Social media has become a regular part of daily life for many. I know for me, right after I wake up, I check my phone for texts or messages, and then all social media platforms for notifications. It has become a part of my morning routine, and I find myself checking social media throughout the day as a way to take a break from the daily grind.
A phenomenon all social media users have experienced at one point or another is observing content that doesn't necessarily reflect the true essence of other people's lives — which in actuality, including both positive and negative aspects, are not always accurately depicted online.
Social media gives us the opportunity to connect with others, stay in touch with loved ones, and meet new people. However, it also gives us full control over picking and choosing what parts of our life we want to share. This can lead to misconstrued interpretations of what is really going on with our friends and family, as well as pre-conceived judgments that are wrong.
It can be fun going online and playing pretend to get a break from reality and the fact that life is composed of the good and the bad. Yet, without the bad, we could never really appreciate the good.
For some, social media is a large part of their identity as a person, which influences them to create content that allows them to share their successes and portray themselves in a positive light — putting forth a face that shows they are a competent person moving forward with their goals and dreams while downplaying mistakes and failures. This is a way of presenting a positive face to the world, which can give other social media users in your network a false image of who you really are as a person.
I love social media for the fact that it has allowed me to keep in touch with people I otherwise would have lost contact with. It is a great way for me to share my writing and art with others to shape my personal brand, and it can serve as a great distraction and way to procrastinate.
However, it has also been harmful to me in the past, especially Facebook.
I used to compare myself to others and the number of likes they got on their photos or the amount of "friends" they had connected in their network. It would both feed my insecurities and boost my ego, simultaneously.
Nowadays, I have a much healthier relationship with how I use social media, in that instead of using it to compare myself to others or as a way to get attention, I am trying to use it to share my creative endeavors and stay connected with the people I care about. It has served as a great way to get support through difficult times.
It's important for all of us to remember that the filter people use on social media, no pun intended, is not a genuine reflection of what is going on in their lives. It's also important to remember that it's okay to show our real face online, not just the pretty, positive one.
Going through hardship is all part of being human and there is no shame in that, while there is also no shame in sharing that reality, especially with the people we care about and who care about us.