Social Media: My Friend, My Enemy

Social media is mind-blowing to me. Being born in 1995, I was coming of age just as the Internet, smartphones, and social media were exploding. Technology grew as I did. It learned as I learned. Wanting to be cool, I ate all that up. But my mom was NOT having it. We fought over when I could get a Facebook, and years later, I had to help her make an account of her own. (I will never let her live that down.)

Technology, due to it’s nature, easily consumes us. I know I have sunk into my fair share of deep, deep holes of Instagram stalking that caused me to lose track of time. Part of this post-grad life has been me trying not to make social media any more than what it is: a highlight reel.

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Rachael Crowe via Unsplash

Disclaimer: I am as much a fan of social media as anyone.  It has been an awesome resource these past few months! I’ve gotten design advice, travel tips, & meal suggestions. There are awesome moments of reconnecting with people from my childhood. Seeing posts from my college classmates has allowed me to easily keep in touch, even when we’re hundreds of miles away. Even when it’s people I wasn’t very close with, I love seeing them succeed and do what they love. It’s inspiring, I feel like my home team is winning!

But I’ve also partaken in the comparison game. The game with no end, where the primary players are jealously, discontentedness, and emptiness. Some of the recurring thoughts I was subject to included, but weren’t limited to:

OMG I need that shirt.

Why does she have a boyfriend & I don’t?

I’ll never be as skinny as that.

I wish I had enough money to do x, y, & z.

Ugh, they look so happy. What am I missing?

When I stopped to take a step back, I realized I was playing a game where I could only lose. These were people’s BEST moments. Their shots were perfectly framed, filtered, and angled.

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Christian Kielberg via Unsplash

You’ll need to set boundaries for yourself. Everyone’s different, so take this with a grain of salt. I am a constant scroller. Whenever I’m bored, I find somewhere on my phone I can scroll.

Recently, I’ve been forcing myself to turn my phone off when I’m with friends, eating, or watching a movie (all my formerly favorite times to scroll).

I force myself to post less. If I’m only posting my highlights, not my everyday, it reminds me that everyone else is doing the same.

I unfollowed A LOT. If I was just following someone to be nosey about their life, I probably unfollowed them. My friends & people I cared about stayed.

And, honestly, I just try to keep it fun. It’s like a scrapbook of my life. I think of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as somewhere outside of myself where I can store my memories.

I’m telling you these things because I’ve been happier since I’ve implemented them. My word is not law, I am not an expert in the psychology of happiness.