Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is Social Media Killing Our Sense of Self?

I still remember the days when MySpace was at it's all time glory and girls were always trying to spruce up their AIM profiles and make "cute" away messages. When people posted pictures on worldisround or Yahoo Pics. When almost everyone had their own blog- as in their own Xanga or LiveJournal. I like to think this is when it all started. When the internet started booming and nearly everyone had a computer in their home (more often then not just one, so it had to be shared amongst everyone, AKA fights that could very well start WWIII). This is when people started really putting their lives on the internet. They got personal and shared everything and anyone could come along and read your story and look at what you had done that weekend. People didn't just want others to glimpse into their own personal lives, but they wanted other people looking at their lives, too. It always seemed like a contest. Who had the cooler life. Who had the prettier friends and stylish clothes. Who was going out and having the most fun.

In a way this is to be expected of most pre-teens and teens, but it seems the rise of the internet and these social networking sites made all of this that more intense and life-consuming. If you weren't the one "cyber-stalking" people then you were the one obsessed with making your internet image look it's very best. Or maybe in some cases you were both.

The world changed, the internet changed, we grew up—but this tendency to examine the lives of others and wish we had what they had continued. Kids these days are still going through the same thing my generation did, just with different social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) It's only natural to be a little envious sometimes. It's only natural to wonder what it'd be like to be in someone else's shoes for awhile. Our instincts are usually to reach out for more, never quite satisfied with what we have. Social media allows us to live vicariously through others. But is this more of a problem than a solution?

As a blogger, I'm putting myself out there for everyone to see. But I don't really think my life is worth envying in that sense. Who knows, though. Maybe there are people out there who look at my blog and my social media accounts and feel the same way I do towards other bloggers. I follow a lot of blogs and more often then not, especially now that my life has taken on a boring twist, I envy their lives. I envy their jobs, their apartments/homes, their family/friends, their life in general. I envy it because I want more, I've always wanted more, and I'm never satisfied with what I do have. And I hate that, I really do. I have so much to be grateful for and that I AM grateful for, but I still always find myself feeling like Jay Gatsby, reaching out towards the green light.

I wish I was more content with my own life and didn't have to sit behind a computer screen scrolling through different blogs and social media accounts to "live vicariously through others." As much as I love social media, sometimes I feel that it's really a curse on all of us. It's a constant reminder of what we don't have and what we want, of where we want to be but aren't, etc. You can be perfectly happy with your life, but even then there's a chance that you get a little bit envious of others, too. I've also read somewhere that kids these days tend to just repost images they see on Tumblr instead of actually going out and living their lives. We're all just hiding behind the internet.

I did not set out to write this post to spread a pessimistic message. Rather, I want people to be more aware of what social media does to us, because it's not always so obvious. It's so easy to allow your self-esteem to be lowered because of what you see on the internet. It's easy to lose yourself in another person's life because it remains completely anonymous. And that's a problem. Yes, it's great to have other people be an inspiration to you and it's good to have something you're reaching towards. What's not good, however, is to allow yourself to get completely lost in all of this and forget who you truly are. I want people to remember that each person is unique and everyone has something special to offer. Just because your life is not as "glamorous" or "adventurous" as someone else's doesn't make it any less worthy. I have to remind myself this plenty of times.

Be you, because no body does it better. Be proud of every single breath you take, every single step you take. Don't get so caught up in other people's lives that you forget to live your own life to the fullest.

1 comment

  1. I love this post because in all honesty, I get jealous sometimes of what I see on Instagram. Some moms look so together and perfect in every post. I'm always wondering, how are they doing this??? Don't they have wild toddlers too?? I have to remind myself that it's just social media and some pictures are very staged. I can't waste time comparing myself to others!