I’m a huge fan of social media. In the last few years it’s evolved into amazing platforms that have made so many positive contributions for the world. But I can’t help thinking that it’s more or less turned into a weapon in our hands that we are metaphorically– and perhaps unknowingly– pointing at each other.
Let me explain, a couple of months ago Essena O’Neill had an internet melt down, from what I understand was due to the fact that she felt she was a hoax on social media. Although I don’t completely agree with everything she’s doing or saying–that could quite possibly be an entirely different post because, well, I’m opinionated– she did remind me of something very important; Not everything on social media is real.
Can you imagine if people actually posted about every aspect of their lives?
I’m going to go ahead and say what very few people like to admit on social media–life can suck. Every single person on this Earth is going through something– whether their social media account shows it or not. Very few people live the lives they post about on social media. Can you imagine if people actually posted about every aspect of their lives? It wouldn’t be very interesting to look at, because let’s face it, we aren’t constantly doing something interesting.
As a struggling college student I can confirm that life isn’t always great. Most people I follow on social media are also college students and we all know how sad it is to be a college student in the U.S –aka expensive. If we were keeping it real on social media then those neatly centered, vibrantly filtered Instagram posts of food or elaborate shots of your latte last Tuesday would turn into pictures of cup of noodles for dinner or you crying next to a book which you have to write a 15-page essay on by 8 am the next day. It’s real life.
I realize that we all lead different lives and there is definitely a handful of people on social media that maybe do live the life they post about but even your favorite blogger or fashion icon has to take time out of their glamorous lifestyle to do something very typical and boring. Life is just not always interesting or cool or aesthetically pleasing.
If you feel miserable after scrolling through your feed you’re forgetting that you don’t have to be doing what everyone else is doing.
A couple months ago I found myself feeling a little down– when I say this I mean that life was not going well and I was sad– and I’d log into <insert any social media site here> and I’d log off feeling a little worse because I saw posts of people having a good time with friends or people on vacation or someone in their happy relationship. I don’t think I’m alone when I say sometimes you go through sad phases and going online makes it worse. When you’re already feeling down seeing these posts on Instagram, or any social media site, from real people make it seem like you, in your sweatpants, on a Friday night is socially unacceptable. It makes you feel like everyone is doing better in life than you. Negativity fills your thoughts even if it’s temporarily.
This is what I mean when I say social media is a weapon. It can destroy you. Social media should not be making you feel sad or anything negative as a matter of fact. If you feel miserable after scrolling through your feed you’re forgetting that you don’t have to be doing what everyone else is doing. Even if you do want to do what everyone else is doing but can’t for whatever reason, remember that everyone is at different stages in life, everyone is experiencing different things! You will get where you want to be in life at your own pace.
It’s so easy to use social media to compare ourselves to everyone else, I know that from firsthand experience. Social media can and should be used to create a wave of positivity into our lives. Grab inspiration from what others are posting and let it motivate you to improve you and your life. Don’t let something as stupid as social media make you miserable.
All the ups and downs of life can not be documented on an aesthetically pleasing feed.
There’s a phrase I once heard that I feel defines our generation, “If you don’t post it online, did it really happen?” We as a generation feel that in order to live life to the fullest we have to document every aspect of it but let’s be real, not every moment of life looks pretty on our feed and that’s okay. No, but seriously, there is so much more to life than pictures of nights out and coffee. All the ups and downs of life can not be documented on an aesthetically pleasing feed. I’m not hating on social media at all. I love it. I support all the posts featuring coffee, nights out, selfies and hauls. I just think that we need to use social media with caution in order for it to not affect us negatively.
Ultimately, don’t expect me to start captioning my pictures with all the sad things that are actually happening or posting a video of me crying because life sucks. I most definitely don’t expect that from anyone else either. I don’t think that social media should be more authentic. Life is way too dynamic for our posts to be completely genuine.
Just don’t get caught up in all the facades.