When people think of social media, it’s thought of as a revolutionary innovation that allows us to post photos, tell people how we feel or catch up with friends.
Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong.
The problem social media platforms have given us is we hide behind screens, allowing others to judge us for the lives we want them to think we have, the lives we portray online.
It’s easy enough to do. Why would you post a photo of yourself you think is unattractive?
Or, even worse, post a photo of you and your friends engaging in an activity you don’t need all 500 of your followers to see? (I’m referring to all of you Mickey-Mouse-hugging fans at Disneyland this summer.)
There are two reasons why social media accounts further our ability to behave less genuinely than we do in person. The first reason, which I discussed above, is easy enough to spot.
The second reason is hard to realize about ourselves, and here’s where it gets all too real: The more you involve yourself with social media, the more you might grasp the fact that you have less tolerance for people.
That’s when it hits you: The people we hate continue to live on our feeds, and the sad part is, we let them.
When they begin to “like” and “comment” on our photos, can we trust they truly like what we’re giving them, or they want us to do the favor back.
I’ve had friends discuss how they hate the presence of a certain person in their lives, but when I’ve logged on to some apps, I can see which photos they’ve liked and commented on.
Then I get a screenshot of that same photo, with a text saying how much they want to destroy the good times this person is having in their photo, who just happened to get 100 more likes than this friend.
It’s all a little too much of a coincidence.
If we don’t want people to live on throughout the stories of our feeds, why do we allow them to gain insight to our personal information and everyday endeavours?
Maybe it’s because we want to prove something. We want to show our friends that even though our lives probably aren’t as interesting in real life, maybe we can create something cool online, instead.
Social media is a world. We live through our screens, and many of us feel the need to pretend to do and have whatever we want and wish for.
It’s the only place we can escape the realities we portray to our friends and family. Most of us are guilty of this, but we shouldn’t be.
The world was easier when we didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. We certainly shouldn’t nowadays, anyway.
Social media should be a way to share with your friends how you live, without fear of judgment.
Why can’t we take photos of ourselves shaving our dogs, or put up selfies with wet hair? Maybe it’s also because we want people to think we’re secure, when in reality, we might not be.
If others can look at our photos positively and think we have great lives, then maybe we can too.
We don’t want our friends to think we’re lonely, so we post photos and statuses that show how much fun we can have. We don’t want anyone to know we eat a lot, so we post photos of artsy salads.
Social media skews our perception of reality. Being face-to-face with someone is suddenly a change from viewing him or her through a screen.
It’s different, and we’re faced with the shock of good old-fashioned communication.
Plus, we don’t go around “liking” each other’s thoughts out loud, but we seem to think it’s okay to press a button and praise a friend’s status about the anticipation of her unborn baby, or his long wait at the DMV.
Do we really care?
You probably become skeptical at the thought of 110 people coming over to you on the street to let you know they did, indeed, love the photo of your new dog chasing a ball for the first time.
If you filter out who you know is fake, kudos to you. To a lot of social media users, it’s easier to be accommodating and sweet through an app.
Most of us don’t have perfect lives. So why say otherwise online? Maybe because that’s the fun of it too.