The Hidden Faces of Social Media
In the current world, social media has begun to take over not only the lives of viewers but also the lives of the so called ‘instafamous’. Current studies have shown that Instagram is one of the most popular sites, and is constantly used to mask the real lives of its users. As people put in the effort to embellish their feed, their followers see a life they wish they had. People begin to try and emulate the accounts they are jealous of. Little do they know about the reality of the person, and the fact that Instagram is just their life’s highlight reel. Everyone becomes too lost in the gap between virtual social interaction and actual friendship. It leads to emotions getting disconnected and dealing with the pressure to impress the people in their life rather than just keeping the friendship alive.
As one personal example stated in an online blog, the depression escalates on the basis of not having the actual life that is portrayed online. In this particular story, she worked her entire life to only be rejected from every medical school she applied to, and she lost her boyfriend and main support system around the same time. In the midst of all of it, she kept her Instagram feed focused on her puppy and her travels, leaving her followers to continue gaping over the beautiful life she was living while she felt utterly alone. It becomes unhealthy, and it can lead to a lack of confidence because life feels like a prolonged lie.
Instagram and other social media can be a problem in any generation, this is not a millennial specific problem. The general population likes to blame the fact of social media taking over on the millennials who grew up with it, but we are not the only ones who thrive on it. If anything, it is not a new concept for the millennial generation so we are aware of the effect it has; the new users in the older generations do not know how to leave it alone because they obsess over the new technology. There just happens to be different motives for potentially exaggerating accounts. For example, when traveling with family, the parents have the ‘need’ to take more photos to share online for their friends, while their millennial kids have an individual motive to look good in just one or two. There is no blame to place. Next time you have the desire to post, ask yourself if it is genuine and give yourself the credit of real emotional connection.