The Bittersweet Life – Surviving Social Media
“Using social networking sites (…) negatively affect a person’s sense of self.” – Marisa Maldonado (psychcentral.com)
In today’s digital fueled world, there’s nothing as good as #TBT Insta-posts or a fiery “TweetRant”! Why? Well, simply put, it’s because you are sending out a manipulated representation of yourself, a snapshot (or snapchat), that isn’t exactly the full picture. Let’s be honest, if you live streamed your average day, it would be closer to an unflattering angle of you glued to reruns of Family Matters while snacking on those leftover Halloween candy bags you told your girlfriend you threw away in November but keep behind the dog food. Not exactly a pretty sight. So, why are we constantly trying to put out an image of cool, adventurous, and wealth on social media? The truth is, we feel inadequate in comparison to the friends and followers we see on social media. Believe it or not, it’s been scientifically proven as a mental condition we all have developped by being swept up in the age of social media.
Marisa Maldonado from psychcentral.com writes, “Recent research has shown that using social networking sites, namely Facebook, can increase people’s stress levels, produce anxiety and negatively affect a person’s sense of self.” We are literally stressing ourselves out just by looking at other people’s feeds. By comparing our own “normal” life to the perceived sexy party or travel happy lives of others, we begin to see our own experiences, and by extension ourselves, as less-than or not adequate. What the *blank* is that about? In an age where we have more connection and access to each other than ever before, we are actually alienating ourselves by pretending we all live lives of wealth, extravagance, and constant excitement.
What’s the solution? Obviously, we can’t stop social media and our own involvement in it, and to be honest, it’s a bit absurd to suggest it. However, embracing the social technology of today and staying current doesn’t mean we have to lose our minds over how amazing your ex from middle school seems to be doing while travelling to Malaysia. The key is to KEEP PERSPECTIVE! Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are just windows, freeze frames, of people’s lives, NOT the whole picture. Even Kanye, yes Kanye, has boring, lame, ‘just-chill-at-the-rehab-clinic’ days where the most awesome thing that happens is the kitchen staff switched from orange jello to blue. Life’s moments of brilliance are only made that way by having less amazing moments to compare to. Fess up social media, life’s not that full on.