Thursday, November 5, 2015

my thoughts on social media

so, if you haven't heard already, instagram superstar essena o'neill has taken a stand against instagram and furthermore, all of social media. (read the full article here
now this one girl's stand against social media has caused quite the uproar in society. is social media as bad and life-sucking as she says it is? or can it be used for positive reasons? is there even a right answer?

what i'm about to post is my personal opinion. you don't have to agree with it, disagree with it, like it, or even read it! this post is solely my thoughts on an issue going on with today's world. i've had experience with social media since 6th grade, and these are my top 5 reasons why i have a problem with it.

1. social media is fake
one of essena's main points is that social media is not real life, and i couldn't agree more. however, we aren't talking about "fake" in the same way. i don't have people shipping me bikinis to sponsor or teas to take pictures of myself drinking to get paid hundreds of dollars, but i do admit that my own social media is not an accurate representation of who i am. first off, i only post pictures that i think are worth posting. i absolutely love taking photographs. my iphoto library is reaching nearly 30,000 photos. you wanna know how many of those photos i've put on instagram? 321. 321 out of 30,000 i choose to show the world. 321 out 30,000 that i think are acceptable to post. i don't post the blurry pictures. or the ones where my stomach is sticking out in my skin tight dress. or the one that my teeth looked yellow in. or the one that made me look pale. or the other 29,000+ that weren't up to par for me. i don't take pictures when i don't get invited to a party. i don't post pictures of myself when i'm crying. i don't post pictures of myself waking up in the morning before i've brushed my teeth. what people portray on social media is their highlight reel. and thats the problem today. when i'm at my lowest, no make up, bad hair day, sitting alone with myself and i check social media because i have nothing else to do, i'm comparing my reality to everyone else's highlight reel. nobody is going to post a picture they look terrible in. nobody is going to admit how many pictures it took to get just the right one. nobody is going to be honest on social media. now people can joke all they want on social media and post sarcastic no make up pictures or pictures they look bad in, but they're doing it because they think it's funny. not because they're actually unhappy with the way they look. a couple of months back, i posted this picture which i've shared before but i'm going to share again.

this was my attempt at showing instagram a glimpse into what i'm really like. people aren't always all done up and have a full face of make up on. social media isn't ever what people think it is, it's a fake profile.

2. social media is an addiction
i'll be the first to admit my addiction to social media. at times, it really takes over my life. don't think it takes over yours? ask yourself a couple of questions. can you go to an exciting event, get all ready and done up, and not think about taking a picture? can you go to a concert and keep your phone in your pocket and just soak up the energy, without looking at the artist through your phone screen? do you wake up in the morning and directly get out of bed and start your day, or do you wake up and look at facebook... check instagram.. tweet? do you find yourself at ease when you don't have your phone in your hand? it's ok if all of these answers no. i know mine sure are. because we are living in a social media obsessed world. if you're not on social media, you're left out. you feel lost. me personally, i would be much more prone to say social media is a good thing if i wasn't so utterly obsessed with it. but i've seen progressively people become more and more attached to it. once you accept that social media is an addiction, it become easier to step away from it for a bit.

3. social media lies to us
this kind of goes hand and hand with my first point, but i wanted to make this one a point of it's own. social media lies to us. every single day. let me show you how it lies to us on a daily basis.
i wake up, i roll over, and check instagram. the first picture i see is a sunrise. "wow, i missed a great sunrise today" i think to myself. and maybe i did. but maybe, just maybe, the picture is edited. and maybe just maybe she took the picture off of a popular website. or maybe she changed the saturation and hue and exposure and contrast to make it look much better than it is. the next picture is of the party i didn't go to last night. "i missed a really fun party last night" i think to myself. but maybe the party wasn't so fun. maybe it got busted by cops. or maybe those 2 people just took a picture to make it seem fun. or maybe they were throwing up the other half of the night. next i see an instagram model sitting on the beach in a bikini. "she's so skinny" i think to myself. i don't know if she's eaten this morning. or if she ate yesterday. or if she photoshopped her waist line. or if she has professional photographers taking hundreds of pictures of her each morning to get one good one. i keep scrolling, because i'm obsessed. next i see a picture of someone holding their bible. "they're such a better christian than i am" i think. they might read the bible for 2 hours a day. or they might pick it up, take a picture of it, and put it back down. they might be going through the hardest thing in their life and depending on God solely to get them through it, or they might be the happiest they've ever been. i can't tell from a single picture. then i see a picture of a celebrity on the red carpet. "they must be so happy" i think to myself. i don't know what they're going through. i don't know if they're battling depression or in debt or struggling to find their next movie. i do know that they had an entire team working on their hair and make up, hours in advance. i know that they have probably undergone some plastic surgery to fix their imperfections. i do know that they have a person that instagrams for them, to find the best picture. i see a picture of a couple kissing "they have the perfect relationship" i think to myself. but maybe they spent the last week fighting and they're on their last straw. or maybe he's cheating on her and she doesn't know it yet. or maybe they get on each other's nerves non-stop. i can comment #goals all i want, but i don't really know them. and then i see a picture of an old friend i've lost touch with, with a ton of new friends. "she's so much better without me" i think to myself. but maybe she's crying every night because she misses me. or maybe she has a lot of acquaintances, but not true friends. and maybe she misses me, but she sees my instagram and think i'm doing fine without her. 
i have all of these negative, self-destructive thoughts before getting out of the bed in the morning. how then, am i supposed to get through the day with a smile on my face?

4. social media puts a numerical value to our worth
for the first time in human history, we are determined by a number. likes. replies. comments. following. posts. comments. followers. pictures. retweets. these are the things that define us nowadays. our social status is determined by what other's think of us. how they rate us on a 1-10 scale. we compare our likes with other people's likes and get discouraged. but let me let everyone in on a little secret- likes are fake. not like what i said earlier. i'm talking literally fake likes. people can actually pay for apps that create accounts to give you more likes from robots. i've seen it being used by half the people i follow on instagram. you can literally download an app, give yourself 100 likes, and feel better about yourself. all the while, knowing they're fake. but other people don't know that half of your likes came from a robot, so you feel good. all of these things- likes, followers, comments are so petty. we don't follow someone back if they don't get enough likes. we don't comment on something if we don't know the person. all we care about is our own numbers, and the sad thing is that we'll never be happy. essena posted a youtube video saying that no matter how many thousands of followers she had, she always wanted more. we're taking about a girl with millions of followers and she still wasn't happy. if she can't be happy, we can't be happy. there's no magic number on social media that's going to make us truly happy. sure, hitting a thousand followers feels good. for a little bit. then you lose a follower. and wonder what you did wrong. then you want more. and more. because numbers cannot make us happy.

5. social media is not tangible
let me explain myself. social media is not a person. or a thing. or a place. it is an online community of people trying to one-up the other. the amount of time that i spend on social media is disgusting. i spend hours a day, scrolling, liking, commenting, posting. i came to this realization over this past summer- what if i spent the same amount of time that i do on social media on something else? if someone came up to me and told me that i had to work on homework for 5 hours a day, 7 days a week, i would tell them it's impossible. yet i do spend this much time on social media every single day. if i spent half the time i do on social media actually speaking to a new person, who knows where my relationships would lead. if i spent time pouring into someone, encouraging them, learning about them, rather than liking their pictures. if i spent a quarter of the time that i do on social media on reading the Bible. ultimately, this was the reason over the summer for deleting my snapchat and twitter. after a while, the excitement of social media will die down and we will be left without it. (whether this happens tomorrow or when we die) and we have to be okay with that. i spend countless hours picking a filter for a picture of a coffee cup to post, when i have an all-knowing creator up in heaven, longing to have a personal relationship with me. God doesn't care how many likes i get, or how many followers i lost that day, or what i posted. God cares about what matters- my heart. what if instead of every morning, tired eyes and groggy mind, i reached for my bible instead of my phone? what if i spent time in silent devotion, instead of silent scrolling? what if i focused on my father in heaven more than i do my followers? likes, posts, followers don't mean anything. Jesus had 12 followers.

all of this to say, i do not believe that social media is morally wrong. it is not a sin to check instagram. however, it is a sin to lust. and more times than not, i'm lusting over pictures. social media has gotten out of control, no doubt. but at the foundation of it, it isn't half bad. you can connect with people from all over the world. you can keep up with old friends. you can share images instantly instead of waiting for film to get developed. you can get many more job oppurtunies from looking on social media. social media has it's perks, there's no denying it. but when you're identifying with it, and obsessing over it, it becomes a problem. don't forget you're more than what you post. you're better than your highlight reel because you're real. you are who you are because of more than your highlight reel. what makes you, you, is your struggles. your laugh. your hobbies. your passion. your inspiration. your loved ones. your personality. your faith. and none of these things can be compressed into a 4x4 instagram photo.

No comments:

Post a Comment