An App Away From Reality

Social Media Has Become the Best and Worst Part of Our Lives

Graphic May Newland

“I am so much cooler online.”

These six words describes the lives of many social media users. It has steadily become the place to post the best version of ourselves. We have become a customer service unit that aims to please and tries hard to deliver. But at what cost?

Social media is like that weird family member that visits once in a while during the holiday with a bag full of surprises. May it be stories, wild behaviour, or unusual information on certain family members, you definitely enjoy their company, yet deep down, you know the longer you allow their presence, the sooner the magic wears off.

That is what social media has been for me. Fun, full of new discoveries, and new friends, yet also exhausting and full of toxic information, post and photos I wish I could unsee. It is a rollercoaster ride.

“Disillusioned” by the band A Perfect Circle summed it best, “addicts of the immediate keep us obedient and unaware.” The fear of being left in the dark motivates the majority to seek out their phones and click on those apps to sooth our curiosity. It feeds our boring lives while creating anxiety of the unknown. How many times have we checked our phones in class or at work in the pretense of checking the time? Or to keep tabs on the people we follow and admire the lives those we follow are living and the people they are becoming, all while subtly loathing our own lives?

Social media is exhausting for various reasons. It takes our attention from the things that matter the most, and manages to top our list when it comes to priorities. It can make us evaluate our lives in the most unrealistic way possible, thinking that we are failures because we have not attained what our peers have seemingly achieved. We forget that everyone puts their best face online. Everyone seems to have it all figured out, but the truth is they don’t.

We have created this preconceived notion that we are one like, repost, share, and comment away from a satisfied perfection. The need to have validation from others. Why should a post be lacking if it does not get a certain number of likes or comments? The internet is brutal that way. We turn to social media as a way to escape our harsh reality, only to find an even harsher atmosphere there. Nonetheless, we can’t keep away. We try to escape from our harsh reality, but there is a harsher atmosphere on social media, yet we can’t keep away. I can’t keep away, either.

Social media has affected me in a way that I do not give enough credit to myself for my accomplishments, and I know many peers that suffer from imposter syndrome. They downplay their efforts, and elevate those of others. When they accomplish something, they consider it as normal, nothing special, and especially they believe it is by luck. This thinking is dangerous, because it can lead to burnout, and make those that experience it to put so much more pressure on themselves.

That being said, there are many advantages to social media, such as the latest news. As a journalism student, it keeps me updated on little events that happen around the globe that might not make the news, and it also offers different perspectives on controversial issues. Social media helps to connect business minded people in a way that is useful to them. I am a model, and I get to work with various photographers and audition for different fashion shows, all thanks to social media. It can be used as a platform to promote oneself, and to bring awareness to your talents or discover the talents of others in a wide variety of fields.

There are two sides to every coin. Social media has its many disadvantages, such as mostly being a toxic environment, but it is advantageous in the way it brings like-minded people together. I try to focus on the positive side of social media, and not use it too often so that the magic of the Internet doesn’t wear off.