In January I took three weeks off Instagram to focus on other, more important, things. During that time I read three books and as a family we went on two hikes, watched zero sports and I even deleted my Facebook for a week or so. Now I’m back on Instagram and I’ve re added my Facebook account and through it all I’ve realized something; I really despise social media.
I might be alone in this but my guess is that I’m not.
I can’t stand the constant heavily filtered photos (of which I’m sometimes guilty), the artificial “relationships”, the constant political drama (again, sometimes guilty), and above all the fake poses that never happen in real life.
I will fully admit that I’m immature in some aspects of life, particularly my judgmental thoughts of others. It shouldn’t be this way but sometimes my opinion of someone can be completely changed from a positive view to a negative view just because of something they post on social media. It doesn’t even have to be political. It might just be a picture that they spent time posing. Rearranging items in their house, dressing a certain way, and posing their body in a certain way, just for the attention and the likes. That drives me bonkers and when I see someone do that I think that they’re stupid (I told you I have judgmental thoughts about people every once in awhile).
When people make political posts of any kind, even if I agree with them, I generally think they’re a moron. Facebook is never the place for political discussions or arguments. Again, guilty.
Of course I know these people aren’t actually stupid. Usually. I just think the idea of someone trying so hard to be seen on social media is stupid. Now I will say that, once again, I’ve been guilty of this, once or twice, maybe a little more.
I think there’s three reasons people do this. The first is that when we get likes and positive comments on our posts a chemical is released in our brain called dopamine. This neurotransmitter (possibly the biggest word I’ve ever used in a blog post) releases a chemical in our brain that helps control the reward and pleasure centers of our brain. (If you want to learn more about dopamine read the hugely successful book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg).
In short: getting likes on social media makes us feel good.
Secondly, the reason people may seem artificial or posed on social media is because they’re actively trying to build a brand or business. Wild guess here but that’s probably less than 0.01% of the users on social media. These people are not who I’m talking about it, I get it, they’re hustling and posed photos look really good when you’re building a brand. It’s what people like.
The third reason that people try so hard to be cool on social media is that deep down inside every one of us is longing to be part of a community of people.
Humans were designed to be in relationships with others. It is not good for someone to live in isolation and in fact studies have proven that socially isolated people are more likely to die an early death.
That being said, I see something all the time that bothers me to my core.
People, who try so hard to be a part of some kind of community on social media, when physically gathered with others in a social setting, usually end up on their phones aimlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. The thought, I guess, is that they don’t want to miss out on anything, but by staring into their phone they’re literally missing out on life right before their own eyes.
I see it all the time and I think one word accurately sums it up: tragic.
It’s a tragedy that people spend so much time on social media. It’s no longer a way to stay in touch with friends and family it’s a battle to see who’s life is the best. At least best as defined by the social media universe.
It’s a tragedy that so many people are letting their lives pass by without taking time to build real relationships with friends and family. Most gatherings are spent with people staring at their screens instead of looking at each other.
There is good news though. We can fix this epidemic of anti-social media that threatens to degrade relationships. It’s so simple to fix that by doing just TWO things differently we will begin to spend more real face time with each other.
1 Leave your phone in the car when you’re at someone else’s house.
Oh my god! What if I want to send a Snapchat to someone of what I’m doing?!
What if I want to post something on Instagram?!
Relax. It’s not that big of a deal. When you’ve completely removed the temptation to get on your phone you’ll be able to fully invest yourself into the people you’re currently with and you won’t seem like so much of a jerk by being on your phone instead of participating in the present.
2 Sign out from all social media for 24 hours once a week.
What if I think of something funny to Tweet?!
By doing this you allow a reset of sorts. I’ve been doing this for a few months and it feels so good. It’s just a simple way to put things in perspective. Usually we spend more time outdoors during this period or I finish a book. Whatever it is, it’s at least not scrolling through social media.
And that’s it! Of course you can always do more but just doing these two things has made a world of a difference in my life. After doing these things I tend to think less people are stupid and I start to see them for who they are, and not what they just posted online.
At the end of the day I think we just need to ask ourselves if we’re investing more time in real relationships with real friends or more time constructing creative social media posts.