Article in Brief: The author looks at how people are allowing social media to take over their lives through its incessant use and reliance for acceptance and validation.
Social media is at an all time high. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, people are glued to their social network accounts day in and day out. It’s this virtual world where people build a social persona that allows them to project themselves the way they want to be seen. Social media has become more than just a tool to connect with people, it’s a way to make up for what people may lack in the real world.
It has given way for people to seek attention and gain the approval from others. People upload photos of themselves when they are at their best in an attempt to boost their self-esteem. They get to validate themselves by checking how many comments or “likes” they get. This phenomenon has gained so much popularity and is where the term “selfie” comes in. The rise of the selfie has brought on a number of problems with it too. Many people have become so desperate to fit into the online culture of posting the best selfies that not being able to capture the right shot has brought about depression and a sense of worthlessness to some.
This obsession with people’s online presence needs to be curbed before it spirals further down. It is not only the selfie which is the problem but the fact that some people compare their lives against those presented on social media without realizing that the majority only portray their best self online. Social media is another form of added peer pressure that goes beyond the adolescence years. People of all ages remain connected at all times which can bring on a form of addiction – a dependence on social acceptance and constant approval from those around them.
However, social media doesn’t have to be all bad if used properly. It is important to remember that social media is about staying connected to friends and family, and enjoying it rather than adding it as another form of stress in an already challenging world. Through social media, one doesn’t need to feel the distance created when a loved one lives far away as people still get to share their lives and precious moments online through family photos and updates.
However, it’s important to realize that the virtual world needs to be the same as the real one, wherein we cherish the things we have and see other people for who they are. Everyone comes with a set of successes and failures and just because the successes are displayed online, it doesn’t mean that the person does not have any shortcomings or down days. It’s imperative to maintain control over the use of social media and to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not.
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.