We are all guilty. Social media is almost like a living breathing monster, our demigod to whom we must pay reverence every single day. We’d rather be on our phones at social gatherings than start off a conversation with someone sitting next to us. We care only about pictures, how clear they are, how they show we’re happy and having fun and hanging with the right crowd.
This is not a critical piece, neither is it a high-nosed decree read from the high point of stainlessness and purity to the sinful masses. It is an acknowledgment, the acceptance of who we have become. The world around us is more and more connected through our mobile phones but we’re more disconnected in terms of interfacial relationships. When something nice happens, we’re quick to bring out our phones and document, not because we want to save a memory, but because we want to show our online friends. There is this innate need and pressure to show off and impress.
We all need likes on our posts, subscribers on our channels; it has become a desperate desire. We mask sadness by how many likes and comments we have on our posts and surrender our happiness to followers. Our decisions have been marred too. We buy stuff because it’ll look good on the gram; we go to certain places just to take photos for the gram; we share false victory stories, plaster fake smiles on our faces, and we even claim people’s houses. All for what? The appearance of wealth and happiness.
This brings us to the tough questions: Why am I doing this? Why am I under pressure to impress people I don’t even know? Why do we feel the need to be validated by “online strangers?”
“Winning” on social media is good, but even better is winning in real life, having real and reliable friends, having a good career, a good support system, etc. Everything shouldn’t be for clout, as Twitter intellectuals like to call it. Seriously, if you were cut off right now from all your social media accounts for two weeks, your phone taken from you, would you survive? My guess that is that you would find a way to document the two weeks, and as soon as your phone is handed back to you, you flood your pages with posts and captions like, “What I’ve been up to for the past two weeks.” “Two weeks without the internet,” and the likes.
The tendency to overshare has cost so many millennials their peace of mind. We just have to get those likes and subscribers. A harsh truth we all need to face is that social media doesn’t care. Yes, like one popular musician would say, “My life, their entertainment.” No matter what you post, how you post it, and the sweat it takes you to do so, you’re only entertaining a virtual audience. And the minute they stop feeling entertained? They move on to the next big gist. Having this in mind, we can learn to see and use social media as a valuable tool (to be used and discarded as needed), and not as an uncontrollable monster that wants to take over every aspect of our lives.