Social media: An unfortunate impact on society

I have been noticing a trend in many (not all of) the people I’ve met in the recent years of my life. It’s an inability to hear, or genuinely listen to/care about what people are saying, because they are only concerned with what they’re going to respond with or how they can turn the conversation back to something about them. Everyone knows someone like this. It’s the person who will ask you how your day is going and respond to what you said with, “Oh I TOTALLY know what you mean, my day…” and then they go off about how fabulous/horrible/busy their day has been without even acknowledging you said anything about yours.

Sometimes, I wonder if this is just a trend of the era we live in. With social media being such a big deal now, everyone feels the need to post about their lives and show how amazing it is. Everything has somehow been made into a way to make a statement or show yourself in a positive light. The way you tell if people like you or if they like what you’re doing is by how many “likes” you can get on a status update or photo. What’s worse is how not having likes makes us question what we posted. “Was that sarcastic joke lame? Do people think I look ugly in that picture? Are people going to think I’m annoying if I post this?”

It’s pathetic really, how much social media rules our lives now. I heard on the radio (reliable source, I know) a few days ago that the average teenager spends roughly nine hours per day on social media sites. NINE HOURS. That’s 1/3 of the day spent comparing their lives to someone else’s or reading some post that really isn’t at all relevant to becoming a better human being or a useful member of society.

As cliche as this sounds, I’m #blessed social media wasn’t part of my childhood. I would have gone crazy, especially when I was in middle school and deeply concerned with the opinion others held of me. I instead spent my time reading books that helped me learn how to correctly punctuate this blog, unlike many people who have started blogs to share their “fabulous” lives by writing about their fashion and daily lives, as if anyone really wants to read that. Honestly, I cringe when I read half of them.

The biggest problem I see with the social media trends is people becoming self-absorbed, which brings us back to my first point. The internet has become a platform for people to share their opinions on anything and everything, which has potential to be a very positive quality. Only we aren’t really getting it. We are sharing our superficial opinions because we think everything we have to say is important and we think other people will agree with us. If we didn’t think people would agree, we wouldn’t post it because of our need for constant affirmation from others. We write about things that don’t matter, for people who don’t matter, to prove to ourselves that we matter. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s translating to our lives outside the internet. Self-love is important, but humility is too. We need to find a balance.

“Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.” -Dave Willis