. No pictures. No way to tell (or show) them what I’m going through. To a social media addict, that might define cruel and unusual punishment.

So for obvious reasons, the message I would slip into the bottle would say…

“Would somebody PLEASE update my Facebook status?”