I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I often contemplate deleting my facebook, but I never do. The only reason I haven’t is my fear of missing out on random “Hey! How are you? etc.” messages and my ability to send them as well. In the past my random messages have led to pretty interesting adventures. I have to thank facebook for those opportunities. But then I think, “If someone really wanted to know how I was doing, they could just text me”.
I appreciate and value all the perks of social media; it’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. I can’t imagine staying in touch with friends if I grew up in my grandparents’ era. I would die of anticipation if I had to write a letter and wait for a response (it’s bad enough with poor txt-ers). So yes kudos to social media in that aspect, but I believe that’s a small portion of its actual use. It also eliminates reaching out and asking “how’s life going?” There’s no need to actually contact the person just check their profile.
Social media is just that, its media. Media is a narrow and controlled projection of reality. Social media is, well in my opinion, mostly about creating an image of you for the world. I go online and can’t help but think captions are really saying “Look at me! My life is awesome!” with fancy dinners, concerts, parties, vacations, accessories, etc. I’m guilty of it, especially when I’m reunited with my friends. My caption is really saying “Yeaaaaa…we’re still friends…what up!” And if you don’t have that intent, then I’m happy for you, I wish I had that mentality.
Sometimes I think, “Dang, everyone is having fun and I’m just chilling today…lame”. It makes a girl, as Aubrey would say, “Never satisfied with a nice calm evening”. I feel there’s this pressure to project a particular life style. I think it discourages people to reveal anything else but success or happiness. Not that I’m advocating for overly emotional or personal posts, but I’m sure people scroll down their timeline accompanied by loneness, envy, and thoughts like “everyone is really doing better than me”. I can’t help but think people would be generally happier without social media. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, comparison and competition are nothing new, and the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” says it all. But I’m sure it’s not the best thing to compare your life at any given second and literally at your fingertips. Someone could easily self-loathe and feed their depression.
Back in April, I reflected upon my use and relationship with social media. I was inspired to share my thoughts after watching Donald Glover’s interview on the Breakfast Club. He addressed the recent concerns of depression and suicide due to his instagram posts of notes:
Why is everybody pretending like everything’s ok? Everything is not ok. We are more connected than we’ve ever been, but I feel more alone than I’ve ever been. Everyone stunts on Instagram…nobody wants to be vulnerable. People thought I was crazy because I was honest, that was it.
Silly as it may be, I found it comforting that I wasn’t the only one concerned with the dynamics and effects of social media.
Sometimes I just want to disappear from it all. There was once a time when I took a picture and just stored it on my computer. It might get printed, played on a slide show, or re-visited while strolling down memory lane but that was it. My first thought after taking a picture wasn’t is it facebook-ok or instagram-ok. I’m ashamed that I even have those thoughts. These pictures should be for my own personal enjoyment, a souvenir of memories not evidence that I’m living the “good life”. What really scares me is the younger generation. They grew up with social media, they’re ingrained to share, or in many cases over-share.
I ponder why is it all about the “good life” perception? Maybe it’s driven by our egos and insecurities, that we just want outside approval, hence the like button. Why do we thrive for this external approval? Is it because we lack internal approval and self-worth? If we were truly content we would have no need to share these experiences. We would just experience them and be in the moment. Well that’s my personal perception. Maybe the majority of people share just to share and gain nothing from it. If so, I admire them (and their pictures).
Written by Celesté Irené