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How Social Media Has Warped Our Perception of Reality

Social media has become one of the most impactful parts of our generation. We are constantly on our phones, checking our Instagram, and keeping up with the online community that we have created for ourselves. We create profiles for ourselves, trying to showcase the most interesting parts of our day-to-day lives. It seems like everyone else is living such a happy and exciting life, and we feel like we need to be like that as well. However, we are all just perpetuating this fake reality in which we hide all of the bad or negative parts of our lives or ourselves, and instead solely promote this positive version for all to see.

Social media lives off of likes. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram- all of them wouldn’t exist if we weren’t posting content just for others to like. They are a nice way to share our lives with our family and friends, but with this new wave of social media influencers, that innocent sharing often morphs into seeking validation through likes, shares, and retweets. This can create an unfortunate thought-process in many young people especially, that if they don’t get enough likes, then they aren’t good enough. They’re arbitrary numbers that don’t hold any actual weight in our self worth, but we place importance on them and are unhappy if the number isn’t high enough.

One of the biggest problems that I personally see with social media is comparison. A lot of young girls look up to today’s social media influencers and want to be like them. However, they often post only the best parts of themselves, and it creates an unattainable goal that only instills insecurity and self-doubt. There are influencers that include their own insecurities and hardships into their content, which I applaud, but they are unfortunately in the minority. I’ve seen so many videos and Tik Toks of young girls crying because they aren’t society’s exact version of beauty, and I think social media is to blame. We all have physical traits that we don’t like, and if we all tried to embrace them more instead of hide them, then we could lessen the pressure to be “perfect.” We are all beautiful and perfect in our own way, and how fake social media operates makes that hard for us to see sometimes.

Another fake aspect of social media is the idea that it creates in which we feel as if we constantly need to be doing something productive or exciting to be living a good and fulfilling life. A lot of influencers make content focused around productivity and maximization of your day, and while I think it can have some benefits, it also makes a lot of viewers feel like they aren’t doing enough with their lives. In reality, a lot of these bigger influencers don’t have as strict of a work or school schedule, and can customize their days to fit around their productive content. However, a lot of us have class every day, and work multiple times a week, and it makes it harder to be productive in other aspects of our lives. It’s okay if we don’t workout every day, or wake up at six in the morning to get a headstart on our day. It’s okay if we take some time to rest and just relax without feeling like we have to fill it with something meaningful.

My purpose in this is not to bash social media influencers or make it seem like it’s 100 percent their fault that social media has created this warped sense of reality that leaves a lot of us feeling insecure and inadequate. In all honesty, I’m sure a lot of us would love to be social media influencers and be able to live that kind of lifestyle. I think that we as a society have just put too much importance into social media and getting validation from it. I truly hope that going forward, we can continue to stress the importance of authenticity with what we post and what content we consume.

If you feel like social media has been draining you or affecting your mental health, take a break from it and delete the apps off of your phone for a while. It is so much more important for us to be healthy and happy with ourselves than to be sucked into a fake reality in which we compare ourselves to others and seek likes to feel worthy.

Madison Hoad

George Mason University '23

Madison is currently a junior on the Pre-Nursing track, minoring in both Psychology and Forensic Science. Her goal is to become either a surgical or forensic nurse. When Madison isn't studying, you can find her running, watching Netflix, grabbing Chipotle with friends, or exploring DC!
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