Why Social Media is Making You Miserable

Is it time to take a break?

Maggie Ebel, Staff Reporter

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A group of girls stands in front of a brick wall in the greater Seattle area, pretending to laugh, trying their hardest to look “candid”. This is an image seen countless times, while scrolling through Instagram, and can certainly evoke a range of emotions.
It’s easy to compare oneself to this group of girls laughing, or that couple so in love on the beach, and wonder what’s lacking. On the internet, people’s lives seem almost flawless. Photos of best friends, adorable puppies, and fulfilling relationships are scattered among quotes about exploring and making every moment count. However, what’s going on behind the scenes is entirely out of the picture. Are these people really living life to the fullest? Has this person ever actually explored, as in ventured into the city without Google Maps attached to their hip? It’s entirely possible that the person posting this image does in fact, have a picture perfect life, but more often than not, social media is used to fill the void of what’s missing.
Pals going out to brunch on Snapchat, couples eating downtown, adventures at the park with your best friend since first grade. All of this is being broadcasted on purpose. Nothing is posted by mistake. Each photo, video, and screenshot have a message behind them, and all too often the secret message reads, “I need validation”. Competition for comments, and lust for likes has become something much more than it started as.
Many social media apps, like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, began as a simple outlet–as a platform for self expression. These apps soon took on a much bigger role in society. Users began to see positive results: strangers became friends instantly, selfies became a place to collect compliments, and boundaries almost disappeared completely. Why not, right?
While all of this, at surface level, is simply harmless and reassuring, it’s important to keep in mind the reality behind these gestures. Just because people are friends on the internet, doesn’t mean that they will be a reliable human outside of the worldwide web. When making friends online, people are committing to the persona that one creates. The friendship is only able to develop to the depth in which the user is allowing. Is depth truly attainable online, though? Social media is, at its root, a place to share small snippets of one’s everyday life. These snippets are strewn together by viewers, to make a complete image. This image fabricated by users is often a misrepresentation, unfortunately. Due to the fact that most people exclusively post the aesthetically pleasing parts of their lives, depth is nearly impossible to create.
Most people are searching for validation, no question. The problem is often where one is seeking validation. If one is looking for approval online, and only posting the surface level things, like dogs and selfies, that’s all that will be validated. If people begin with themselves however, the human being in their entirety is able to be affirmed as there is no way to conceal what’s really going on. All in all, while the internet can be a good place for self expression, it’s important to love yourself before you even begin to like a stranger’s post.

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Why Social Media is Making You Miserable