Social Media plays such a huge part in the majority of people’s lives these days. It isn’t just that of the younger generation but even those who grew up without technology and social media outlets.
I was sat at the football on Saturday and a man in at least his 60’s was avidly checking twitter throughout the 90 odd minutes of play. I was surprised to see this and not because of his age but because he seemed to be more engrossed in the tweets than the football match happening in front of his eyes.
I appreciate and acknowledge the versatility of social media platforms and the help that they offer, the buzz that they generate and the news that they provide but is it all good and positive on our health? Is it a true reflection of everyday life?
It is no longer just the millennials or the newer, younger generation after that that use social media these days. And it isn’t all for the sole purpose of posting pictures of all the exciting things you get up to from day to day. Mums to be me and Mum use it for advice, tips and ideas, friends that knew each other at school can now reconnect with one another, artists of all sorts use it to promote their work, individuals use it to share their how to videos, writers use it to promote their literature, football teams use it as a way for their supporters to communicate with one another, celebrities use it to keep their fans up to date with the gossip, fashionistas use it to display the next season trend, news outlets use it to give the breaking news as it happens. The list goes on and on. Even blogs are used as social media platforms.
As helpful and insightful as they are, are we all maybe sharing a little too much of our lives and becoming a little too obsessed with those around us and even those we don’t know, like celebrities? Is what everyone posts on Social Media a true reflection of their lives?
As an individual who suffers with depression and anxiety I can wholeheartedly say that my personal accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are nowhere near a true reflection of my life. Firstly I rarely post on social media especially as of late. Secondly, that what I do post, in particular on Instagram is just a tiny snapshot of a moment where I am smiling for a camera with whoever I may be. The majority of my friends don’t know that I have depression or anxiety and I do a very good job at hiding it. It helps that I don’t see them often. But if you were to look at my social media platforms, bar this blog, you would believe I had the perfect life in a sense: always going to gigs, going out on dates with F, meeting up with friends, going to London, drinking cocktails, always smiling.
But I’m not and that’s not my life at all. They don’t see the moments where I can’t bring myself to get out of bed, the moments I just burst in to tears, the anxiety that I feel at just reading or seeing one little thing, how I over think situations, how at times I feel like giving it all up, how I battle with my weight and binges. They don’t see this because I don’t want them to see this side. I don’t want this side known at all. With social media it is easy to simply post that what we want others to see and believe about our lives.
Even as a keen user of social media platforms, I am often easily fooled into thinking that when my friends or celebrities post these amazing pictures of what they’re up to at that exact moment whilst I am stuck at home feeling crap, is exactly what their life is like, all the time. But it isn’t. They have their own good and bad days like everyone else, like me, but also like me they just post the good. Their lives aren’t perfect all the time.
However, when I sit and look through these posts on twitter, Instagram and Facebook I can’t help but feel even worse about my situation. I’m forever reading that my friends or people I have known over the years are getting engaged, having babies, going out with friends most weekends, getting expensive things, moving house, moving in with their other halves, celebrating a new job or a promotion, a completion of yet another degree, a sporting achievement, a life goal achieved, travelling, family time, private jokes with those around them. I don’t ever have a reason to post things like this. I have been stuck in a dead-end job for the last year and a half and for the past month and a bit I have been on unpaid sick leave. My money is getting scarily low so I can’t afford to travel. I still live at home with my parents. I just about got my 2:1 in my University degree. I’m not that close with my family. I don’t socialise with friends that often, I’m lucky if it is once every couple of months.
So when I see all this over my newsfeed, day in and day out, I can feel the anxiety get harder and harder to ignore as I scroll through each post. I feel the lump in my throat getting bigger as I realise I am not living the life I wanted nor where I am in my life compared to those I know. The depression sets in even heavier. I just feel even worse about myself. I start to believe that I am behind everyone. That everyone else has the perfect, happy life. That everyone has got what they wanted and are where they want to be at that point in their life.
But the truth is, this isn’t the truth. We all, at the end of the day post what we want others to see and we only ever want others to see when we are doing well because no one shows off when they’re doing bad.
When I realised this as a truth, after F kept telling me over and over that Instagram isn’t real life nor a true reflection of those we know, I have vowed to steer myself away from social media platforms and spend a lot less time cruising through them. I don’t need to be sat watching other people live their lives when I should be dealing with my own. I shouldn’t be comparing myself to those around me for we are all different and all have different paths and goals in life. Social media isn’t real life. If anything, those that post continuously on it, I feel sorry for. How can they not just enjoy the moment they are in rather than feeling the need to capture the moment and show everyone just how perfect their life is. Maybe we are all slowly losing touch with reality and our own believes and way of life because of social media. Maybe we are all comparing our lives to one another and thinking that each person has it better than us. Maybe that’s the point of social media: to create illusions of other people’s lives.
Social media is taking up far too much of our time. We share far too much these days and we can do it within an instance. Nothing is a secret anymore. Nothing is unknown. When a good moment happens we all think of how to capture it and share it on these platforms. We care more about what others think of our lives rather than what we think of ours ourselves.
Yes, Social media is great to reacquaint with old friends, get advice, get tips on how to get a wine stain out of a cream carpet, how to create some new arts and crafts fad, help market new products, but it also gives false hope and illusions to all those that follow them. It allows too much scope for us to speculate other’s lives and believe that we as an individual aren’t in the same league as those we follow because we’re stuck at home scrolling through these platforms whilst they’re out being our source of entertainment for the day.
Not Quite Made Girl