Do it for the Gram — the phrase that everyone seems to have made their life motto.
Scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter has become about as predictable as the sunrise. Posts have lost their originality ever since people decided to start mimicking the lives of their Valencia-filtered friends.
Aesthetically pleasing boba teas, Disneyland castles and sunrise hand-hearts now dominate the news feeds of millions. Did you even go to the beach if you didn’t take a cartwheel picture on the sand?
Avid social media users seem to be chasing experiences for the sole purpose of posting about them. Instead of broadcasting their own unique experiences, they look at the top posts of the day and try to emulate that lifestyle as closely as they can.
The truth is, that glamorous lifestyle does not exist. Nobody orders $7 lattes with intricate art every morning or goes to scenic rooftop parties every night.
Every time we check social media, our news feed is chock full of bright smiles and perfect bodies. In reality, those people probably had to take 50 photos before finding one they felt confident enough presenting themselves with.
What we are comparing ourselves to is somebody else’s highlight reel. The social pressures created by the internet have clouded our sense of identity and decreased our self-esteem.
For high schoolers especially, social media can destroy self worth and confidence. One survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health found that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all led to increased feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety and poor body image in teens.
These negative mental health effects don’t cease to exist after high school. College students and older social media users often feel inadequate while scrolling through their timelines as well. Seeing friends get married, have kids and land successful careers before you’ve even finished your undergrad — not exactly a confidence booster.
Believe it or not, it’s OK to post something from your life that you haven’t seen from anyone else’s. People are desperate for new content amid a sea of #twinning pics and hibiscus refreshers from Starbucks.
Having an online presence is great for keeping up with long-distance friends who we might otherwise lose contact with, but we need to be careful to avoid checking those apps as a reflex. Scrolling and double tapping become almost hypnotic after a while, and it’s easy to tune out everything but the internet’s fake reality.
Taking a short social media detox from time to time can be incredibly therapeutic. When you’re not constantly looking around for something to post, you can focus on living your own life to the fullest rather than everybody else’s.
While it is fun to show off a new purchase or a night out with friends, don’t feel obligated to create these experiences just to throw them in your followers’ faces. Live authentically and not vicariously through others. People want to see you for you.