The effects of social Media

25 September, 2013

Whoops September the 4th was my last post! I’ve been so busy lately I’ve been running around like a maniac, unfortunately I can’t share exactly why just yet but hopefully I’ll be able to soon. Anyway I decided to write abit of different post today, it’s a topic I seem to keep hearing so many people talk about so I thought it warranted a little blogpost. So lets start with a famous quote shall we….

 

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Yep Theodore Roosevelt pretty much had things down even then, it’s amazing how that quote transcends into relevancy even today.

Ladies and gentleman social media, the internet sensation that’s spawned a new breed of narcissistic, insecure and factitious individuals and introduced us all to a lovely little thing called FOMO a.k.a Fear Of Missing Out.

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have now become platforms to showcase all of our achievements and accomplishments as well as our social status and even our wealth. The problem is most of the time these images and posts are displayed in a way that screams, “Look at me and my fabulous life what have you done lately?” I’ll be the first to admit that on occasion after scrolling through my Instagram feed I’ve left feeling a little ostracized and deflated. The vacuity and vanity of social media has left a lot of us feeling depressed and I’m not at all surprised. Interminable post after post of people showcasing their latest accolades and picture perfect social lives  is now making some of us question our own self-worth, which sounds crazy but it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong social media is incredible for so many things; keeping in touch with family and friends, advertising your business or event, or keeping someone within the public eye connected with their fans. Yet more and more evidence is showing us the negative effects too much online people watching is having on our lives.

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So why is it having such an effect on us?

Well there seem to be two main reasons

  • 1) It’s given us all a severe case of FOMO making us constantly feel stressed that we’re missing out on all of life’s exciting social occasions. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t been able to make an event or social gathering then all the pictures pop up online and I sit there ,wherever I am, scrolling through thinking, “Oh for fucks sake I knew I should have gone to this!!”  The reality is they’ll always be a next time and unless the event included Ryan Gosling in a pair of underpants wanting to take you out into the middle of a lake in his boat  to feed some swans then back to his place why get so affected by it? We have our whole lives ahead of us and they’ll be many more social events we’ll probably be invited too so we really need to stop beating ourselves up about this.
  • 2) Comparing our lives to everybody elses. I’d say this one’s the worst out of the two and if you let it, it can affect your entire outlook of your own life. The internet has now given us access to everything and everyone but it isn’t showing us the full picture which then inevitably leads us all down a negative path of self-annihilation.

The reason I decided to write this post was when a friend asked me why I’m no longer on Facebook, this brought up an entire discussion with a couple of friends of mine. There were afew reasons why I decided to delete my Facebook account a couple of years ago, a message from an old school friend wasn’t the sole reason but it definitely contributed to it. At the time I was going through afew personal problems and I remember receiving a message from her in my inbox saying, “Wow how are you? I’m so jealous of your life you go to all these fancy parties, my life is so boring compared to yours. I can’t believe you know so and so and Oh my God are those the new so and so’s you’re wearing etc” What my old friend didn’t know and what I wasn’t at all so quick to share on my Facebook account is that I was in the middle of a soul destroying relationship and pretty much crying on and off every day, but if you had a look through any of my Facebook pictures I looked like I was having the time of my life. It all felt so fake and it actually made me sad to think that someone had been looking at a carefully constructed image of my life and assumed they knew the truth behind it, they clearly didn’t. Afew days after that message I closed my account and I haven’t reopened it since. I have since joined Instagram, it didn’t seem as intrusive as Facebook at first but slowly it seems to be heading the same way.

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The truth is unless you’re a close, personal friend of someone you follow on one of these sites you are only viewing the “highlight reel” of that person’s life. So to compare yourself to an overly edited version of someone you sort of know is in fact ridiculous; but we all do it.

I’m not saying I’m going to start “keeping it real” and post pictures of myself in the changing rooms of Topshop  in a pair of trousers that are clearly too small for me with the caption, “Oh my God look at my muffin top in these jeans, welp!” Nor would I ever and another thing I have an issue with is people posting entire monologues underneath their pictures on Instagam about what’s happening in their lives i.e, “Today was a tough day It’s getting easier but I still can’t get over the fact that… and I  know he said that we’d… I guess lifes taught me that in order to grow I…..yada yada….” To be quite honest this isn’t an online diary love and no-one really cares enough to read your thoughts and feelings. Yikes! Sorry but it’s true, it’s all about a happy medium. If you like to talk so much maybe start a blog? I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s nice to remind ourselves that all of it isn’t real, I’m not suggesting we expose every intricate detail of our lives online for everyone to see, just that we all need to be aware that social media never shows us the full picture just the edited version. I mean yes from the outside someone could appear to lead the perfect life but you don’t know what they had to do to get there, or if it is infact “perfect” at all.

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Someone who seems to have all the money in the world could secretly be severely insecure because he or she fears his family and friends are only around because of the things he or she can do for them. Or perhaps that couple with the seemingly perfect relationship could be trying to make things work and get over one of them having an affair or they’re just constantly fighting and bickering but feel they have to stay together for the sake of their kids, yet on Facebook there’s pictures of the two of them laughing together joyfully as if there isn’t a care in the world. Or maybe your old school friend who has the generic dream job, maybe he or she didn’t post an istagram image of them waking up at 5am every morning for two years and missing many close friends birthdays and social events to get to where they are now. I’m not trying to put a negative spin on every happy and successful situation you see, of course there will be people out there who at this very moment in time do have all their shit together and good for them. The only thing you should do is be happy for them because the only way good things can come into your own life  is by being genuinely pleased and inspired by someone else’s triumphs whilst staying focused on your own goals , envy and jealously only breed more of the same thing. If I’ve learnt anything in my life  it’s that your own time will come if you want it badly enough and you’re focused on the things you truly want. It won’t come by surfing the web and people watching on lives that you really know nothing about.

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A friend of mine suggested a great way of keeping track of your own thoughts. He told me to imagine my mind was my very own Google search bar.( He’s normal I promise!)  So for example if I type Audi R8 into Google It’s not going to bring up images of a Skoda now is it! So now imagine if your thoughts are I’m so stressed out, I’m lonely, I’m broke, I’m not where I want to be in life, how come that person has this and I don’t? You will continue to attract more and more circumstances that carry on making you feel this way. It’s the law, apparently.

Nowadays we all seem to be aware of the law of attraction and the effects negative thinking can have on us, but the problem is most of us have a propensity to dwell on the lack and look at our neighbours achievements instead of staying focused on our own hopes and dreams which social media does not help with! For me personally I’ve learnt that the key is to not beat myself up if I have an off day and realise I’m only human. We’re all on a journey just taking different routes but if we constantly watch whats going on around us we’ll always stay where we are.

So there you have it, random little post from me I know but if I managed to get through to at least one person then I’m happy, and  if you ever find yourself people watching online whilst sighing to yourself woefully snap out of it and remind yourself of where you want to be in life and how you’re going to get there. Usually the things that seem to be stalling us in life are things we’ve put  there ourselves.

 

Happy hump day guys (As if I only found out the other day that Wednesdays are called hump days???? I’ve clearly led a sheltered life!)

 

B xx

 

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