I can’t believe I’m saying this but I kinda miss pre-social media days. I miss connecting with folks in a real way. You can hardly go out for dinner without having people upload pictures of their meals to Instagram or take a quick selfie. Don’t kill the messenger. Just hear me out for a bit. Our generation is defined by a culture of likes, tweets and snaps, which can all be very distracting at times (to say the least). I too was once a prisoner but I had to break free. Think I’m crazy? Here are five low-lights of excessive social media use that are overlooked.
1. FOCUSING ON OTHERS MORE THAN YOURSELF
It should be no surprise that studies have shown who spend a significant amount of time on social media report feelings of increased anxiety and low self-esteem. We spend so much time comparing our lives to the lives of those we follow on social media. We are so infatuated with other’s accomplishments, their glow up, their influence. Excessive social media use causes us to compare ourselves others in an unhealthy way, possibly leading to depression.
2. A DISTORTED VERSION OF REALITY
Social media is a highlight reel. Who really shows the low points of their life? We tend not to see the struggles or low points in the lives of others, which makes us feel more conscious of our own flaws. Oh my life is in shambles, let’s upload this moment to social media. No. I’m only going to upload the good, the shine, the glow. The posts are there to make people envy. It’s keeping up with the Joneses 24/7.
As a result, many people who use social media fall into the trap of trying to make their lives seem more glamorous than they really are. Bleek photos don’t get the same amount of like. Real life, doesn’t make it to the popular feed. Social media is a tiny glimpse into someone’s life. But with the perfectly curated feed, it creates the illusion that their life is always wonderfully put together.
3. YOUR HAPPINESS BECOMES TOO DEPENDENT ON OTHERS
Using social media is dangerous because you can easily get trapped in the mindset of seeking validation from others. Your happiness should primarily depend on whether or not you enjoy a certain situation and not what others think.
I’ll give you an example, if you go out for dinner and eat an amazing meal, you should feel happy because it tasted great and not because you got over 100 likes on your photo of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out with friends and they delay my meal because they want to get the perfect photo of everything. I’ve already taken a couple bites. Sorry sis.
Should you really care if someone you haven’t talked to in several years likes your newest picture? How much does that really matter? Happiness should mainly come from within, and you should only really care about sharing your experiences with those closest to you.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA CAN DISTRACT YOU FROM THE MOMENT.
Social media often prevents us from paying attention to what is actually happening. I’m sure you have that one friend who spends more time checking his or her Facebook or Instagram feed for updates than actually engaging with you when you’re out (or maybe you’re THAT friend).
As a result, the whole experience becomes less enjoyable (atleast for me). It’s easy to fall into the routine of checking social media sites whenever you have a chance, but by doing so, we tend to appreciate the moment less.
Another example, If you attend a concert and are constantly recording videos and uploadung or tweeting about how great an artist is, aren’t you actually distracting yourself from the performance? My point is that the need to post on social media often detracts from the beauty of being present in the moment. We should exercise caution when using it.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA TENDS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE TOO PUBLIC.
Are all 2200+ people on Facebook really your friends? Do they really know (or care) about what event you are going to next week?
We tend to forget almost everything we do on social media is recorded in some way. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. This can be problematic, as it could be possible for individuals we would rather not share things with (like our parents or a potential employer) to see certain areas of our lives.
Even if you restrict who can view your social media account, it’s important to question whether it’s necessary or even safe, to reveal so much information about your life to individuals you barely know.
Sign off for a While
I’m not saying that you should delete social media. That’s not the message I’m trying to put out. I think social media is awesome. It’s a ways to stay connected and it’s an endless source of entertainment. What I am saying is that we should exercise caution when using social media. Be mindful of these lowlights of excessive social media use. Also it’s ok to NOT post everything. I promise it did happen even if you didn’t post it.