Is Social Media Making Us Crazy?
What lengths would you go to, to up your social media game?
Maybe climb a tree to get the perfect shot? Stand on a chair in a posh restaurant to make sure you can get all the overpriced dishes in the square box? Maybe apply a full face of makeup despite spending an evening in alone, all so you can spend a good few hours taking selfies just to get that one photograph that will make the cut? This might all sound a little crazy to those reading right now, but for some people around the world, this is reality. Yes, to them, social media really is that important.
This week, I was casually scrolling through my Instagram feed when I came across a post from a mummy-blogger that I follow, sharing her heartbreak with the world over the fact that her friend had been lying to her for the past six months. As I continued reading, I was stunned to discover that the same friend to whom she referred, was another blogger that I followed online too – a lady who came across as really down-to-earth, cool, calm and collected but someone who had shockingly been lying to the whole world for the past six months, including her close family, friends and thousands of online followers, that she was battling cancer.
It’s pretty hard to comprehend, right? How could someone do that? What could have possibly been going on in this lady’s life and going through her mind for her to conjure up a story like that – knowing that thousands of people are really battling the dreaded disease, not knowing whether it will take their life, all around the globe? Well, the whole point of this article is not to judge her, but it’s just to highlight that this particular situation really did get me thinking about the reality of social media today and the extremes that people will go to, just for ‘likes’. This poor woman must have been craving attention so badly that she went to the extreme of faking cancer – which gave her what she wanted, as it was from this point that she racked up her online follower numbers. But are there not many of us just like her – faking the reality of our lives online just to make ourselves feel better?
Running a Social Media Management Company alongside my partner, I have to keep up-to-date and on trend with happenings in the social media world, which means that I use social media a lot of the time. And yes, although social media can do so much good and be used for positive purposes, equally it can be extremely harmful to individuals and entire communities of people. Here are a few of the reasons why I believe social media is driving some of us crazy and how we can attempt to stay sane in this constantly moving world…
- The constant comparing of yourself to others
Honestly, even some of the most ‘social media famous’ people do this – and it’s pretty hard not to when other peoples ‘perfect’ lives/relationships/bodies/looks/friends are constantly being thrust in your face as you scroll. Have you ever heard the saying ‘comparison is the thief of joy’? It’s true. Comparison leads to envy or jealousy and steals away gratitude – and it is only through true gratitude that we can find real peace.
- The seeking of approval or validation from other people
Have you ever posted something online just for the ‘likes’? I’m sure we all have at some point. Whether it is a selfie, a picture of something you have created or an achievement that you’re proud of, somehow the higher the number of likes and comments it receives, the better you feel about yourself. At the same time, when you post something and it gets hardly any online engagement, you can begin to feel really down about your own self-worth. I’ll leave these words by Rupi Kaur here, which explains self-love beautifully…
is not about how many people
like your work
if your heart likes your work
if your soul likes your work
its about how honest you are with yourself
Basically, do it for yourself, not for other people.
- Seeing things/people from the past which/who you’d rather not see
It can be painful when something that mattered a lot to you comes to an end… a friendship, a relationship – whatever it may be. Sometimes social media can make the healing process ten times more difficult when all you want to do is move on, but you get constant reminders on your social networks due to mutual friends. In my own experience, the best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation – but in a world that is increasingly becoming more connected online, this is not the easiest of things to do.
- The constant barrage of information and alerts
This is something that I find really difficult. There is always someone posting… something. There is always something that someone needs to say. There is always someone that needs to share his or her unwanted opinion about the latest news. It’s just constant information being shoved at us from any which direction and it can all become too much. It can make you feel like your head is spinning and can actually put you into quite a depressed state. I would say it is so important to limit the amount of time you spend scrolling through social media everyday. Maybe even set a timer!
Taking the above into account, it is not difficult to understand why the social media age is creating a generation of insecure, attention-craving people – and now that I have put it all into context, I can kind of see why the blogger I mentioned at the start of this article did what she did. People are faking cancer, people are committing suicide – it really is a sad state of affairs. But I believe the impetus is on each and every one of us to not take the digital world too seriously and to love each a little bit more in the real world – not just the world that we see on our brightly lit screens.