What It Can Feel Like To Be Young In A Social Media-Run World
I grew up with a generation where social media was quickly progressing. I am 22, born in the era known to be the last generation to have their baby photos not taken on a smartphone. We are surrounded by social media and it is such a big part of our lives that I am going to explain some of what it feels like to be a young adult in a social-media-run world.
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Like So Many People Have a Better Life Than You Do
Think about the fabulously-filtered photos on your Instagram feed of girls in their pretty bathing suits on a beautiful island, smiling to the camera like absolutely nothing in their lives could possibly be wrong. It’s intimidating, isn’t it? You may know nothing about this specific girl in the picture, but based on this one photo, her life seems like it has to be better than yours.
Or maybe you’re watching your Snapchat friends’ stories, and you’re seeing a bunch of people out partying in big groups or vacationing on a beach together. You’re watching these Snapchats and wondering how these people have so many friends and are always out having fun.
You Know What Everyone Is Doing At All Times, (Or At Least You Think You Do)
Direct Snapchats, Snapchat stories, Instagram stories, and now Facebook stories; it’s almost impossible not to know where the people you follow on these accounts are all the time or what they are doing. Not only do we feel the need to constantly let our followers know what we are doing, but we also feel the need to check what is posted by the people whom we follow.
We are curious, and we also need attention. We may not even really know a lot of the people that follow us on these social media outlets, but we still want them to know what we are up to.
Like Everyone Has Their Life Together
Similar to the Instagram photo of the attractive girl on an island smiling like she has the best life anyone could ask for, seeing photos of or posts from people you once knew or maybe still know getting the job they’ve been wanting for a while or going on their dream vacation and “finding themselves” can make us feel like we’re wasting our time. They got the job or went on the vacation and we’re sitting here in our bed on our phone, scrolling through these pictures and posts of people “getting their lives together”. Although we may think that what we are seeing is the truth, we really don’t know how accurate these depictions are.
The Amount Of “Buzz” You Get Can Determine Your Self-Worth
Likes, likes, likes. These seem to be one of the most important aspects of our social media presence. If we don’t get the number of likes we were hoping for, we feel disappointed in ourselves, like we did something wrong. If we do get the number of likes we were expecting or more, we feel like we are on top of the world; everyone must love us and we cannot possibly come down from this high.
But maybe we didn’t get the likes we wanted because some of our followers may not have seen the picture we posted or the Tweet we tweeted, or maybe you posted your photo at a time when a lot of your followers were online, and that’s why you got more likes than you had expected. Most of the time, not getting “enough” likes or getting a lot of likes doesn’t have to do with the way people think about you, but the probability of time and the app’s algorithm.
Social media can act as a curse and a blessing. It provides a lot of good to our society, like keeping up with old friends, finding jobs, getting a good laugh, but it can also make us feel extremely insecure and lonely. Try to keep in the back of your mind that not everything you see is the full truth, and what you post online is not all of who you are as a person.
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