Any one of my friends can tell you that I am a social media addict. I have three Twitters, an Instagram, a Tumblr, Facebook, Vine, Snapchat, Yik Yak, YouTube, GroupMe, Find My Friends, Skype, LinkedIn and a Pinterest account. I wake up in the morning and go through all my social media and e-mail. You could say I’m well informed, but after months of this obsessive checking, I think it might be more juvenile than that.
It started like all social media cases. I made a Facebook. I liked gaining new friends, more likes, funny statuses and connecting with strangers I had met during summer trips away from home. It was great. I love having people I consider friends from not only around the country, but the world.
Flash forward what I believe is 11 years. I have troubles setting my phone down and not having it in my hand checking it easily a hundred times a day. It is easy to blame it on my constant thirst for knowledge, but come on, let’s be real.
I know I am not alone too. I know many people in this Generation Y may be denying their type of addiction, but next time you are in a classroom, the Hub or just simply walking around campus—look at how many people’s eyes are on their phones. Think about how many times you have been alone with another person so you pulled out your phone. You could have easily said hello, had a personal interaction, but our generation doesn’t really do that. Most people would much rather prefer to interact within the comforts of their own technological world.
This new social media craze is so much more than just missing out on meeting new people, having a personal interaction and being in the moment. Social media also makes people really, really sad. I’m sorry to break the news, but no one is as pretty as his or her profile picture or as put together as his or her Facebook life appears. We all highlight our great moments—world travels, touching moments, great parties and life mile markers. We typically don’t highlight the mundane, and even when we do, the moment becomes larger than life. When we think about our lives and only have social media to even compare (don’t get me started) then we are forced to see a façade that is simply not true.
Lastly, I feel like so many of us get swept away by like counts, number of friends and who commented on your last post. This fake gratification tricks us to thinking we have a real sense of community and friendship sometimes from even fake people on social media.
If there’s anything I am trying to learn from my social media addiction, it’s that there is a beautiful world out there and while taking a picture of the sun today might get a couple dozen likes on my Instagram maybe I’ll soak up the feeling in the moment, phone free.