Five Ways Social Media Changed Us

(Photo courtesy of www.arcompany.com)

Social media (n): A virtual stage where we have taken the old physical world and created a simulation of it online, in order to facilitate our communication with our acquaintances. Hence, the social media outlets were a means to be added NEXT to the physical and real world interactions… but NOT replace it.

Why as a community now we can sense that a lot has been lost in exchange for this fake living that we have – intentionally or unintentionally - prioritized? We have become a generation that is placed on the verge of madness. The thin line between a lifestyle and an addiction has blurred to the extent that we can no longer see where we stand in regards to narcissism, self-addiction, social media madness and reality.

Where is our reality? Have we become a reflection of what our social media accounts? Or are these accounts the reflection of who we truly are in this world?

Here are 5 ways in which social media has differentiated us from our ancestors:

1. Indulge vs. record

Our parents and grandparents led a different lifestyle where they cherished each moment and made the most out of life. They understood the value of each present and resoluted to enjoy it and indulge into every sensual experience it has to offer. As for us, we record it – missing out on all the beautiful senses we could experience during these moments and focussing rather on recording it for a future note and for the public to see that “we have been there and we have done that!”

2. Grow from every situation vs. share every situation

When our ancestors had a problem, they faced it, analyzed it, searched for answers and eventually dealt with it. We have a problem; we hold our phones, open our various social media outlets and express our problems differently through each outlet: on Facebook we post a long whining status about how screwed our situation is; on Twitter we brief the problem down to 140 characters; on Snapchat we take a sad-faced selfie and write a quote that reads “I am screwed!”; and eventually on Instagram we look for a deep and heavy quote that speaks about our crisis. That’s how we got conditioned to deal with our problems – through sharing them - with no attempt whatsoever to actually fix them.

3. Peaceful privacy vs. unnerving publicity

Our ancestors knew how to chill. They have been raised to learn how to enjoy their lives peacefully and in private terms without an incessant need to go public and viral with every single detail of their lives. On the other hand, we have an impulsive urge to share ourselves so openly with others believing that this falls under the umbrella of “freedom” and “unity”. But is this the real motive or has it become a necessity for us to show off everything online in order to “fit in” according to the new social image criteria?

4. Be who you WANT to be vs. become who you OUGHT to be

Our ancestors did not have newsfeeds that are swamped with pictures of people who influence their perceptions of the valuable attributes in a human being or their expectations for themselves and the people around them.

But we are overwhelmed! We have social media outlets that have an indirect reward system that gets us subconsciously conditioned to what and how we ought to be. This picture gets so many likes then its content must be repeated as it is endorsed by all those people; and if this picture gets very little likes that this indirect punishment shall teach us not imitate its content. Hence – with very little psychology background – one can decrypt the conditioning process we go through daily on the social media “likes” – conditioning us subconsciously about who and how we ought to become.

5. Self-acceptance vs. self-doubt

As a consequence, our ancestors did not endure that constant social pressure that molds one’s self-esteem. This pressure has eventually led us – the new generation - to an incessant self-doubt.

Whereas, our parents and grandparents had a safe and normal process of self-development and growth, that hammered on the importance of the personality leading to a sane Self-Acceptance.

Social media is essential in our era, it has become a necessity in our communication and networking. Thus it should be used, but NOT abused. Like anything else, if we stay on our social media outlets a reasonable number of hours per day we might be able to strike the perfect balance between indulging in our real lives while maintaining a moderate presence on the virtual platforms.

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