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Modern Day First Impressions

The places and opportunities to meet new people in college is seemingly endless. The usual encounter of meeting new people within our generation typically involves making an initial in-person connection and then a swap of Snapchats or numbers. More often than not, this is followed by a search for that person’s Instagram, or them finding yours. As a freshman, I have noticed this trend and have thought about how much we factor one another’s social media profiles into the initial impressions we perceive of someone.

From personal experience, it seems we live in a society that judges people more off of their Instagram profiles than the initial connection we make in-person. Really think about it: how many times have you jumped to conclusions about a person or based your initial impression off of their social media account? A photogenic person, lots of followers, and an aesthetically pleasing profile means a quality person, right?

I’m not trying to say that Instagram can’t be an indicator of someone’s values, lifestyle, or personality, but I think it should be taken with a grain of salt. It baffles me that people heavily base ideas of other’s social status or value off of their follower count or even the content of their Instagram.

The way our brains are wired around this idea is a little concerning to me due to the fact that this is why some people, especially young women, feel lesser about themselves because of social media and let it affect their self image and self-esteem. It’s an unhealthy but common human instinct to compare ourselves to others and social media surely adds to this struggle.

The point I’m trying to make is that social media is not supposed to be used as an indicator of someone’s value. We have grown up being told not to judge a book by its cover, so maybe our generation needs to modify this idea and start applying it to social media. Instagram should be fun, (who doesn’t love taking a good picture and uploading it?), and many people use it as a tool to express themselves and stay up to date with friends and celebrities. But people are so complex and we all can benefit a little from setting aside the iPhone and experiencing connections and our own perceptions of ourselves and others the way it was before profiles, likes, and followers. 

Bec E

Minnesota '21

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