Friendship, Followers, and the Downsides of Social Media
Most of us check our phones as soon as we wake up and before we go to bed (and a million times in between). But most of us don’t think about how social media has transformed our lives. Every single day we partake in the most meaningless conversations through liking, swiping, and commenting. While we know a lot about Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Facebook, I’m worried that we are losing the most special form of interaction: real-life discussion.
Think about it. How many times have you complimented someone online, in a thinly-veiled attempt to become their friend? Imagine what it would be like if people said those same nice things to you, but to your face in the hallway? Wouldn’t it be gratifying to have a real moment with someone?
I’m not sure about you, but for me, social media has never furthered any friendships; in fact, it only increases the number of virtual friends, aka followers. Speaking of: Why are followers *so* important? Does it actually mean something when 500 people like a photo, or is it simply an attempt at assuring your social status at school?
And it goes beyond just friendship. Today, dating is just another means of liking or un-liking. Swipe right if she’s hot, left if she’s not. No one cares if the girl with the not-so-hot profile pic has a kick-ass personality, because they’re too busy searching for someone who meets their ideal, misogynistic standards. I’m only 17, and already I feel so pressured to be perfect. Is my hair alright? How do people see me? From now on, I’m challenging myself to look past appearances and social media followings for something more meaningful.
I’m ready to start embracing my brain—not my online profile or my #aesthetic, but rather myself as a whole. Our generation is so focused on being perfect that we miss out on the fun of just going with the flow. I don’t want to be the airbrushed Barbie on the magazine; she isn’t sexy, and frankly if some guy thinks she is, he’s in for a big surprise. It’s time to start embracing the beauty in mundanity. Speaking to people is actually fun—sounds silly but seriously!—and people can actually provide real and stimulating input, and no I’m not talking about Siri.
Nostalgia is so prominent in the media because our generation has lost its focus. We're drifting from one trend to another, one handle to the next. There is so much to see and so little time to see all of it. The first step? Looking away from our phones every now and then.
By Kiahna Burman, 17