Our generation has grown up with the internet at a near reach. We’ve found ways to include our social media accounts in everything. There is no longer a clear divide between the internet or social media and reality. We now live in a world in between. I used to be aware that people highlighted their best moments on social media, because who wants to post a mental breakdown? Not me. Over time I got accustomed to the highlights and completely forgot people have their lowlights, their bad moments in private. It’s this thinking that leads to unnecessary inner turmoil. For some people, this turmoil can cause anxiety setting impossible standards for ourselves and others. It’s hard to quit social media because it’s embedded in everything and it’s easy to have FOMO.
Don’t get me wrong, some people are exactly what they showcase on social media, and I appreciate it. You might even say there’s an app for certain people. If you want to be more open and yourself, use Twitter or TikTok. If you want to present yourself in the best light, use Instagram or LinkedIn. If you need to communicate quickly use Snapchat or iMessage and if you need to use Facebook, good luck Charlie. I cannot keep up with these social media accounts. Some people can control their use of social media and have a healthy relationship with it and I would love to get to that place one day.
In my experience, social media has been chaotic. Maybe that’s why I’ve deleted my accounts every couple of years since middle school. I’ve made so many new Instagram accounts in the past 10 years that I’ve officially given up on keeping one. I remember asking a friend why he didn’t have a Snapchat thinking it was strange (sorry). This brings up a unique topic, not having social media doesn’t mean you don’t exist. You may not exist on the internet, but you still exist. To our generation, this is a difficult idea to understand because social media is completely normalized as reality. It’s important to recognize how social media is only a negative factor if we allow it to be.
Although I still keep an Instagram and Facebook for school purposes, I’m not connected all the time. I’ve heard a lot of people mention how amazing it’d be to get back to their childhood hobbies, for example, reading. They mention how their attention span has decreased and they can’t focus well. There’s not enough research about how social media and smartphones affect us as we get older. And that’s pretty scary.
Older folks think we have it easy because we have access to the internet, and on one hand it’s true. But we also have no idea how to process so much information all at once. Although I’d love to delete all my social media and just exist, it looks like it’s here to stay. We can only control how much we consume, everything else is not up to us. Even though social media can be negative, now it has encouraged individuals to be 100% themselves and has created a culture of understanding for users. It has produced an instant form of communication and allowed people to keep up with each other. Just like any other relationship, you have control over your choices and reactions even within the social media realm.