Social media: Is it taking over YOUR life?

PAIGE LISTON | OPINION COLUMNIST

Seventy-four percent of adults online use social networking sites, according to Pew Research Center.

This percentage surprised me; I thought the statistic would be much larger.

It seems as though we live in a day and age that is completely dominated by the Internet and its various forms of social media.

Living the college life is all about having fun and making memories that will last a lifetime. Often it seems as though people think these memories will cease to exist unless they document every second of their lives in their Snapchat stories or add 200 pictures to their new Facebook albums.

Most people have been there. If someone knows he will attend an exciting event, he think of the perfect picture to embody how much fun he had. This perfect picture comes to one’s mind long before one even attends the event.

After someone thinks of the picture, he starts to think of the perfect caption that is funny and clever but also casual enough to make it seem as though the individual did not just spend 10 minutes staring at the screen trying to decide the amount of emojis to use.

Just thinking about that process made me feel pathetic.

I can admit that, at times, I am guilty of letting social media control my actions.

What is it about displaying their lives on the Internet that causes people to go crazy?

Most current adults lived in a time when Instagram and Twitter did not even exist, and they turned out just fine. So why are these applications so crucial to our lives now?

Sophomore Bailey Beckham said she likes social media because it is an easy way to keep up with people she does not always get to see or talk to. She said she checks her social media at least once every hour, if not more.

“I think people are definitely addicted to checking their notifications on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook,” Beckham said. “They let it consume their time and their energy. And just like everyone else, I am guilty of this, too.”

I think the incessant checking comes from boredom. People always have to have their phones on them at all times. Once there is a lull in the conversation, people immediately whip their phones out and triple-check their Twitter feed or load new Snapchat stories just in case they might have missed a new post.

Sophomore Kailey Eaton said social media causes anxiety.

“I honestly think it causes unneeded stress in people’s lives,” Eaton said. “When you post something, your life becomes consumed by that post until you get an appropriate amount of likes or comments on the picture.”

I could not agree more. People will go so far as to delete an Instagram post if they are not getting enough likes within the first five minutes.

I would like to say it does not matter how many likes you get on a photo. If you like the picture, who cares what other people think of it? Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as people base the quality of a post on how well it resonates with their followers.

I agree that social media is a useful tool to keep up with friends that you do not always get to see. Even if you don’t get to talk to them all the time, you can still feel connected to their lives in some way by seeing what they are up to.

Social media keeps you connected in all aspects of life, but it is a shame that a what might have been a helpful and informative tool turned into a source of stress.

I think this needless stress would decrease if people made the conscious effort to put down their phones. If people were less consumed by their phones, then they would not be constantly comparing their lives to the pictures that they see their friends posting.

I think comparing lives fuels the need to stay updated with their pictures and their tweets, so that they can compete with the posts their friends put up.

This competition is unspoken and it is completely pointless, but, unfortunately,  most people, at some point, has fallen victim to it.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but you might find yourself enjoying life a little more if you place less importance on capturing the perfect “insta-worthy” moment.  Put the phone down and focus on living life in the moment.

Cartoon by Audrey Meyer

Cartoon by Audrey Meyer

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