Northwest Missourian Opinion

The holiday season is in full swing, and that means a few things. For starters, that one relative is going to say some slightly racist and uncomfortable things at family gatherings, some kid will get underwear instead of video games, and people will be comparing their Thanksgiving meals, Christmas selfies and crazy family members on social media again.

Social media can be a great tool, but oftentimes, it is a weapon that only inflicts harm on oneself and others. With the risk of sounding like an old man yelling at a cloud, I am going to ask you to stop trying so hard on social media.

Almost everyone has social media, with nearly 77 % of Americans having at least one social media account, according to Statista. That is, of course, excluding that one “cool” person everyone knows who doesn’t use social media and also doesn’t watch TV because they are trying so hard to be better than everyone else. Excluding the “cool guy,” everyone tries way too hard to appear to be something they aren’t. Perfect pictures and perfect captions are the norm, and people use that to compare themselves.

The flaw is seeing people’s social media as how they actually live their lives, which is just not true. Most people that are on social media are selective about what and when they post, carefully cultivating the perfect image for themselves. Those that aren’t selective are people that immediately end up unfriended and unfollowed because I am driven insane by the sheer lunacy of them posting “Walmart Trip!!!” once a week.

Social media is a cesspool of comparison, and it always seems like we are on the losing end. Someone on the timeline is always having a better day, eating a better meal or has a better job. 

It leaves us feeling empty and craving something that those people don’t even possess. Social media is doing the same thing as TV: setting up unhealthy expectations for everyday life that leave us sad. 

The characters in “Friends” barely work, constantly make dumb choices, live in perfect New York apartments and have fun all day. Obviously, that is unrealistic, and social media has the same effect, except it’s people we know living better lives than us, making it all the more hard to deal with. 

Social media users, myself included, spend so much time trying to get the best caption, photo or funniest tweet that we are inevitably disappointed when the reaction isn’t what we hope. Finding validation through online platforms leads to emptiness and sadness because the response is never as much as we want. And when it does, it only brings temporary satisfaction. 

Asking someone to completely quit social media is unrealistic with today’s society. Social media is woven into the very fabric of our lives from work to school to relationships with family members. However, one should absolutely worry about what they post in regards to future employment, but not in regards to making one feel better about themselves. 

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