Is Social Media Helping Us or Hurting Us?

Some late night musings I wanted to share about the power and problems of social media. I originally posted this on Instagram with a way too long description, so I thought it more appropriate to share here. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, particularly from my fellow introverts.

 

This video by young Insta-star, Essena O’Neill, went viral a couple of weeks ago when she declared that she is quitting social media because of the negative consequences it has on viewers who think that their lives should look like this. It got me thinking.

 

Since when has it become easier to talk to friends online than in person? What does that mean about the connections we are making? The book, Quiet, by Susan Cain taught me that social media and online communication may be beneficial to people like me who are introverted and shy, because we feel safer behind this invisible barrier. We have the time to collect and organize our thoughts instead of being put on the spot in a face to face conversation. I find this to be incredibly true. And, as strange as it sounds, I often feel like I am more me and less like someone who’s trying to act like me when I’m communicating through writing or digital means. But recently I am seeing all these people declare (on Instagram and social media,  ironically) that Instagram life isn’t real life. So, which is it then? How can this be my fake life but the true me? I’m not sure of the answer.

 

I think it’s something about photography that seems to lie, whereas writing that description, that blog post, that status update almost always sounds genuine. Even art feels… truthful. It’s  funny how in a way the most accurate depiction of real life is the one that feels the most fake. Maybe because these pictures are missing the story behind them.

 

This featured picture is one of my happiest memories from 2014. I was at Invisible Children’s Fourth Estate Retreat. But what isn’t shown is the horrible terror I have of flying and how this trip multipled it tenfold. The anxiety and panic attacks I was struggling with at the time, and the health issues I was having, preventing me from really feeling “there”. Not to mention the “slimming” slip I wore under my dress that I thought I needed to look good felt like it was squeezing every ounce of life and oxygen out of me. Does that make the picture different? To me it does. It makes it all that more special. But to you all… I don’t know. I just feel like I’m complaining. The ugly stuff, the boring stuff, the sad stuff-it’s important. But I would never want to burden others with these things. We shouldn’t forget that it exists just because celebrities don’t advertise it to thousands of strangers each day. We are more than our photographs.

 

Stay thoughtful. Stay true.
-B