While doing his weekly Gizmodo roundup, my ragamuffin sent me this youtube video.
Hence, my first op-ed. Har har har. I thought the youtube video was an entertaining but gross depiction of social media and its effect on us. However, I do agree with the message. All that glitters is not gold. There are numerous articles on the extremes people have gone through to depict a certain image of themselves online. In an age of overachieving millennials, these perpetuated mispresentations exacerbate the growing general discontentment caused by unprecedented outlets for social comparison. Individuals have too much access into others’ lives.
There have been several publications on the matter of social media and the negative emotions it can evoke, namely, loneliness and envy. While the majority of studies that have been released supports the claims that the internet, in particular, social media can make you feel unhappy, I found at least 1 study that argues social media can promote social trust and engagement. One study I read stated using social media for browsing rather than “actively creating content and engaging with it” tends to increase feelings of envy. I found the studies to be quite interesting. My conclusion is, I am in charge of my happiness. I also feel that the internet should indeed be utilized in a way that will help me to increase my creativity and productivity. Finding purpose in my activities increases my self – efficacy. Have self – efficacy makes me feel like the bomb-diggity.
I currently have about 900 friends on facebook. I’m a social person and I generally accept friend requests from acquaintances. When I was in college, I was more open to accepting random facebook friend requests from strangers, but I no longer do that. However, with other social media, such as Instagram or Yelp, I’m more open to accept friend requests or “follows” from strangers. They contain less personal details of my life than Facebook and are more geared towards a common interest, so I feel, perhaps naively, safe.
I should probably clean up my Facebook friends list, but the task will be too exhausting at this point. Instead, I customize my facebook settings to receive updates and notifications for what matters to me, like my niece’s first birthday or a close friend’s graduation. Despite tweaking my facebook settings, I know I am still susceptible to occasionally feeling isolated or envious when I am using social media. Thankfully, they’re ephemeral and I don’t allow myself to sulk on others’ perceived happiness.
On a tangential note, I have read some interesting articles on how the rise of the “selfie” have made individuals more vain, another trait of millennials.