I read an article today that really caught my attention. The article introduced this idea of emotional porn. He talked about how he was addicted to all these falsified realities on Facebook and other social platforms and how it skewed his own reality. I will link the article at the end of this post. I found it very interesting and I realized that the appeal and destructive properties social media has are both in the same category.
Ever since I joined online in the age of social media starting with Xanga, living through MySpace, and now using multiple platforms, the main one being Facebook. I can remember one thing being the same on all of these sites and it wasn’t the appeal to virtually connect. The one thing I craved most was attention and positive affirmation. Starting with Xanga and MySpace, it was all about creating the best looking profile, having the best music, being the most innovative, and showing off the best pictures. Of course, updates also were a big part of it. Back then, I desired to be cool. I wanted the popular kids to like me. I hoped that through cutesy backgrounds and popping colors I could win their approval. On MySpace, I constantly changed my song to fit with what was popular. I posted my top 8 in hopes that I might make someone else’s top 8. Now, even through a simplified social platform, even Facebook gives users the draw for attention. By posting the latest controversial meme, taking a cute selfie, or telling your achievements we all are guilty of using Facebook to get the kind of attention we desire. Some like to stir up controversy and start fights. Others ask for sympathy by posting about their hard day. Still others show off how great their lives appear through glorious pictures or status updates. I know I’m guilty of all of it. I never realized until today, however, that this habit of constantly pulling for attention can be extremely destructive.
If we are real with ourselves, our lives are neither all good, nor all bad. We tend to only show one of those things on social media however. By portraying our lives a certain way, we are artificially manufacturing responses and pulls. How many people have posted a status that relieved no likes, then felt horrible about it? Is that really how we should value ourselves. Not only are we letting others opinions dictate how we feel about ourselves, but we are also creating the very situations in which we allow for this to happen.
So through the 10+ years I have been in social media, I have learned my value comes from how attractive I can make myself look online. From fancy profiles to Internet memes, I turned to these things to feel good about myself. As great as I think social media is and has been, I also think it has turned into something so destructive that it helped ruin my life and I can see it being even worse for my children some day. If used properly, I would love to stay in touch with old friends and distant family. I’d love to stay updated on their lives and see pictures of their new babies. Let’s be real though, it’s almost impossible to just do that. Social media is now a number one news source. It’s a place that has fueled this election. It has stored up riots and hatred. It’s a place that I’m addicted to yet I so badly want to stay away from.
I’m even going to be sharing this blog post on Facebook. Would I even still write if I didn’t have any readers? Today I challenge you to consider why you do the things you do. Is it for your own satisfaction? Or is it to find approval to gain satisfaction through others perceived satisfaction. Make choices today to help make you happy, then don’t post about it on social media. See how you feel. I challenge everyone that feels empty after doing so, to find and do something you can be proud of. The more you do, the less you will need others to be happy. You’re ALREADY amazing.
To link you to the article that inspired today’s ramblings: