I could easily write the popular opinion here — and in part, I will — that social media is a positive influence on our society.
But while it’s easier to agree with the majority, what is news without digging deeper and uncovering the full truth?
Todd Robinson said, “Everything has a cause, and every cause an effect. We can either investigate the cause, or blindly react to the effect.”
What’s important to realize, is the level of control — or maybe lack-there-of — we have over the habits we develop, and how our mind, body, and character is changed because of them.
Whether you’d call yourself a social media addict or you haven’t checked your Snapchat in over a month, you are affected by the time you spend locking eyes with your phone screen and a great lack of self-awareness will end up being detrimental to your health.
A feed composed of skinnier bodies and more lavish lifestyles can be entertaining, but an easy way to produce jealousy without remembering that you are not comparable. You are unique.
To be human means living in multiple realities. You might immerse yourself in a fictional novel where princesses fight dragons, and lions and mice become friends; or, like many, you live in a social media reality — one that allows you to exist outside the tangible aspects of real life, while remaining present within your own experiences.
But an hour scrolling anxiously through Instagram, is an hour enveloped in a sea of other people’s minds, each one performing their lives for the world. We edit out or add a filter to what doesn’t fit the mold, to willingly become another example of societal standards and a desired aesthetic.
About a year ago I decided to create a private account — a finsta if you will — limited to a select list of my friends and acquaintances who I deemed worthy to see my “true self”. You know, candid pictures, memes, and awkward selfies. It was an honest attempt to rid some of the stress social media had on my life and to be able to post without constantly worrying about creating the illusion of a glamorous life. I was left disappointed. . . searching for an identity that I’d lost in yet another character I chose to play.
I still found myself competing; questioning my originality and the shareability of my own life.
The truth is, this exhausting illusion of perfectionism and flawlessness is one we have created ourselves. We continue to let a filter, a follower count, or a number of likes rule our world.
When used for a greater good, social media can be a platform for activism, professional influence, and sharing the best moments of life.
So is there a way? Can we exist on social media without falling prisoner to mental habits? I say we can, and for my fellow highly strung peers – I’m telling you that something has to give.