The Social Media Complex
Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram. Tumblr.
These sites of social media have taken over our generation’s lives – for better or for worse (I could argue both sides). We're attached to our phones and laptops, and so many of us are constantly in pursuit of the perfect Insta, a new prof pic or the wittiest Tweet. And often...it feels like a competition - who can get the most likes, the most favorites, the most comments, the most retweets.
Do I love it or hate it?
I am absolutely no exception. My phone is clogged with social media apps, and most of these sites are permanently up as tabs on my internet browser. It doesn't help that my job title is "Social Media and Content Strategist." I admittedly love some aspects of social media - I love feeling connected to people (especially when so many of my friends are scattered around the country), I love seeing snippets of my friends' lives and I love finding new recipes, workouts and travel inspiration. Social media has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and keep up to date on the news too. Not to mention, I love to creep on celebrity and meme accounts. Endlessly entertaining. And...back to the job front: I understand the power of social media for marketing, promotional, storytelling and brand engagement purposes.
But, despite all of these aspects I appreciate, social media so often gives me horrible FOMO and makes me feel pretty crappy about myself. As I scroll through Instagram or Facebook, a good amount of the time I spend in a mental comparison game. Why am I not as skinny as the girls I went to high school with are? Why do my friends post to each other without tagging me? Why are other people's lives so picture perfect? Where does everyone get the money to travel? Why don't I have as many likes as someone else for a picture that was clearly way cooler (to me at least)? Beyond that...I suffer from horrible FOMO even if I'm loving my moment. I could be hanging out at the beach, sipping coffee, surrounded by friends...and I still sit and pine over other friends having a great time without me.
Sounds incredibly conceited and pretty shitty, right? But, there's nothing like social media to make me have a complex about the status of my life, adventures, friends, appearance, relationship status, you name it...
So, despite my appreciation of social media, a large part of me inherently hates it because of this complex that I get from time to time. I know my friends feel it too; it's a conversation that's frequently brought up.
How to Deal
However, as my time (and career) have progressed, I've realized that social media cannot and will not dictate my mood. I can't be sad or angry or upset about things on social media. It just is...there. Of course, everyone paints a happy picture on social media. Most people aren't going to post a really ratchet picture of themselves or showcase the weekends where they sat in bed binging on a new Netflix series. Everyone is putting their best foot forward, so, that's why they get a lot of likes, look skinny and look like they are having the time of their life. It's truly a highlight reel.
Comparison steals happiness, so why bother using my energy? Plus, who cares how many likes I get? My happiness isn't dictated by a number or if the guy I like likes my post or if people comment. We (including myself) need to learn not to care. I'm learning to treat my social media as a digital scrapbook for myself, instead.
And, on the note of FOMO, it'll be okay. Just because I wasn't at one party or missed out on some outing and new inside jokes with my friends, it's not the end of the world. Maybe I was doing something better. And if not, there's going to be more parties and more dinners and more hikes and more hang-outs. I need to learn to embrace my own individual moments and not to simply compare it to what someone else is doing at the same time.
I'm not saying to avoid social media like the plague (trust me: my job requires it), but we (yet again, myself included), need to stop over analyzing every single thing we see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, you name it. And, if you can't handle it and keep comparing your social media life to the point of diminishing your enjoyment of your own life, then take a break from checking Facebook and Insta. It's really not worth the stress. Fight the complex.