Are we ruled by social media? Is our life determined by the ratio of followers to likes? Has the fear of missing out been made worse by social media platforms?
These questions are what people love to dissect and expand upon. Often, we come to the same conclusion: Social media is damaging and bad, but it’s too addictive to give it up. I mean, come on, what else am I gonna do in a mile-long line for Starbucks?
Sharing experiences is part of human nature. When you think about it, how long has storytelling been around? How long have we spent trying to condense these stories? Forever and a day, at least.
We use platforms to tell each other stories, no matter what the frequency. An update in a photograph: “Hey! I went to the Grove with my friends and went to this tent,” without so many words. Its caption may even just be, “Hotty Toddy!”
I like to think of social media as public photo albums that on which people give assurance and commentary. The quality of the picture warrants the amount of validation and commentary the person receives. The better and more adventurous the story, the more of an increase in the assurance, as well.
Here’s the real question: do we actually enjoy it?
To put it simply, kind of. I think there are good feelings and shared experiences over the widespread use of social media, but I also understand that it leads to increased stress and anxiety over inclusion.
Y’all must hear it everywhere. “Social media is damaging to mental health.” The pressure to stay relevant and keep up with new trends and news is exhausting. Fads are in, and the next day, they’re out. Or, maybe there’s a new part to the trend.
How many people have entered the public eye and left it just as quickly on platforms like Instagram or Twitter? How many YouTubers did you use to watch, and then one day, just never went back to?
I can tell you personally that I haven’t watched Jenna Marbles in years.
On a smaller scale, though, how do we try to stay relevant? What does that look like for us?
It looks like who and what we follow. What we post. It’s the content we produce and what kind of reaction it gets. Maybe there’s a running tally in the back of our heads with the average likes we receive, which pictures get more likes than others and how many people actually follow us.
Y’all, I cannot say that I have absolutely tuned out social media because I think it’s an important part of our world today. There is so much influence at our fingertips. I think we shouldn’t put as much pressure on how relevant we are on Instagram or Twitter.
In short, post as many pictures of your coffee as you want, share your favorite picture of you and your friends and don’t worry about how many people follow you.