Social Media Isn't All That

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Social media isn’t all that. It used to be an innocent way to connect with people, but with society ever-changing, it’s gone awry.

 

People constantly compare themselves to others on social media, causing low self-esteem and FOMO, or the “Fear Of Missing Out”. You may think, “I’m not affected by social media,” but in a recent experiment, women looked at edited photos of other women online and their brain showed patterns of trauma. Social media affects us more than we know, often subconsciously. If we are constantly seeing a highlight reel, we may feel like our own lives are not enough.

 

It doesn’t help that FaceTune is socially accepted. Celebrities may be honest about their use but that doesn’t change the way that edited photos affect our perception. We are constantly fed unrealistic expectations on social media and FaceTune may make a young, vulnerable viewer feel like they need to conform—either to use FaceTune or to look like a certain celebrity (even though it’s unachievable). People will start to have more body image issues because of constantly comparing themselves to others online.

 

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Other issues may arise as well. For example, seeing pictures of people on vacation, in private jets, in G-wagons, in whatever luxury clothing item—can make one feel inadequate. People may feel like there’s always someone prettier, thinner, or richer than them. Seeing only the best parts of people’s lives messes with our perception because it’s not honest. Someone could post a picture of them skydiving in Greece and STILL be unhappy—it’s just not evident because Instagram is a curated version of their life.

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Social media users may even begin to buy things they can’t afford just to feel one step closer to the people who they compare themselves to online. This promotes a culture of consumption, always hungry for the next thing. Buying swimsuits that are horrible for swimming, just for the sake of taking a picture. Always looking for the next trendy designer bag, in hopes that by posting it you’ll look like the Instagram model you follow and that people will envy you. Humans may not admit it, but we love the attention that comes with envy. But what is all of this toxic energy doing to us? When are we enough?

 

We ARE enough. We need to remember that. That’s why I think it’s good to take time away from social media. Personally, on January 1st I deleted or logged out of everything—Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. I thought I was going to be missing out on something, but I’m not. I don’t even miss it. During the first week, I would pull out my phone and click on the Instagram app only to see the login screen. I realized that I wasn’t pulling up Instagram because I enjoyed it and wanted to use the app, I was doing it out of habit.

 

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I began thinking—what else should I do with all this time I have? I was wasting copious amounts of time on social media last year. Now I feel like I can breathe again like the shackles are off. I have time for more personal pursuits now. I had the time before, but now I have no excuse—I need to make the time because I am not filling it with endless scrolling.

 

The one thing that irritates me is that I can’t fully escape social media. I need to use Facebook and Instagram as part of my job for a club, and sometimes I end up scrolling on those accounts. But after not having the apps on my phone, I am more conscientious of my time and quickly close out of scrolling. I get especially annoyed when friends will scroll on social media when I am with them. Like I am not entertaining enough for you? It’s so weird. I feel like I am wasting my breath talking to them because they will look up and say, “Sorry, what?” because they weren’t listening. I can’t escape it because people love it—either that or have made a habit out of it. I just want to spend time with people I care about, uninterrupted.  

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I think social media distracts us from the important things in life, same with phones in general. I think smartphones were a cool concept, but they rule our lives. People have anxiety without them and feel the need to share everything they are doing. A moment can’t exist if there’s not a photo. I feel like human connections aren’t as genuine anymore because people are constantly busy, awaiting a text or checking a notification. Phones and social media are constantly taking us away from moments in life where we should be present.

 

I want to be present. I want to enjoy life right here, right now. I have things I want to achieve, and social media gets in the way. Maybe I will go back to it sometime this year, but right now I am taking a much-needed break. I inspire all of you to do the same. You may feel like you are missing out on something but trust me, you’re not. Social media isn’t all that.