As a 19-year-old college student buried under countless obligations and responsibilities, I frequently catch myself reminiscing on "the good old days." But as I make my way into adulthood and beyond, I can't help but assume that "the good old days" will continue to slip further and further from my memory. Why is that, though? Haven't I made endless new and enduring memories that could easily become "the good old days" themselves? Well, yes. But I've realized that there is one sole difference between my memories from childhood and my more current ones that have prompted my realization that our generation has been plagued. The Internet. Sure, the web has created enormous opportunities for the world and our society continues to advance due to this flourishing technology. But, our social lives have paid a price.
Social media, which to my understanding was initially created for self-expression and the sharing of our individual content, has alternately become the platform that now determines our worthiness and popularity. The majority of our generation has become so obsessed with being considered "trendy" and "fashionable" that everything we now post on social media is posted for validation. We seek the approval of our peers and even more so the approval of those outside of our inner circles. Our social media pages have become a portrayal of the life we wish to live, or maybe more so the life we hope people think we live. I'm sure we can all think of a time when we planned our outfits, went to an event, or even purchased food for the sole purpose of an Instagram post in mind. This obsessive need for approval likes and comments has afflicted our minds and has caused us to be afraid to show the world who we really are.
To me, the worst part of this dilemma is that we are so worried about proving to people that we are living our lives to the fullest and having the most fun that we forget to actually enjoy these worthwhile moments! Concerts, lunch dates, shopping trips, and vacations are all overtaken by this little handheld device that now dictates our life. Shouldn't verbally telling someone about your latest adventure have the same level of significance and attraction as if you shared it on your feed? You would think so, but we have become so preoccupied with capturing our life on camera that we forget to even look up. Creating memories should about living in the moment and not worrying about your next post! We should concentrate on being with people who make us smile, feeling our best selves, and being aware of our surroundings, so much so that we don't even think about our phones! Everyone loves a candid photo, but we strive to such great lengths to take them to the point where they're no longer genuine! Even something that literally means "honest" has turned into a lie.
As more and more people become aware of this social media crisis, my hope is that they come to realize that we should be aiming to use social media to break down the barriers between our society, rather than put up a front. Social media should be used to express yourself, to embrace your style, your likes and dislikes. Instagram should return to a platform used for the sole purpose of proving your confidence, not your worth. I challenge you to live for the sake of living, rather than for your Instagram feed. And if you happen to snap a pic or two in the process, then I hope you feel bold enough to share it with the world.