29 November 2017

Social Media: The Pressure of Perfection

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a social media addict but, who isn't? It's my way of checking on current affairs and catching up with friends. There's nothing I love more than bombarding my friends with gifs and sharing my writing with the world. It's a wonderful way to make dreams come true, to meet new people and to share achievements - believe me when I graduate, I'll be sharing it for years.

  I got my first phone when I was 9 years old. It was a pink Motorola and all I could do was text, call and play snake. My Mum and Dad got it for me because I was at an age where I was playing out with my friends and it was an easy way that I could check in to let them know where I was. That was it. There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - all I had was an hour on MSN every night. It sounds lame but I'm glad I grew up in the generation before iPhones - believe it or not, our entertainment was a trampoline and learning the dance routines to High School Musical. 

I joined Facebook in 2011 after convincing my Mum that all of my friends had it - she'd always been against the idea because she was scared I'd get bullied. Then two years later I joined Twitter and Instagram and since then, I haven't looked back. 

I want to stress that it's really important to take some time away from social media. I understand that it's the perfect way to socialise on the go, but there's nothing like going out for a few drinks with your friends and actually talking face to face. I went to Wetherspoons the other day with one of my friends and a couple were sat next to us, neither of them talking, just both on their phones. It really shocked me - if any guy ever did that to me when we were spending time together, I'd be straight out of that door. There's a time and a place, and spending time with loved ones is definitely not it. Fair enough if you're calling a taxi but put your phone on silent and just bloody talk to one another - it's really not that difficult. 

The version of ourselves that we share with the world is the best version we can create - we barely show our bad days and we'd never dream of posting that awful selfie we took with our friends. This creates the illusion of a perfect life when in reality, it's very far from it. You scroll through Instagram to see a snapshot of someone's day, two seconds of what they've been up too. They could've been having the worst day imaginable but that one shot of their costa coffee lets you know that they're having a great time, or does it? Let's face it, you can’t trust everything you see.

I always see my friends stressing out because they've taken a really nice picture and they want to upload it to Instagram but it doesn't match their theme. Seriously, who has the time? If you want to post it, then go ahead. Wasting your life worrying about your Instagram theme is not the way forward. It doesn't have to be perfect because life isn't perfect - the sooner we realise that, the better. Your profile is your profile for a reason - you can share what you want to share (as long as it's not offensive). I always feel bad for posting my Disney photos on Instagram (because I have thousands) but I like them, I think they're cute so I'm gonna share them - don't let people dictate you. It's not about followers or likes, it's about you feeling comfortable and happy.

The two photos above were taken by my friend Emma on a recent outfit shoot for her blog. The first photo is a candid Emma took of me preparing for a photo, and the second photo is of me dancing to a car alarm. Which one would I choose to share on social media? The first one obviously. The point I'm trying to make is that people choose what they want to share and it takes so many goes to get that perfect shot. For every decent photo, there are at least 50 goofy ones. It's also a good time to mention that people edit the heck out of their photos. Don't get me wrong, I love a good filter from time to time but the number of times I see my friends blurring the dark circles under their eyes and editing out their blemishes is really upsetting. It's sad that they feel like they have to do that because there's a pressure to look perfect.

 Social media has turned into one big competition and I hate it.

This is me and my friend Mitch. If it weren't for Twitter then we'd never have met and I'd never have been blessed to have such a wonderful human being in my life. It's true what they say, social media really does allow you to meet like-minded, lovely people. But like all things, this comes with an added pressure. 

I never try to be someone I'm not, especially on my social media profiles as I think it's important to always be yourself. I like to think that I'm exactly the same online as I am in real life - goofy, funny and a bit sarcastic. But when I meet someone for the first time, I can't help but feel an added pressure - what if I'm not the person I am online and what if they're disappointed? I don't want to let anyone down. Luckily for me, making a whole bunch of friends online has massively boosted my confidence and I'm the happiest I've ever been in myself. 

Nevertheless, I still think that social media puts a lot of pressure on people and convinces them that they should be doing what everyone else is doing. One example of this is University. I'm glad I've had the experience but if I could go back to 2015, I'd probably wait until I knew what I wanted to do. The only reason I applied for Uni was because it's what everyone was doing and I didn't want to be the odd one out - obviously, I realise now that it was stupid of me, but there's no point in dwelling on it, I can't go back and change it. 

Speaking of Uni, I think that social media is such a distraction. After I finish this post, I should start writing an assignment that's due in tomorrow but the chances of me getting distracted by Twitter are very high. Being in my final year of Uni is so hard because even my course is on social media and it's impossible to get away from it. The only time I get a break from having my phone glued to my hand is when I take the dog for a walk - it's amazing how clear my head feels when I come back. 

Social media isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, I just think that there's a time and a place to use it. One thing my Mum said to me when I was 16 is that one day I'm going to look up from my phone, I'm going to have no family and I'm going to regret all that time I spent scrolling through Instagram when I should've been spending time with my loved ones. 

The inspiration for this post came from the 'How Little We Know' podcast which you can download here. Give it a listen if you can, they make some really valid points and it's a good topic to discuss. Also, thanks to Mitch for telling me to download it, it's a topic I could talk about for days.

Let me leave you with this: 

 Just because it's not on social media, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Lots of Love


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