In our society social status is everything, and your social status is determined by how many instagram followers you have.
I overheard a conversation the other day that went something like this:
“wait, who is she?”
“I don’t know but I guess she’s pretty important.”
“but she doesn’t even have that many instagram followers…”
So this made me think – how f-ed up is social media, really?
In my mind I’ve always used social media as a way to share my life and as a way to seek insight into the lives of others. I guess we’re all a little nosey and things like instagram and Facebook allow us to know what’s going on in our ex’s life without it being totally weird. Ok, maybe scrolling down to 132 weeks ago on that guy-you-met-at-that-party-one-time’s instagram is weird, but no one will ever know so it’s kinda ok. But that right there is perhaps one of our biggest problems – social media users can 100% hide behind their computer screens in everything they do. Here’s a scenario for you: girl posts a picture of a cupcake on instagram but girl also has an eating disorder. You as the viewer only see what’s presented to you which is often times incredibly shallow, therefore you (and I) fail to understand what the person on the other side of that post is really like and/or going through.
About a year ago my sister deleted all of her social media accounts. Her reason being, “why would I want to see how great everyone else’s life is everyday?” I didn’t totally understand what she meant at first because in my head, why wouldn’t you want to see how great everyone’s life is everyday?? But what she meant was, social media allows people to filter what they wish to share. No, I’m not talking about those photo editing options you have on instagram, but rather the content in which people choose to share. Everyone has their good days and their bad days, but quite often people will only share the good days. And on the rare occasion that a bad day is shared it is done in a way to receive sympathy, with a sort of “feel bad for me” innuendo attached to it.
Now I’d be lying if I said that I don’t care about how many likes I get on an instagram picture or that I don’t only ever share the positive aspects of my life. I never really saw the problem in this, especially when I was 16 and believed that my social life was eeeeeverything – but now I do. I honestly believe that we are setting future generations up for serious mental health and body image issues through our very own use of social media. Yes, that picture of you on some incredible beach vacation will be seen by someone in a less-perfect place who will immediately compare and as-a-result hate their life because it’s not like yours. I hate to sound like I’m blaming all social media users for others distress because I am just as guilty here as everyone else. I guess my only hope in writing this super long post is to raise awareness over the fact that social media sometimes does more harm than good. Just knowing this, I am way more conscious about the things I post and the things I say because at the end of the day my goal is never to make someone feel worthless, and I so desperately hope that your’s isn’t either. Let us also not fail to realize that behind that perfectly posed for selfie is a real person just like you who has real problems just like you.
Just something to think about…