I haven’t posted for a while, and I was scraping my brain trying to figure out something I can write about. I don’t know if it is because I am busy, life is changing, or if I’m simply feeling uninspired. After thinking and debating, there is something I want to address: social media.
Prepare yourself, this is a long one.
Here I am, the typical millennial, about to tell you why social media is ruining us. If you would have told high school Julia that college Julia would be saying this, I would have laughed in your face, rolled my eyes, and said “Yeah, sure.” Back in high school (I say that like it was so long ago), I was addicted to social media. Scrolling through Twitter and Instagram consumed my free time, and I liked it.
I wish I could say that I used it to stay up-to-date with what my friends were doing, but that’s just untrue. I did it for the drama. I did it for the convenience. I did it to envy people I wanted to be like, and to tell myself that I need to change in order to do so. In essence, I did it to completely destroy my self-concept and my self-confidence, without even noticing it.
Social media distorts reality. It allows us to create this image of ourselves that isn’t true. We post things for the sake of likes and retweets, not because we really think that way. We twist and contour our bodies to look “skinny” and “perfect,” and if they don’t, we use apps to make them appear that way. We take photos of our faces and smooth out every imperfection. As if people won’t realize you don’t have porcelain-like skin in real life. We create this false sense of who we are, just to appease other people and be more “likeable.”
We see this happening, maybe subconsciously, and unknowingly adapt to fit this mold. We don’t realize that every single one of us is faking it. We portray ourselves as these perfect individuals with these perfect lives, and somehow we all believe it.
No ones life is like this.
No one wakes up with perfect hair and skin. No one eats on a terrace with a beautiful mountain view every morning. No one has a perfect relationship full of gifts, hand holding, and adventures. No. One.
Everyone has flaws.
Everyone wakes up with a zit the size of a mountain on their forehead every once in a while. Everyone spends a day in bed eating Doritos and watching Netflix. Everyone argues with their significant other. Everyone has bad days, they just don’t post it on social media.
Now, this part may sound boring, but it’s the most important. Social media is ruining our communication skills. My minor is communication studies, and I find it absolutely astonishing how many people lack proper communication skills because of social media and phones in general.
In one of my classes, we talked about job interviews. A professional in the industry said that this generation, our generation, is extremely talented. Perhaps even more talented than the generations that have come before us. A resumé will appear on a recruiter’s desk, and the person will seem like a perfect fit, but when they bring that individual in for an interview, everything changes.
Why? Because the person cannot communicate. He cannot present himself in a way that shows the interviewers that he is serious, he knows what he is talking about, and that he is the best candidate for the job. Instead, he can barely hold a conversation. He doesn’t make eye contact. He doesn’t project his voice. He doesn’t appear confident at all. He does not know how to communicate in real life with real people because he has been too focused on a screen that fits in his hand. It’s terrifying.
This may seem like a rant, but I promise I’m getting to the point. Social media was designed to be great. It was designed to bring people together from all over the world, and that’s amazing. We can benefit from social media; we just have to change the way we use it.
Instead of using your social media to get more followers, likes, and retweets, use it to connect with people. Connect with others that are like you. Use it to stay up-to-date on the lives of old friends, and even to reconnect with them. Show people your accomplishments and your goals. Talk about a cause that is important to you. Share knowledge that will help others. Social media is so incredibly powerful, but we’re not using it to its full potential. It’s time to change that.