Growing up as a millennial has definitely had some benefits; but, with the old soul that I consider myself to be, it’s taken some adjusting. It kinda freaks me out that anyone, anywhere, at anytime could be making assumptions about me based on my social media personality.
I’ve tried out the majority of the popular sites such as Myspace (dated, I know) Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat etc. Currently I only entertain an Instagram account and that’s fine by me.
As I’ve matured, I’ve found my life has become more productive and especially less dramatic as I weed out unnecessary social media accounts. I know, I know, “it’s a way to stay connected,” or so I’ve heard. However, there genuinely are not many people I care to keep up with; but, on the rare occasion I do, I make it intentional to see people in person.
Of course social media is the easier route; you are among the first to know when friends are graduating, engaged, or pregnant but in reality, if they care about you, you’ll find out with or without Facebook.
Going to High school in the early 2000’s comes with all kinds of baggage. Let’s be real here. Girls are mean, and when they get a smart phone in their hot little hands, it’s a whole new game. You no longer have to wait to see the person you’re fighting with at school the next day if you have to pick a bone with them. You don’t even have to THINK before you write a nasty message and click send. With all the avenues of communication that this generation has access to you can even get a hold of someone after they block your phone number. So creepy.
Not only are we seeing people we go to school with or work with’s constant update on their every move (Twitter’s notorious for this one), we are also viewing profiles of people we will probably never meet.
Personally, I think a lot of insecurities and mental health issues are stemming from social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. For an example, let’s say you like to work out. Naturally, you’d follow work out accounts on Instagram because it’s something you’re interested in. Maybe you get some cool new workout ideas or find out about a healthy meal plan. In perspective, that all sounds great. However, the downfall I’ve witnessed with this type of media is the fact that you’re also seeing a constant feed of unrealistic ideas and body types. By the mass amounts of likes we see on these account’s posts, our brains instinctively assume that whatever that output is, it’s attractive.
When it comes down to it, it’s basically a constant feed of things that more than likely are quite far out of our reach of achievement. I know I’ve had to unfollow some accounts because it was actually affecting how I was looking at myself.
On the internet, you can be whoever you want to be. You can edit your images you get rid of fat, acne, wrinkles, and virtually any imperfection. You can take the time to carefully form a perfect personality before posting something on your timeline. The truth is, social media isn’t real. It’s a representation of who we want to be or who we want people to think we are.
As an aspiring ministry leader, I deleted my entire Facebook because people were tagging me in photos from my former party days. This wasn’t a reflection of who I am now and to be honest, I was ashamed. From personal experience, social media has had a stronghold on not only what other people think of me, but what potential employers think of me. It even affected what I think of myself at times.
Although it keeps us posted on what’s hot in the moment, social media is a constant reminder of our past. You can look at pictures of old relationships, see what your exes are up to, see posts from 5 years ago (maybe from a time you don’t want to remember). Life wasn’t created to revert us back to our pasts. Life was not designed to be a constant reminiscence.
Something my mom/BFF/guidance counselor once told me helped me come to this realization: “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way”. Hearing this put into perspective everything that social media was to me. It was something that was continually reminding me of who I WAS versus who I AM. If anything, it was pushing me to indefinitely evaluate myself or exemplifying to look like models who, in all actuality, probably didn’t even look like the photos they’re posting themselves.
I realize social media has a lot of advantages when it comes to getting information out to mass amounts of people and I truly believe people can change the world with it. I know it has shaped a lot of my generation’s perspectives today. It’s not the idea of social media that scares me, it’s the power we’ve given it that does. Like every other tool, it’s effect is often dependent upon the user.
As an AdPR minor at GVSU, I have to view this pretty critically. Life has definitely been made simpler by social media in some respects, such as advertisement and awareness of what’s going on in the world, but not without consequence. Social media prospers and encourages a great deal of people everyday, I don’t doubt that for a second. As for me, I’d prefer to stay unplugged.