The Ugly Side of Social Media
Communication in the 21st Century
As the world continues to evolve in the endless cycle of new technology and discoveries, a game of cat and mouse begins to engulf the future generations. It is hard to comprehend how so many suffer from depression and anxiety when one has the capability to alter their life course with one viral video, revolutionary app, or outstanding idea. Our rapid pace world has created dreams that only cause anguish when reality strikes. The truth of the matter is, millions of young college educated adults face an inadequate job market and a growing social sphere of influence to remind them that they are falling behind the curve. One cannot escape the successes of past classmates without comparing to their own situation. Social media has brought the world closer together and is ever evolving, but at what price? Now it seems the impact of social media starts before one is a teenager and has different consequences throughout your life.
Facebook and Twitter are frequently at the centerfold of a cyber-bullying incident gone horribly wrong. Young teens attempt to impress their peers in any way possible, not realizing the online imprint they will leave behind for years to come. Progressing to college, students experience an extraordinary amount of freedom with little bounds, but their actions are more easily discovered through social media. Past generations experienced college in similar ways, but with little paper trail to follow.
Our life stories are captured by Facebook’s timeline and Twitter feeds, but what about those less appealing years. We have all experienced them. A time in our life, no matter what the reason was, we feel alienated and alone and hope someone answers your subtle, or not so subtle, cries for help. It was hard enough to escape that dark period of your life, but now it will forever be imprinted in Facebooks ever-growing database. We all hope we never have to explain to our future children why we acted out in such a way, but there is not telling how accessible all of this information will be in the future.
The impact of social media isn’t restricted by what we post either. The unhealthy habit of “Facebook Stalking” keeps us intertwined in the lives of hundreds of people, many of which we haven’t had a personal conversation with in years. If it is not the ex-girlfriend, it is the successful classmate, or happy newlyweds. Suddenly one feels their life is nothing compared to these life changing experiences of others. The fact of the matter is we do not actually know how one’s life is, but we assume they are fantastic and anxiety begins to build. Young adults are too connected to the lives of others. One ignores their own amazing experiences and quickly envies those on their newsfeed, meanwhile their friends get jealous over your recent trip to visit family in California or promotion that may or may not be as big of a deal as we think.
This endless cycle not only creates a gloomy overcast that can weigh one down for weeks, but impacts those closest to you. Parents wonder where they failed and how their child became so depressed. They continue to support all your decisions, for good and bad, but it seems the failed attempts don’t even get a blip on your radar. For those strong enough to look past their depression, life always improves, but for some the burden is too much. Suicide has been an issue in America for many years and we have only seen the beginning due to the exposure the internet can bring to one’s life. Sadly, no answers can come out of this article. There is only hope and a guiding hand to lift someone up and inform them that they are not alone. Next time you envy another’s life, go back to your timeline and reminisce about your great times because we all do have them from time to time.