Social Media is great – no contesting that. It’s a tool for self-empowerment, it’s a way to express yourself, it’s a way to stay connected with your inner circle….all of that. But what happens when the noise of social media becomes so intense that it overpowers your life? Unfortunately, that’s what social media has become for many people today. There’s everything from the infamous cancel culture, fleeting news trends, and fake influencers, to the body dysmorphia faced mostly by women users…..the list goes on.
Being a social media user myself, I find it disturbing how petty and superficial our reliance on social media has become. Instead of developing our personalities through real life experiences, we have developed digital walls. Walls filled with ideas of perfectionism and unrealistic standards of life. I’m still mind blown that we once lived in a world where social media was just another piece of entertainment. Now, it seems to be a necessity to function in life. You are not cool unless you have social media. If you don’t, you are deemed a social outcast. Life is not a picture, nor can it be summarized in a bunch of captions. We are not one-dimensional people, yet we are glued to boxes with snippets of other people’s lives. We wake up first thing in the morning checking our notifications to see how many likes and comments we’ve garnered. This was me, and I know this is a lot of you out there too. But at the end of the day, does of any this matter? If we as a community rely on digital acceptance to function as human beings, then it’s really just disappointing. Our happiness should not be defined by social media, let alone a heart or like. Social media is harmful to us, especially to the younger generation.
We as a society rely on digital acceptance to function as human beings. Nowadays, we can’t take a photo without some sort of embellishment, the “right” angle, or even a filter. We’ve been convinced that anything less than perfect is a flaw, and thus unacceptable. Curves, lips, accomplishments, awards, etc. define beauty and success. If it’s not an already altered image of our self, it’s one of something as trivial as food. But for what? To make someone jealous? Does happiness really need to come through the acceptance of others with a single like on a post? Our intentions on posting may be harmless, but our mind set is so focused on the opinions of other people. When are we going to focus on ourselves? Doing things for ourselves, because of what we want and need regardless of what other people may think.
Social media also enables commoditizing social status via likes is detrimental to mental health.
It’s disheartening to see what social media has done to our society. Nothing feels genuine anymore. A picture is taken to be posted on Snapchat. A video to be shared on our story. An activity because it’s popular on Instagram. We read posts on a person’s Facebook and assume to know their whole life.
Today’s social publishing environment rewards sensationalized content, thereby damaging healthy relationships online. These platforms reward “engagement” by highlighting highly liked posts more prominently in newsfeeds, accustomizing social media users to attempting to post that sensationalized content themselves. This attention-seeking behavior has left people vulnerable to dangerous propaganda and influence campaigns.
Social media is not life, instead, at this point, it has evolved into a wall. What was once a seemingly harmless platform, then, has now evolved into a powerful machine that, due to confusing hate speech and privacy policies, has set dangerous precedents for the future of social media.
At the end of the day, we need to come to the realization that social media doesn’t define us, but it should represent who we are.