The Toxic Reality of Social Media Addiction
Hi, my name is Jackie, and I am a social media addict.
8th Grade Myspace Jackie
Who are my top friends going to be?
I hope my profile isn't embarrassing...
Gosh. Why can't I take a good enough picture of myself for my profile?
High School Facebook Jackie
I feel so popular. I have over 500 friends!
I have to post these pictures from our group hangout as soon as I get home.
I'm so angry at him! I'm going to make a post where he knows it's directed at him.
College Facebook and Twitter Jackie
I can't believe they posted that picture of me! So embarrassing!
Why did they tag everyone else to that picture and not me?
I hope the people I went to high school with see how much cooler I am now.
Their relationship looks so perfect....
I can't believe she posted that picture of herself. She needs to stop.
They always have the nicest things...How can they afford it?
Why am I doing this? What is the point? I literally just deleted a status on Facebook because it didn't get any likes within the past twenty-four hours.
This was my wake up call.
Wake Up and Smell the Vanity
Social media is toxic and what my coworker has referred to as, "a sin". Social media is no longer a platform for you to share your genuine thoughts with the world. A large amount of its users are there for three reasons: to brag, to judge, or to envy.
1. The Bragger
I genuinely feel sorry for these people. I have known some of these people on a personal level in the past, and it has really opened my eyes to others who share the same behaviors. You probably have noticed the following from these "happy" people:
- Picture of a big house.
- Pictures of frequent expensive vacations.
- Picture of an extravagant proposal with a big ring.
- Picture of a large friend group hanging out on yet another weekend getaway.
- Picture and long post of how much they love their significant other and how perfect their relationship is.
NEWSFLASH...IT IS ALL A LIE! I do not like to make generalizations, so I will say that not every single person who does this puts on a facade. However, the vast majority of people do. These people have an agenda and it is to target specific people on their social media: an old friend or an ex is usually the case. I have personally witnessed what goes on behind the camera with these kind of people, and it is baffling. They plot out every pose and every caption thoroughly; it looks exhausting. Then, they will check their phones every minute to see who has viewed the post or how many people have liked it. They become obsessed and completely consumed with the virtual world they live in.
My wish for these people is that they would live in the moment. They are so consumed with what other people think, that they create more drama for themselves and are not creating genuine memories with the people they love.
2. The Judger
Why would they post that?
What were they thinking?
Ugh..they are being so extra.
Why are they wearing that?
This act can turn people into someone that they are not. It is a human flaw for us to look at people in a negative way that have strong opposing morals of our own. Social media unfortunately emphasizes this flaw.
The people who show this behavior the worst can turn it into a form of cyber bullying. It pains me to see users making rude comments on other people's posts just because they have a screen to hide behind. These people can also go to the extreme of stalking a certain user's profile just to make fun of them with their friends. This is not what social media was created for, and it needs to stop.
3. The Envier
She is so pretty...
She is so skinny...
I want a house like theirs...
They are the definition of relationship goals. When am I going to have that chance?
I never can get that many likes on a picture...
I wish I could afford all of those nice things...
I have read articles in the past that linked depression to social media, and I believe envy is the main cause. We all want what we cannot have. Social media is a gold mine of things we wish we could have. It is not just the users that are making this true; it is the structure as well. There are viral videos showing the “perfect” relationship. There are groups you can join that promote travel or a “healthy” lifestyle. There are endless ads to convince someone of your age that you need the most popular item on the market. This can make people be over critical of themsleves and the life they are choosing to live. I think our society is finally starting to realize this though. More users are starting to promote self confidence, and how they are happy with their life because it is their journey and no one else’s. Everyone is different, and everyone has a different path to achieve their goals. Never forget that.
A Small Dosage of Social Media
I am not saying to get rid of social media entirely, but using it in small dosages can increase your happiness. I used to have and use frequently a Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Once I came to the realization of what it was doing to me, I knew I had to limit my time. Now, I only use Facebook, and I have the notifications turned off on my phone. Turning off the notifications makes me feel less pressured to look at it. The moment I did it, it felt like a huge burden was lifted from my shoulders. I have never been much of a bragger, but I most certainly am still guilty of being judgey and envious; I am only human. However, I have made the choice to moderately disconnect myself and check it whenever I feel necessary. I challenge you to do this for a few days. If you are quick to say, "no," then I ask you this: Why would you turn down a challenge that could potentially increase your happiness and help you live a less stressful life?