Social media has pretty much become synonymous with the 2000’s era. There was the era of the flappers, the era of the sock hops and poodle skirts, and now we’re on the era of social media influencers. But even when FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter took off, you wouldn’t find much of my personal life anywhere. Social media has made the world seem so much closer together yet so incredibly far apart.
I have an account with almost every social media platform, big and small, and I’m active on them in my own way. I use it professionally or to look at the news, but I very rarely post anything pertaining to my personal life. The only social media I keep on my phone is Snapchat only because it’s a way for me to communicate with some of my friends and I will only post a story if something truly special is happening.
I made a conscious decision to not get swept up in social media and it has served me well.
I love photography and it’s a big part of my life but I do it for me. I’m not trying to start a business or get hired so I choose not to advertise it. I don’t want my pride or self-worth linked to the number of double taps I get on Instagram.
I don’t deny that social media has made our lives a lot easier. We can stay in touch with people we might have otherwise lost contact with, get inspiration for ideas, research is a cakewalk compared to before, and staying up to date on current events is easier than ever. But it has quickly become a vacuum for incorrect facts, bullying, and a tool to spread hate.
When anyone can say anything they want to a mass group of people, social media can become a dangerous place. And some people hold such reverence for these social media influencers or other people they follow, they take their word as gospel. Fact checking and transparency have been thrown out the window.
Social media is just a cheap imitation of a person’s life.
The life they project is never the life they truly lead. Although it is becoming more transparent, scrolling through Instagram and looking at people going on amazing adventures as a 20-year-old could make anyone feel bad about their own life.
I was explaining to a friend my goals for college and how I plan to double major and what I might want to do after I graduate, and she comments that I really have my life together. I was taken aback at this statement because I truly didn’t feel like I did. I was making up my college life as went along. Although I like to have things planned out, I definitely didn’t feel like I had my life together at this point – I was constantly stressed out and on the verge of a mental breakdown at the thought of Calculus II and Geometric Analysis Final. If she could have gotten such an incorrect image of my life when she knew me in person, how easy would it have been to paint a lovely picture on social media?
Don’t get me wrong, I love having photo shoots and taking pictures. But I do it for me – not to brag about it on social media. I don’t have a need for anyone to know where I am or what I’m doing at all times. I don’t want the world to know exactly how I’m feeling at every given moment.
Social media sets such unrealistic expectations that are impossible for anyone to meet.
You have to be rich, thin, gorgeous, smart, well-traveled, and the life of every party. At the same time. While eating all the junk food in the world. This has caused anxiety and depression rates to skyrocket.
In the wise words of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, “Food is for eating. Places are for being. End of story.”
We are stuck in an endless cycle of scrolling and double tapping, and I choose to live my life ignoring all of that. You will never catch me whipping out my phone to take a picture of my food before I dive in or spend a half hour trying to take the perfect picture at a park. I’ve found my life to be much more satisfying and happier when I’m not constantly comparing myself to others.
Also published on Medium.