For the last couple of months I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about social media and my online presence. I hardly post on Facebook anymore, and my Instagram feed is filled with the occasional filtered Washington Monument and that’s about it. I scaled back my social media use heavily after I started working full time, hoping to fly under the radar and not be discovered by current and/or future employers. But somehow not raving about how precious and awesome and Pinterest-worthy my life is, I feel like it doesn’t really “count.”
I grew up on the Internet, in AIM chatrooms and message boards. Since I was 14 I’ve blasted my life for the world to see via MySpace or LiveJournal or forums or whatever, airing out my dirty laundry and not thinking twice. I plastered my heart and soul and favorite Dashboard Confessional lyrics all over the Internet. But then something changed. After I got married, I didn’t start a blog or create a joint Facebook account for my “hubby” and I. Thursday afternoons at the Farmer’s Market are hardly photographed, my Twitter feed is filled with inside jokes nobody laughs at, and my day-to-day ramblings are kept in my journals which are shoved under my bed. But I have a cute life, you know. We go to fancy restaurants and baseball games, but it’s like the old adage: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it…” If we went to the beach on Saturday and I didn’t post it on social media, does it count? I just assume that because I never post, people think I am boring and lame. I miss the gratification, and I won’t pretend like I’m above that. I miss the likes and the comments and knowing that my life was becoming something and everyone could see how successful I was. Who doesn’t crave validation?
This whole idea seems silly to those who never found themselves caught up in the endless cycle of social media. My husband rarely checks his Facebook and won’t even Snapchat his own wife. He’s so out of the loop and he doesn’t care, sometimes I wish I was that nonchalant about the 10,000 Tumblr posts I must scroll through a day. Where does my need for this social validation come from? And is it even the Facebook likes I’m looking for? I am trying really hard to shut down and log off more often. But maybe I just do that to say I’m doing it, because I like to pretend I’m above reblogs and YouTube when I’m so clearly not. I want 50 likes on all my Facebook statuses and retweets on everything I post on Twitter, but a small part of me just wants to be free.
So what’s the moral of the story? Let’s not take social media too seriously. Nobody needs to be reminded of this more than I do. I roll my eyes at those people who are constantly updating their status telling everyone to LIVE YOUR LIFE OFFLINE! They drive me crazy, but I am also trying to be more like them. Let’s try harder to recognize when our scrolling has stopped being enjoyable and is nothing more than a mindless time filler.
How plugged-in are you to social media? Tell us in the comments or (*laugh*) tweet us @litdarling!
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