Social media sites were created for one reason only: helping us to be social with others and connecting on a level that we weren't able to do so before. Though this might come as a shock to many people, once upon a time there was actually a day and age when social media didn't actually exist. People communicated naturally, the way humans were initially meant to communicate.
Social media platforms were given to us as something extra, to help take human interaction and communication to the next level. They allow us to connect with people from anywhere in the world on a level that wasn't even possible about 15 years ago. And so, social media sites are great for what they were intended to be: a means of connecting with people you normally wouldn't be able to (unless you picked up the phone and dialed them). We are the social generation, we are the ones who decided to forgo our privacy and put our lives on display for people we consider "friends," so that we can say we are connected to the world.
By doing so, we have also committed the crime of being a society that loves to procrastinate on social media and constantly observe what is going on with the people we decide to call our "friends" -- all 900 of them that we have amassed through the course of the past 6 years. Social media platforms have become so ingrained in our lives for one of two reasons. The first is that they have put on display how nosy we really are nowadays. The thought of minding your own business doesn't really exist anymore.
Everyone’s business is your business, and vice versa. According to CNBC, the U.S. spends more than 121 billion minutes on social media sites in just one month. The average time spent on Facebook a month is 7 hours, and that is on the low end with most people sitting on there for hours upon hours of the day, scrolling through the feed constantly. When you really think about it, social media sites are just one, big blur; when was the last time you actually had a memorable experience on any of these sites? Probably never -- because there are no memorable experiences to have on social media.
The second reason why social media platforms are so big in our lives is because we have decided to allow them to be. We constantly feed them information and have others do the same so that our nosy selves can constantly keep checking on what is going on -- creating the new epidemic of FOMO, which is of course the fear of missing out.
What has resulted will be known as the thirsty phase of social media. We are currently at a point in time where our social media skills have evolved to such supremacy, far beyond seeing who can upload and tag a photo faster, to the point that we are living our lives around the idea that each action we complete will be documented on these sites -- just so that our behavior will be approved by our bevy of “friends.”
This is something that I have been seeing in spurts here and there and it seems to be a rising phenomenon. What truly made me realize the epidemic is this past Father’s Day. Father’s Day is a day where you spend time with your father and cherish the relationship that you have with him. I assure you that this holiday was not put in place so that we can all upload photos of our dads and write subliminal messages about how great of fathers they are and how much we love them.
I get it, everyone was trying to go for son/daughter of the year, but did it ever occur to you that your dad isn’t going to be seeing this social media post and that looking for attention from your friends because you decided to picstitch a photo and upload it is not what Father’s Day is all about?
It’s quite simple: people have become thirsty for attention. Social media sites have become a competition for people’s approval-seeking actions. Everyone knows that bitches like likes, retweets or comments. It makes them feel like someone cares. The sad part is, men are bitches too -- so that statement holds true for both genders and not just one. I have seen girls jump up and down when they get a retweet from someone they have never met and I have seen men force their friends to like their Instagram photos to get it into the double digit range because it is unacceptable to have fewer than 10 likes on a photo.
The truth of the matter is no one gives a flying f*ck. No one cares that you just had an "epic workout" as you described, no one cares about how much you claim you and your father have such a great relationship that all he deserves is an Instagram filter and a shoutout, no one cares about what you ate -- and I truly assure you that no one cares about how great you think you look in your selfie, you’re about 10 years too late on the Myspace boat.
My question to society is: when did we become so insecure that we ignite our actions based on how much attention we will get from them on our social media channels? You see it all the time, in every feed. People showing off about their workout when this is probably the first time they have worked out in about a month. People showing off about one good deed they have done in their lives. People showing off about how hard they worked today when they don't even know what hard work is. The even sadder question is: why do people even care about what the hell these desperate people are doing?
This approval-seeking behavior will be the death of our generation if we allow it to be. One of my favorite lines from the classic movie "A Bronx Tale" was when Sonny explained to his protégé about his idol: "Mickey Mantle? That's what you're upset about? Mantle makes $100,000 a year. How much does your father make? If your dad ever can't pay the rent and needs money, go ask Mickey Mantle. See what happens. Mickey Mantle don't care about you. Why care about him?"
That is the very approach I take to social media, I could give zero f*cks about what anyone else has going on in their lives because by no means does it benefit me. All of social media has become a competition of who can fake living happiest the best. That is not what social media sites were supposed to be about, they were meant as a means of communication, not a popularity contest based off an artificial life no one lives.
The thirst is real. Our talents of being so nosy and constantly worrying about what others are doing, as well as worrying about how we are going to impress others so we can all look like idiots together have taken away from what we really need to focus on in life: ourselves. The next time you are on social media, ask yourself this very question: how will stalking other peoples’ lives and listening to their opinions or seeking their approval truly benefit you in your life? The answer to that question is: not at all. It has no authority to do so, all it does is trap you into becoming just as thirsty and as hungry as everyone else.
It’s your life, it’s your actions and they should be inspired by what you actually want to do, not what you want to show the world that you are doing. I commend you if you were one of those very few people who decided you didn't need a social media shoutout to dad and actually put the phone down for a day and gave him half of your undivided-ADD- attention. Stop caring about others, the only reason techies are so nosey is because they are looking for some sort of fulfillment in their lives that is currently missing. I hope Facebook has a lot of water in its well, because the thirst is real out there.