Saturday, August 20, 2016

If You Didn't Post in on Social Media, Did it Really Happen?

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of social media lately and what it has become. If you didn't already know, I recently traveled to China with a summer program. Due to the lack of wifi, I was rather inactive about my trip. There was nothing on my Snapchat story and only a few posts on Instagram and Twitter, especially for my personal Instagram account. The thing is that Snapchat has recently become a place where you update people on your daily life, especially those more exciting moments, like concerts, vacations, outings with friends, kind of to say that "Hi, I'm doing fun things with my life." I felt such a strong need to post things on my Snapchat story to let people know that I was having fun. But do you really need to post something to prove that you're having fun?


I found that some of my best moments happened when I put down my phone and didn't think about social media or what other people were doing. I didn't need to document it in order to have more fun, in fact, I had even more fun without documenting it. It was like I was careless, I would be able to focus all of my energy on whatever I was doing instead of worrying about other things. I didn't have to whip out my phone and get the best lighting angle for my Snapchats. I didn't have to think about what witty tweet I would create to capture the mood of the party. The best moments can happen when you're not even thinking about social media. Maybe the day after you won't have an amazing Instagram picture to share, but instead you have your own memories. They're memories so personal that you have to say to people, "you should have been there," because there was no other way to capture that moment. So why do we feel so compelled to share our moments with others on social media?

I think that the biggest influence is jealousy for other people. It's like the comparison trap or the fear of missing out. All the time on Snapchat and other social media, we see snippets of people having fun. Often, the times that we flip through people's Snapchat stories, they're the times that we're sitting at home, doing nothing interesting. We don't check social media when we're having fun, we check it when we have nothing else to do. At this moment, we're at a vulnerable point for the fear of missing out. The envy and jealous attacks us, causing us to feel sadness as we watch our friends and acquaintances enjoying parties and social events (that we weren't invited to) as we sit at home, not doing much with our own lives.
Because of this envy, we feel a need to show off whenever we do have the chance to attend a social event. It's essentially gloating or boasting about our social lives, after all, they don't call it social media for nothing. It's like saying to the world, "Hi! I have friends!" or "I'm having more fun than you!" It's a casual announcement to everyone else that you were invited to a big party or that you went to a concert, but it's much more socially acceptable than yelling it out loud in the middle of a crowded room. We often use social media in order to boast about our lives, so we only post the best moments.
However, these best moments create an illusion for other people. They get caught up in believing that your life is perfect. They imagine that your life is a series of your best moments, never being able to see your low points or what your life truly looks like. This causes a chain reaction of more and more people wanting to share their best moments on social media, because if they didn't, it's almost as if they never happened. To the rest of the world, if you don't post something, they don't know about it, like it never happened. But just because it's not on social media, doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Your memories can be worth more than an Instagram post or a Snapchat story.


Remember that these social media posts aren't accurate representations of someone else's life.

Social media posts make up the tiniest portion of our real lives, they capture a snapshot in time at a given moment, but they don't capture the feeling that the whole moment actually is. It's like if I was to watch a movie and pause it at a random moment. That doesn't necessarily capture the essence of the whole movie, only that one second. Let's put this into a spectrum of how tiny that moment is in comparison to your whole life. If the average movie is 120 minutes (2 hours), we can convert that into seconds, so the average movie is 7,200 seconds. One screenshot of a movie would be one second of a movie, making that screenshot take into account less than 0.01% of the entire movie. So if life was a movie, one Instagram or Snapchat post is less than 0.01% of our lives, probably even less than that, considering how much longer a lifetime is than a movie.

Take a social media cleanse.

Take a break from social media for a little while. Go out, live your life without having to worry about social media plaguing you. So what if Ashley went to Paris over the summer and Billy went clubbing last night? Are you truly missing out? No, you're living your own life. A social media cleanse can help you forget about what everyone else is doing and focus on your own life. Instead of being envious of others, you can grow as your own person. I challenge you to one week's worth of a social media cleanse. Maybe start off with just one form of social media, or start off with one day's worth of a cleanse, but I challenge you to back away from social media in order to refresh, as difficult as it is. During that week of no social media, do as much as you can with your life. Go out with your friends, go to a party, go on little adventures. 

In the end, there's nothing wrong with posting a picture on social media because it's aesthetic is on point or you look super cute with your besties at your favorite cafe. I do it all the time, that's what social media is for. However, I think that you should be able to differentiate social media from real life. By not posting your best moments on social media, it doesn't mean that they didn't happen. Your social media page is not a representation of your life. Your social media pages do not define you. 

2 comments:

  1. I loved reading this post and couldn't agree more! I went on a mini-vacation the other day and I decided not to post anything about it on social media. I posted one or two snaps on Snapchat but that was it. I found that I was a lot less stressed and had more fun because I didn't have to focus about getting the perfect picture.

    XO, Brooke
    https://livethepreplife.blogspot.com

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    1. Glad that you could agree and that you enjoyed the post!
      Rebecca

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