We are living in the age of Social Media. Social media, that glorious place, where everyone seems to have perfect life. Perfect selfies with perfect face and smile, perfect photos of perfect families and perfect stories of perfect life. Everything looks so perfect, you would think, that everyone is always happy and have no problems at all.
The illusion of perfect life
However this illusion of perfect life creates many problems. Sharing only positive things what happen to you creates problems for both sides, you and reader. When you are sharing photos and stories of your perfect lifestyle it creates huge pressure to you. Pressure to stay in your lifestyle, even if you are not happy. Showing only the best of you creates this crazy comparison loop where everyone compares their fake lives to each other’s fake lives. Paradoxically trying to be perfect and happy all the time, you become unhappy. Not showing any weaknesses and comparing yourself to others are tools for destruction of self esteem. In our society vulnerability has been weakness. That has to change if we want to create healthier society. Comparing yourself to others means that you already have low self esteem. You must do some self-examination and find out why you have so low self esteem. What ever you do, don’t compare yourself to others and try to perfect. Perfection is illusion.
The rise of narcissism
Narcissism, excessive love of oneself. We all have some degree of narcissism. And some degree is healthy, but a lot is never healthy. It’s not healthy for you and people around you. In the age of social media it’s easier to be narcissist than in real life. You don’t have to go anywhere but you can share all of your superhuman performances on the social media. You can get a little bit boost for your conditional self esteem 24/7. Social media is great place to boost your already too high self esteem and think you are superior to others. But guess what, you are not. Even if you are successful medical doctor who just saved some homeless junkie’s life. You’re not any better than the junkie. Our actions doesn’t create our self-worth and we should not use them to get better self-esteem. Even though we have tendency to think so.
In this me, me, me culture we suffer. Narcissistic mindset, where we think life is only about us, and live like that, creates a lot suffering. Having narcissistic goals can feel great while pursuing them. After achieving your goal, you have great possibility to become miserable. For example, if you are ice hockey player and your identity is based on that you are an athlete. After you achieving your goals, on ice hockey, or after your career, you lost your identity. Who are you then if not an athlete? From narcissistic goals comes all that suffering which some cases leads to alcoholism, substance abuse or even worse decisions.
After all we are not narcissistic by nature. It is the media who tells you that we are narcissistic, aggressive and consumption oriented. In reality we are, wired for connection, compassionate and loving. Helping others creates more meaning us than having narcissistic goals.
You are advertiser for free
Smart phones, internet and social media, are all possible targets of addiction. With addiction I mean any behavior/substance abuse which we crave and can’t stop even though it has long term negative consequences. I have already said two examples of negative consequences of social media: illusion of perfect life, rise of narcissism. There are more to come.
If you don’t buy it, you are the product.
Have you ever wondered why social media is free? At least, I have. It’s free because you use it. You use your most valuable asset, time. More time you use there, more time you have to see all the advertisement of different companies. So you are the product, which social media sells to companies for free. Every time you like some post on Instagram or Facebook, more people it attracts to see that post. And you are doing it for free. Next time when you click something, think about what you are advertising for free. Also Facebook and Instagram sells your information, based on what have you searched and clicked, to the companies that then can target their advertisement for you.
The paradox of connectivity
We are all the time one click away to send message to other side of the world. Even though we can send messages 24/7, that it is different than face-to-face talking. In the social media we lack of emotional connection and really don’t know what other people think. You can add some cool emoji but it doesn’t show me how you really feel. One problem is that you can write to anybody and write anything what you wouldn’t say to them. That creates problems because people get butthurted by every comment, without knowing sure what the other meant, and think that they have right to do so. Seems like people doesn’t understand other people only by writing. Face-to-face connection is the only way if you want to discuss with somebody.
But nowadays social media creates problems even talking to each others because we carry and use our smart phones all the time. Carrying and using smart phone creates distraction on face-to-face discussion. I am not saint but guilty of using my smart phone too much when I shouldn’t. I feel, that in the age of social media I have distanced from my friends more than time before social media, even though you might think that the opposite would be true.