Blogger | Teacher
Social media is a wonderful modern tool for staying connected, saving memories online, and keeping track of what’s going on in the world. You can post about your recent adventures, watch cute cat videos and share them with your family, and even remind your friends about how beautiful and amazing they are with each comment and pink heart.
Social media can make us feel good about ourselves and help us keep in contact with people we don’t get to see every day, but there are also many ways in which social media can hinder our personal mindsets and daily lives. Not everything is as beautiful or perfect as it looks to be online, and it’s important to be aware of the truth about social media in order to make the most out of these wonderful, modern forms of communication.
Here are some common misconceptions about social media that need to be done away with in order to improve our online lives.
Everyone looks that good all the time
Social media is a blessing in a lot of ways, but it can also be a curse – especially if you’re someone who suffers from body dysmorphia or body-image issues. On social media, it’s fun to keep track of your friends and see how everyone is doing, but it can be a bit disheartening if all you find are people who seem to look beautiful and put together all the time.
For me, I spend about 80% of my time either dressed in work clothes or casual clothes that make me feel like I have no style at all. However, on social media I only ever post pictures where I’m dressed to the nines with my makeup and hair done, ready to walk the red carpet or go out dancing. It’s not how I look all the time, but it’s what does well on social media, and the comments and likes make me feel good about myself.
But people don’t look like that all the time, and even the prettiest girls on your “For You” page are wearing sweatpants and t-shirts when they’re just lounging around at home. Don’t let your mind fool you into believing you are somehow less pretty or put together than your friends on social media. I’ve been to photoshoots with friends I consider to be insanely gorgeous and watched them take 50+ photos just to find one to post online. While the beauty you see isn’t fake, it’s also not an accurate representation of what people actually look like most of the time.
Happiness is 24/7
Something that I’ve recently found really interesting about my social media experience is the way people tell me, “You are out there living your best life, you just seem so happy.” After moving to a foreign country, I post a lot about my experiences and cool adventures. There are videos of concerts, snapshots of cool cultural events, and photos of my daily life with friends I’ve made here. And to everyone else, this means I’m living the perfect life.
And while I am happy here and have done my best to make myself comfortable, there’s a lot about my life that’s difficult or painful. I’m far away from the people I love, I constantly feel like an outsider when I leave my home, and sometimes the loneliness and isolation I experience can be overwhelming. I’m also in a personal era where I’m trying to work on myself and unpack a lot of problems that I let lie dormant for too long, and that can be a difficult experience.
The happiness I show people online isn’t something I experience all the time, but of course, people would rather see the interesting things I’m doing rather than photos of days when I struggle to leave my bed. It’s the same for everyone – while their happy photos may be genuine and real, that doesn’t mean they’re living perfect lives that are better than yours. We’re all just doing our best to make the most of our situations, and that comes with both happy moments and personal struggles.
Life is a rat race
Social media has a lot of amazing potential and positive aspects, but one real problem is that it amplifies the idea that life is a rat race. If someone seems happier than us, prettier than us, or more established than we are, we feel like we are somehow losing at life. We are falling behind and missing out on experiences, or maybe we should be farther along in our lives and therefore the things we’re doing now aren’t worth as much.
Life isn’t a competition though, and just like everything else, what you see on social media isn’t the full truth behind someone’s situation. It’s okay to move at a different rate or even have completely separate priorities that put you on a different path – your social media page doesn’t have to look the same as someone else’s in order to be interesting and worthwhile.
It’s easy to be social media famous
One thing I find really interesting about the modern era and the rise in social media is the idea of “social media fame,” or becoming an influencer. It seems so simple, right? Just post some cool content that other people watch and like and bam! You’re making money and living a cushy life without having to work. And while that may be true for some influencers, it’s not the same for everyone.
As a writer, part of my job is creating new content every week that readers will want to click on and enjoy. The articles need to be interesting and relatable, with good hooks that grab the reader’s attention and sections that aren’t so long that they get boring. It can be a bit difficult to think of new content all the time, and sometimes I reach a block where I think “I’ve run dry, there’s nothing else to write about.”
Being social media famous is a lot like this: creators struggle to come up with interesting or relatable content that’s easy and quick for others to consume – but it also has the added disadvantage of constantly having to put themselves and their bodies on display for people to look at and comment on. And people can be really mean when it comes to online commentary, so influencers have to have a backbone and sense of self that fights against the negativity they might see. Being social media famous isn’t as simple or easy as it may seem, and influencers deserve credit as creatives for constantly being able to put themselves out there.
Anonymity means no one gets hurt
A common misconception – or oversight – in people’s idea of social media is that anonymity somehow means people can’t get hurt by rude things they see online. What I mean is, sometimes people think that social media comments and negativity aren’t as rude and hurtful as telling someone directly to their face. There’s always the option of blocking the comment when it comes online, but it’s much harder to ignore someone’s rude remark when it’s said right to you. However, the things you say online can still be just as impactful and hurtful to someone as the comments you make in person.
No matter how strong you may be, no one enjoys hearing someone say bad things about them, especially when it comes to things that may be out of your control (such as physical appearance or personal life situations). And for some reason, the more anonymous someone is, the more willing they are to say anything that comes to mind – no matter how hurtful or rude it may be. If all you are is a name on a screen, then you can’t truly be held accountable for your actions.
The things you say always have an effect on the people around you, and if you believe that what you’re writing may be hurtful or rude in some way, it’s better to keep it to yourself – no matter how anonymous you may be.
Being active online is a bad thing
While there are definitely some negative aspects to social media, it’s also important to recognize that being active online isn’t a bad thing. It’s great to share your life online for others to interact with, especially if it helps you keep in touch with people that you aren’t able to see all the time! Wanting to have a social media presence is completely normal and wonderful, especially if your presence online makes you feel good about yourself and helps you feel connected to your loved ones.
Just because social media has some negative aspects doesn’t mean you have to give it up altogether. Creating awareness about the realities of social media and doing away with all the misconceptions can make a world of difference in how you interact with your online life. So continue to post, share, like, and comment, and use social media to bring more goodness, kindness, and color into the world!
Do you have any other advice or thoughts about the misconceptions concerning our social media lives? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.
Just like everything in life, moderation is key.
I agree with much of what you stated. It all comes down to one’s discipline. Social media can be a great platform, but like any other thing, there are always going to be people who will abuse and misuse. Thankfully for me, it has been a postive experience overall over the years.
So very true….it’s a love/hate relationship with social media
…….warm fuzzier one post…..bitter cold negativity the next