I think the most mortifying thing I could confess to as of late is being addicted to social media, which is embarrassing for a number of reasons… I mean not to say that I would die or suffer from withdrawals if say, I were stranded on a desert island without access to my phone (or more likely, accidentally left my phone in the freezer). But if I’m being entirely honest, I feel actual validation from a stupid little notification, a single comment, or a ‘like’ from an APP on my PHONE. It’s so unhealthy and completely absurd; The worst part is I can recognize the absurdity, but I continue to do nothing about it. Here I am, still opening Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat out of pure habit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to create cool stuff for social media. When I come up with a brilliant tweet, or capture a hilarious moment on Snapchat, or frame the perfect picture, I post it with the initial intention of pleasing myself – Here’s something I created and personalized, and, in a sense, I’m proud of it! When I genuinely love what I’m creating and posting, what other people think of it (or me) matters so much less.. but all too often I catch myself waiting for a ‘like’ on my Instagram from a particular handful of people whose opinions of me I value too much; looking to see if anyone recognizes how funny I am on Twitter (lol they don’t); checking to see if any one of my friends Snapchatted me. Before I even realize what I’m doing, I’ve mindlessly tapped open Snapchat after closing it just seconds before. Or I’m sitting on the train, and suddenly six stops have passed since I was sucked into the Explore page on Instagram, comparing my life to the highlight reels of total strangers.
So there’s a simple solution, right? Delete delete delete… Except I’m stubborn and I don’t want to. Plus it’s kind of a shame! Social media can be so cool. We can meet people we otherwise never would’ve known existed; We can support our friends from thousands of miles away; We can use our voices to make a difference. So where do we draw the line? How much social media is too much, and how do we use it without allowing its most toxic aspects to creep into our lives?
One thing I’ve noticed in particular lately is that I can write all damn day about my opinions and beliefs on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s more challenging for me to speak to my friends in person about the same issues. It’s easy for me to be goofy on Snapchat, but I’m usually a little more reserved in real life. It’s easy to edit the shit out of a picture until it hardly represents the reality of what it once was (for better or for worse).
And I think all of those things can be okay to an extent, but we can’t just leave it at that like a “boys will be boys” situation. (Social media will be social media?) Social media is not the be all, end all. It’s only meant to be a tool, used to encourage us to get creative and have a real conversation with old and new friends about topics that may not come up without the prompting of a tweet or a Facebook post. So I think we can have all the fun we want with social media, but it’s time to shut down when it starts to interfere with our personal interactions here in the real world. Keep yourself in check, and remember to be just as vibrant in real life as you are on social media.