Six years ago, my life changed dramatically. I joined the world of social media. Okay, so you may be thinking that I am being dramatic. But I am not. The impact of social media on our lives is often overlooked. People just accept their dependence on social media and fail to consider the consequences. Social media has such a profound impact on one’s emotional health.
Before I joined social media, I was very scared to put myself out there. As I slowly learned how to navigate the world of social media, I became more used to having my personal life viewed by a larger audience.
As a result of social media, I became more self-conscious about my image. I was more aware of what people wanted me to be and started prioritizing what others thought of me over what I thought of myself. I began to have a lack of confidence in myself.
Pretty soon, the amount of likes and comments began to take a toll on my life. People evaluate one’s social standing based on how many likes they receive. Every time my and my friends post similar photos, there is a competition to see who gets the most likes.
In addition, there is also pressure to see who has the most number of followers. Whenever I meet someone new, within the first five minutes of the conversation, we would have exchanged social media information and followed each other on every platform. At most of the parties that I attended, the guests were liking and commenting on each other’s posts even though they are sitting mere feet away from each other. Verbal compliments have been replaced by comments on posts. I am astounded that face-to-face conversation has become obsolete.
The way most people get to know each other is no longer through text messages or phone calls but through Instagram posts, Snapchat stories, and tweets. Often times, people follow others just for the sake of having an increased number on their profile. The standards of “making it” have evolved over time as social media role in our lives intensified. While it used to be where the unspoken definition of “making it” consisted of 100+ likes on each photo and a couple hundred followers, now it is defined as at least a couple hundred likes on every photo and 1000+ followers.
Obviously with these social media standards, I have been more stressed, anxious, and insecure. When I originally joined social media, I thought that this would be a fun experience. Instead, it has become more of a burden. I realized to what extent social media was negatively impacting my life. To respond, I took a more relaxed approach and stopped caring about what others think. I now only post photos that I like not necessarily what other people will like.
I discovered that I would rather have fewer followers who I know than a bunch of followers I have never spoken a word too. I began to value my friends who spent the time to get to know me instead of the “fake friends” who simply liked your post so that you would like their post.
I hope that others will discover how social media has impacted their life and appreciate the face-to-face conversations. I hope that others will discover how social media is not necessary to genuinely get to know someone.