Now before I start, you should know that I really do think social media is fantastic. You can connect with your friends, with people on the other side of the world, read the news, laugh at memes and so. much. more. It has opened up so many doors for change by being a platform to quickly spread the word about important issues facing our world today.
But It’s a love/hate relationship isn’t it? Long before Instagram models and Youtube sensations, social media was created purely to enhance social interaction. Remember the good old days of messaging your friends on MSN with stupid abbreviations like GTG (got to go – probably because your mum just started lecturing you about unpacking your school bag) or literally only communicating via hotmail. To watch your favourite Britney Spears music video you had to wait for Video Hits to come on channel 10 on a Saturday morning. What a wild time that was.
Now, I don’t know many young people that can go more than a couple of hours without scrolling through their Facebook feed, Instagram or checking other people’s Snapchat stories. And that is being generous. If you have a spare second, you don’t look up at the sky and daydream (which sounds kind of boring anyway to be honest), you are looking down at your phone screen. I think that much of this generation forget how recent all of these developments are. Facebook launched in 2004, Youtube in 2005, Instagram in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011. The reign of the social media empire began. And it isn’t ending any time soon.
Many of us are starting to ask the question, is this really making me happy?
Take Instagram for example. Surely mindlessly scrolling through my feed filled with beautiful, skinny, tanned, perfect Instagram models cant be healthy for my body image. Constantly having access to other peoples lives is draining. But it’s all smoke and mirrors, isn’t it? I’m sure that beauty blogger you follow on all social media outlets doesn’t post the photo of her eating three bowls of pasta and having to unzip her skinny jeans. No. She gets the right angle, the right lighting, the right camera, the right make up, the right bloody everything.
But we are so overexposed to this now that we know no better than to believe everything we see. Perfection is everywhere now and it just isn’t an obtainable goal and it isn’t the way to find happiness. Comparing ourselves to others we see on social media is so damaging and quite frankly, scary as shit. We live in an era where people strive to show the best parts of themselves online so that is all we see. I know so many people that are so focused on the life they are portraying on their Instagram page that they are oblivious to what is happening in the life they are actually living. They are more focused on getting the perfect photo than actually having a good time. As a wise woman once said, ‘Get off your stupid phone and talk to me’ (that wise woman is me).
It isn’t healthy and it needs to stop. So I’m calling it. Social media is making us care too much about what other people think. Instagram models have a job. Their job is to look good. Their job is to make you envy their life enough that you buy the products they are advertising. That’s what they are being sponsored for. So stop comparing yourself to professionals. It’s all bullshit anyway, trust me. Everyone has their issues and it’s time we stop hiding behind these fake online versions of ourselves.
Post that silly picture of you with your best friend, or that photo in your favourite dress that you don’t consider ‘Instagram worthy’. If we all fit the mould of what is ‘Instagram worthy’ then what kind of world would we be living in? Now, I know telling you to live in the moment sounds cheesy as hell, but it couldn’t be more relevant. Take photos for memories, not for popularity and not for likes. Don’t let the amount of likes you get on a photo become your worth.
Hit the ‘Fuck it Button’ as I like to call it. Post what you want. Be who you are. And most importantly, stop giving a damn what people think.