Social media has an undeniable influence on just about all of us. We all have our favorite platforms and have created another version of ourselves. Usually, we believe this version of ourselves is equally authentic; we are posting about ourselves and our everyday lives, aren't we?
But is it actually life? While many people would never be caught dead saying that social media is equal to real life experiences, many of us don't act that way. A lot of times, we see the best experiences of life not firsthand, but through our phone screens. Admit it; we've all done it. Sunsets, sunrises, concerts, weddings, prom, nights out with friends, holidays, travel, and almost everything else. We watch, but we are crouched like lions, concentrating, ready to pounce on that golden photo opportunity.
A lot of people like to criticize younger generations for our "obsession" with our social media. Whether you like it or not, social media has become a part of lives. Coming up with quirky and profound captions for travel photos is now just as traditional and expected as taking the picture of you holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Plus, it's hard not to get excited when a picture you posted racks up a bunch of likes and comments. Whether or not you think it's superficial is irrelevant; it's just what happens.
Of course we know that social media isn't all bad. I have talked to people in different countries who share similar interests because of it. How cool is that?! The concept of international internet friends renders social media a tool for connection rather than isolation. In addition, it's a great way to keep up a little with the lives of your close friends over a distance. Now, when you live far away, you can just make even more friends without losing quite as much.
However, it's always important not to get carried away. I think that is the real lesson we all need to take away: don't get carried away. I hear so many people talk about how terrible and evil social media is and about how braindead from it we are as a generation. Oh please. But also, don't let Facebook become your only news source; don't stream an entire concert on your Snapchat just so that people will know you were there; don't scroll through Instagram to the point that you become depressed comparing every aspect of your life to only the best, cherry-picked aspects of someone else's.
It can be hard to break away if you're a little bit addicted. And if you are addicted? It's okay. You're not alone, and even many adults who like to complain about us are just as equally addicted to their Facebook pages. Start small; catch yourself when you reach for your phone and do something else. Don't worry about whether or not other people will know that you are doing something amazing at this current moment, because you know it. Savor that moment.
I once heard a phrase that went something like "live your life like a blooming flower; it blooms without announcement, it just blooms." I wish I could remember where I heard it, because it always stuck with me. You can do great things without the world knowing about it. It doesn't mean that they didn't happen. Moderation is great in all things, so live your life a little less through your screen.