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Social Media Sadness

I’m a social media addicted and  blue-light fueled insomniac. The moment I get into bed, I take out my phone and scroll for hours. I browse Instagram, Tik Tok, and sometimes even my friends’ Venmo history when I’m really bored. Even before the pandemic, constantly lying about looking at screens was pretty regular behavior for me.


And unfortunately, I know all the dirty secrets. Social media companies are stealing our data and trying to sell us manufactured joy to keep us on their applications. I wish I could proudly announce that I’ve told Zuck to suck it by permanently deleting my Facebook, but though I’ve deleted my Facebook page, I have an inability to stop using Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook. 


My usage is a problem, and I know this. I’m sure in ten years, I’ll have all the health issues “they say” we’ll have, ruined eyes, a bad back, a melted brain and the myriad of problems we probably don’t even know about yet. At nearly 22, this is not my immediate concern. With the way 2020 is going, who knows if there is a future? (I’m kidding, of course.) 


There’s something else on my mind when it comes to my social media habits. I’ll post anything. Every thought that pops into my mind. Every strange and random and sad thought, I’ll post it. And I know I’m not alone in this. I’ll scroll through my feed, seeing my friends upload their own concerning thoughts at 1 a.m on private accounts,and sometimes it feels so frustrating to be an onlooker to these confessions. I’ll flip through posts, not knowing what to say or how to help, or I’ll just wallow in sadness with them. I’ll get sucked into their sphere of sadness and feel absolutely empty when I close the apps. 


Sometimes it feels amazing to just post all of your grim thoughts into the void,to just get it all out, with the feeling of no immediate or direct consequences. But for every dramatic bad-brain day post I make with the hope to get attention from my particular favorite people, I would probably feel a million times better if I simply texted someone and asked, “can I talk to you for a bit?” 


I have no solution to my predicament. I’ve tried to start putting time limitations on my non-essential apps (which is most of them). It’s helped to a small degree. I’m sure any sort of emotional Instagram posting is not the best thing for my already anxious brain. I’ve started restricting and hiding the accounts who post the most “sad traps” to get a little less emotion off my timeline. Even then however, I worry I’ll miss some dire post made by a friend. I know it will take work to change how I use my personal accounts,but in this age of social distancing, where I can’t cry in the arms of my friends, I just don’t know what vices I’m ready to give up. 

Sabrina Merritt is currently studying for an English degree with a concentration in professional writing and rhetoric. Her highest passions are tabletop role-playing and learning about how to be an environmentally-friendly consumer.
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