Why I Secretly Hate Social Media
Constant updates, edited pictures, Snapchat filters that make you look extra pretty, repeated dings from different group chats. That’s life, right?
I’m an 18-year-old girl who has all the social media platforms you do. I love maintaining streaks on Snapchat, watching likes pop up after just posting an Instagram, and seeing the newest stuff on Phhhoto. But behind this addiction and embarrassing obsession with social media is a hatred as well.
Most of us do something we like to call “flexing” on Instagram. Usually, it involves a bikini, very little clothing, a flawless face, and lots of good lighting. Many girls say they use flexing in order to promote self-love and to show that it’s OK to be confident in yourself. I agree completely...but it’s worrisome that a teenage girl needs comments and likes to feel this way about herself. We need validation that we are beautiful from these double clicks on pretty pictures of ourselves. Now what happens if there aren’t enough likes on this “flex”? Girls question how they look and other people’s perception of them and their bodies, making Instagram completely detrimental to our confidence and leading to insecurity, questions about how we look, and how we are displayed to the people around us.
Beyond Instagram, there's Snapchat, the single most casual way to maintain contact with someone. Take a quick selfie and send it on its way. I love Snapchatting, making stupid faces, and talking to friends I haven’t seen in a while.
But Snapchat stories are where everything about the app goes wrong. It has become so incredibly important to me to see what all of my friends are doing every second of the day, creating a persistent feeling of FOMO. I'm constantly questioning if I haven't been invited to something or if people are having fun without me. This seems unreasonable and it is, but it's also human nature to always want to be involved. Snapchat just emphasizes this.
I have a secret hatred for social media because it causes unnecessary insecurity. I love how I look, I love where I am with my friends, and I am comfortable with who I am...until I log on to Instagram and Snapchat. I hate social media because it portrays an edited version of myself. We all get pimples and we all have imperfect days. I know all of my friends feel this same way. But for some reason, we're all drawn to conform to what social media expects of us.
We all need to monitor how much time we spend on social media and understand how frightening it is to watch life happen from behind a screen. Last fall, I deleted social media for a few days to reduce my stress (and to prevent me from seeing pictures of my ex-boyfriend having fun at college). It was transformative. I challenge you to do the same for three days. Delete Instagram. Delete Snapchat. Stop worrying about your streaks and keeping up with people’s lives online, because to be honest, absolutely none of it matters. Besides, everyone will still be there when you come back.
By Charlotte O'Leary, 18