I’m not the first person to sit down and talk about social media being the highlight reel (or even the dirty laundry reel for some people) of everyone’s lives. So is this necessarily bad? My personal opinion is no. My other personal opinion is yes. I’ll explain why…
Social media being a highlight reel isn’t bad. What’s wrong with people wanting to share their positive & fun moments in life? NOTHING. Period. The issue is how other people perceive it…which makes it their problem & not the problem of the person posting positive moments. Blaming people who post their successes & happy moments for bragging or being a snob is wrong (sure there are people who truly post stuff because they’re conceited, but that’s their problem not your’s & you don’t live in their mind so you really don’t know). If you’re that insecure & miserable in life, maybe you should exert your energy into making positive changes in your own life rather than envying or being jealous of others. Sure, not everyone can go on fancy vacations every month, not everyone has a child to post a photo of, not everyone has a social life, but you can focus on your own positives & post those. Share your positives, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Social media being a highlight reel is bad. It may be confusing how I just said it isn’t, but now I’m arguing it is. Hear me out. If social media is causing anxiety, jealousy, depression, & envy in your own life, then maybe social media isn’t for you. It’s easy to get caught up in everyone else’s happiness instead of focusing on your own. If you find yourself literally being a cyberbully because of your own insecurities, then get off of social media. It’s that simple. If you find yourself hating on someone, accusing them of being someone they aren’t, & being bitter, then maybe you need to forget about social media, period. Basically, if you can’t handle social media’s highlight reels, then it is bad for you & you need to do something about yourself.
Remember that social media doesn’t tell the full story. Someone may be posting their vacations, social life, happy relationship, etc., but behind closed doors they could be suicidal, having marital problems, suffering financially, etc. A quick example is that of people who portray their marriage as amazing & perfect, yet behind closed doors they’re miserable. (this doesn’t apply to everyone! I’m just giving an example). Don’t forget that at least 1 person knows your real life situations. I knew someone who told me about their marital problems almost daily & said really nasty things about her husband, but online it seems like they have the perfect marriage & she pretends to be so happy.
Social media wasn’t created for people to air out their dirty laundry either. But, is that even wrong? Why not post some negatives so people know your life isn’t perfect? My opinion, or maybe even a fact, is if you have problems with friends, family, & your significant other it doesn’t belong on the internet for the world to see. We all say & do things we don’t mean when angry & upset. The next day when you’re no longer in that state of mind you’ll regret posting it on the internet. You can click that almighty delete button, but nothing is permanently deleted from the internet. Also, our loved ones tend to take our sides, so airing out dirty laundry makes it bad for the person you’re bitching about & then makes you look bad for “fixing” or “dealing with” the problem. Don’t be dumb. Don’t cause conflict on the internet & if you post something negative make sure it’s nothing that can black-mail yourself later on in life.
It’s not that serious!
Too many people think “likes” mean they are loved and above others. Wrong. Social media isn’t real life. Okay, so you just got 346 likes on a selfie, but in real life how many of those people truly know you & actually spend time with you? I personally know a good amount of people who are “toxic” yet get a good amount of “likes” on their photos. Behind that computer screen, though, those same people cry because they DON’T HAVE FRIENDS & their family members hate them. Why? Because they resort to domestic violence & psychological/verbal abuse. Online though, they “look” like nice people. On the other hand, I know a lot of amazing, successful, humble,& intelligent individuals who get only 15-30 likes on their photos. These people are the ones who are truly loved/liked by many in reality.
Might I add the number of “friends” also plays a big part into it. Most of the time only 10% (if you’re lucky) of all friends on your friends list like posts/photos. I, for instance, have only 283 friends (which changes because I delete people I don’t talk to). I’m lucky if I get 30 likes & normally it’s from the same people. I know someone who has 1,578 friends and they’ll get over 100 likes. So, are they more popular than me? Do people like them more than me? The answer is simply no. It’s the same amount of “likes” just a different number based on the amount of people following us.
People also like what they’re interested in. I know someone who usually gets mediocre likes like the rest of us. The minute she had a baby she had received over 400 likes even by people I know for a fact talked so badly about her. Those likes aren’t about her, they’re about the fact that people love babies. She also doesn’t personally know even half of those people. This same person thinks she’s so adored by all these people. If only this person knew a quarter of the trash people say about her behind closed doors…
Don’t ever let social media fool you & don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re some god/goddess because you got more likes than someone else. Whether you’re a humble/kind person or a toxic/unliked person, social media attention doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is real life. Speaking of “likes” mattering, pay attention to your “loyal” friends. You know, the ones who always like your stuff no matter how silly, dumb, or intelligent those posts are. The only “likes” that truly matter are those from loved ones (friends & family who love you in real life).
Are those selfie likes paying your bills? No. (if so, where do I apply? haha) Are those instagram followers visiting you at home, having dinner with you weekly, & just hanging out? No. How many of those people send you a text or phone call daily/weekly just to check up on you? (if they’re not family and close friends then chances are the answer is zero)
This “liking” shit literally makes me laugh. Real life matters; Social media life is nothing but a highlight reel. Highlight reels are not the full story.
I feel there are 2 types of people on social media. Those who use it for “followers” & “friends” & those who use it for updating close/personal relationships. I belong to the later. I deleted 95% of people I met during my undergrad years & previous coworkers. If I don’t associate with someone in reality I will delete them. This is partially because of “cyberbullying”. At one point, I dealt with very insecure people who did actually get under my skin. These people knew me “personally” enough, yet made it a point to make fun of me & say untrue things about me based on my instagram photos (I used to be a poster of my meals & drinks haha). After this incident I realized my social media only needs to be filled with individuals who fully know me, a few coworkers, & classmates from my graduate class. This is my opinion & I’m not saying this is how it should be. A lot of my friends have 800+ “Friends” on social media, but don’t interact with 75% of them. It’s all up to personal preference.
I had fallen victim to “dirty laundry” a few times (mainly when I was a teenager & young adult). I realized how stupid it was & regretted it. I no longer do that and I’m definitely a “highlight reel” social media person. I try to avoid conflict so I rarely post anything that would cause it. I did, however, stick up for muslim refugees this past winter & someone unfriended me because I don’t follow the same close-minded mentality. Again, social media isn’t that serious & it’s a shame I couldn’t express my own opinion on the matter without being put down.
I get it. We all have annoyances. But, going back to what I said about social media effecting you mentally, if someone annoys you then simply be an adult & unfollow/unfriend that person. I get annoyed when people post irrelevant kid photos every few hours. I’m not a parent so I don’t know what it feels like, but not once have I put those people down. I simply unfollowed their posts. I can’t stand political shit constantly being posted. I unfollow those people too. I hate bigots. I unfriend these people instead of harassing them or causing conflict. We are all victims to the selfie, but I know a few people who post the same exact selfie (same hair flip, stance, and facial expression) every day. I simply unfollow their posts. These people aren’t “wrong” in what they post & it’s just a direct reflection of me & what I don’t like.
The point is that there’s no need for someone’s social media to effect us mentally. It’s not that serious.