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The Social Media Facade

I think at this point in our lives, most of us can say that we use some form of social media platform on the reg.

For me, it’s Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat [although, to be honest, I mostly have the Snapchat app for the wide screen camera], of which my FB and SC are both private. In my mind, they seem to be a little bit more intimate forms of social media, so I don’t feel the need to allow just anybody to snoop in on my life. Instagram, however, is another story.

Instagram, like Twitter, has become a place for advertising and professional growth. People use it to boost their products and get their names out there. You’re limited on the amount of words and hashtags you can use in a post, which, if a reader is intrigued by a post, leaves opportunity for the poster to then direct the reader to a blog or website. And, with the recent implementation of a Snapchat-like function, and the brand new update which allows users to add multiple photos to one post, it has really opened a lot of doors for people out there who are trying to make themselves better known.

I don’t tend to post a lot of personal ish on IG. I post photos of my family, my dog, my friends and my boyfriend, and that’s it. I don’t post political opinions, or any opinions at all, for that matter. I do upload the occasional selfie – and that’s generally because my hair looks good or my make up was flawless. In short – I am not posting selfies [or any of my photos] for the likes. I’m posting them for the memories associated with them. I’d like to think that’s why most of the general public uses Instagram, but it’s not.

The invention of social media has brought many positives, but it has also produced some negatives. Celebs, public figures, athletes, etc. are so much more accessible than they used to be. We can easily see their day-to-day lives just by typing their name into a search engine. The onslaught of dysmorphia and eating disorders brought on by seeing “perfect” humans online every day has heavily increased. More and more of us feel insecure with ourselves and in relationships because everybody follows the lives of people we feel are better looking than we are. It’s easier to stay intertwined in the lives of of exes and people we no longer associate with. We see what’s happening in their lives and it makes us feel bad about ours. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, and it absolutely needs to stop.

Social Media Facade Number 1: women who post “selfies” that are heavy on the cleavage are not secure with who they are. You should not be jealous of them. [Or, on the flipside, chiseled men who post “just outta the shower” selfies – come onnnnnnnn]. You know why they got a lot of likes on that photo? Because their tits are out. Ain’t nobody lookin’ at that face. Women who post pictures like that are insecure – they rely on how many likes and comments they get to feel better about themselves. But the people who respond to that photo are generally men who think it’ll be easy to nail that girl [which, sadly, it probably will be]. Don’t diminish your integrity for likes! You know your self worth, and that’s what matters.

Social Media Facade Number 2: people’s lives are not as perfect as they make them out to be! Oh my gawd I cannot stress this enough. I follow so many fashion and lifestyle bloggers on Instagram – it is their literal job to make it look like they are always put together; that their homes are pristine. GET REAL. All of them have children and pets – you know that white couch doesn’t stay white! And no, none of those people go to bed with their make up on or their hair done. The other day, one of these women had her baby, and she had clearly had a planned c-section and a complete makeover before she went into the hospital, because there wasn’t a single hair out of place, nor even a tiny glistening of sweat on her forehead [sidenote, I am totally not knocking c-sections, I’m 100% aware that they are necessary in the healthy delivery of a baby]. But, you guys, this woman was in the hospital with her newborn – the only reason she looked as good as she did was because that ish was going on her IG feed. Another example: I gal I know personally has been trying to gain IG celeb status over the course of the last year. She has repeatedly posted little zoomed in snippets on their decor for their new “dream home.” She gets hundreds of likes and comments from people – Ohhhh that’s going to look so good! But every once in a while, she will post something that shows that they clearly have no furnishings in their home at all [this person also claims to have a job that she obviously doesn’t have]. Case in point: don’t believe everything you see or read on Instagram.

Social Media Facade Number 3: people who make a point of constantly talking and posting about how great their lives are, are probably overcompensating. If you have to work that hard to prove to random strangers that your life is awesome, then it begs the question: Who are you actually trying to convince? Other people, or, rather, yourself?

Here’s my little tip to all of you – unfollow all the shit that makes you feel bad. I follow the fashionistas because I like their style. I rarely read the blurbs they write below their photos. I remove people from my friends lists who comment negative things or take semi-naked selfies. I follow profiles that feature puppies, beautiful or cool photos and people I like and know. While social media can be a bit of a hoax, it luckily gives you the freedom to pick and choose who and what you want to be associated with.

So go on with your bad self – post that conservative cardigan sweater selfie.

Breaking Up With Technology

Seven days ago I made the decision to purge my life of social media. Actually, let me rephrase. A week ago I cleansed my phone, my iPad, and my computers of all sites and apps social media related.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. If I got rid of all my social media then why the heck am I posting on my blog? Isn’t this considered social media?

Okay, yeah.. I guess it probably is. But for me this is more of a public journal than anything else. If there was a way for me to hand write my thoughts and instantly share them with the world, then I’d be all over it. This is the next best thing.

When I decided to take a break from the technologically connected world, it wasn’t because of some “New Year’s Resolution.” If that was the case, I would have started this on January first. No, the initial reason I did this was because I caught myself unconsciously reaching for my phone every two minutes to check the same three apps to see if anything new and worthwhile was happening in the social media world. And the fact that it had become almost a second nature or a habit that I wasn’t even consciously aware of irked the hell out of me. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it had become somewhat of an addiction. Had I gotten any new likes? Comments? Had anybody significant viewed my Snapchat story? GOOD GOD, SARAH. GET FUCKING REAL.

Another reason I deleted my apps, which I am not ashamed to admit, is that I had turned social media into my way to stalk the hell out of people [I mean, c’mon, I’m a female. If you haven’t figured out by now that we’re all detectives, then you’ve been living under a very large rock inside a very tiny bubble]. Oh, you have an ex-girlfriend? Oh, she’s actually still your girlfriend? Oh, you did what last night with who? Why wasn’t I invited? UGH. And then agonizing over the knowledge I’d obtained and wondering why I couldn’t just have the effing willpower to keep my mind otherwise occupied. Yup, guilty. And, yeah, it’s damned stupid that I have to remove the apps to physically keep myself from checking up on folks, but, hey, we all have to start somewhere.

And on the flip side of that, drama was starting because of things that I’d been posting. Even removing unwanted followers [read: ex-boyfriends] from your apps doesn’t keep them from finding out what you’re doing and bombarding you in one way or another with petty drama and arguments. So, fine, if I’m not posting anything at all then nobody can run and tattle on me like a bunch of seven-year-olds. Yes, people. This is what our world has come to. I’m almost 29 and these are the sort of things I am forced to spend my days ducking and dodging. And honestly, who really has the time and energy for that?

My final reason for disentangling myself from the cyber world was because I wanted to focus less on the fake life I was attempting to portray to the world, and more on the real life that goes on behind it. The problem with social media is that we actively choose what we want the rest of the world to see. Filtered photos, ten-second snippets, status updates.. It’s all put out there because we want people to see it. It’s never anything we’re ashamed of. Nothing we show ever reflects a bad moment or memory. And if it does, it’s because we’re trying to portray some message from some almighty pedestal. “Look what I did, but I learned from it and I’ve grown from it and now I’m a badass bitch.” If you follow my blog then you know that I, myself, am guilty of this. Even now, in this post.. “Well look at me purging social media from my life. I’m freaking awesome.” Whoop-de-fucking-doo, amiright?

But seriously, guys. I wanted to start focusing my energy on more positive things. More real life stuff. Like the people I talk to and see every day – my family and friends. The people who I support and love and who equally reciprocate. My dog, who probably wonders what the heck I’m doing half the time when I’m constantly snapping photos and videos of her for Snapchat and Instagram. I want to buy a house this year. And instead of scrolling through social media feeds, I can house hunt. Instead of checking to see how many likes and comments I got on something I posted, I can study for my broker’s license so that I can further myself in my career. These are the things that I want to concentrate on. The things that I should have been concentrating on all along.

I am not, by any means, saying that social media is bad. Facebook, for example, keeps me connected with my mom’s side of the family, who just happen to be scattered all over the continental U.S [and actually a cousin who is now in Japan]. Aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, grandparents, great aunts and uncles.. They’re all on there and we all stay in touch because of Facebook. A lot of people use Facebook as a way to stay updated with news stories and current affairs. BUT, on the other hand, I believe that it’s vitally important, especially in this day and age, that we begin to limit ourselves with social media. Limit our daily usage. Limit what we post and how often we check to see the response on it.

Like I said, I am only a week into this thing. I didn’t set a timeline for myself or a goal to see how long I could go without social media. I just wanted to take a break. And however long I go, well.. Only time will tell.