Social media. It’s an invention that has been a blessing and a curse to me in equal measures. My expertise in the field became the foundation of my adult career, indeed my job as social media and creative strategist didn’t exist a decade ago, and my blog, which I have for years promoted through various social media platforms, has given me so many great opportunities and given me the chance to show what I am all about to an international audience that I can’t deny how important being connected and constantly “social” is in my life and how at time I have caught myself scrolling down my feed even when there a lot more interesting things like the company of a good friend to be enjoyed.
That however isn’t my main issue with social media. No it is the simple fact that it has actively led to me feeling a lot more anxious than I should be given that I have pretty good life with a job I love, friends that I can count on and good health.
Indeed being of a rather nervous disposition anyway I have often agonised for hours why a pic wasn’t getting as many likes as it should in my eyes (especially after spending even more time debating which filter to apply and which final image to pick), wondered why certain bloggers had gained hundreds of thousands of followers since I started and I was hovering at the 5k mark for years (though I do believe in quality not quantity) and on a more every day level caught myself questioning whether I have done something wrong or have been a bad friend when I saw friends posting insta stories galore but was yet to receive a reply to a WhatsApp sent days earlier to them.
The worst thing about all this worrying?! It achieves absolutely nothing and is a complete waste of time and energy. It’s kept me up at night more times than I’d liked to admit, based on some kind of FOMO whether it’s about where I am with my career or friendships and sometimes boils down to the simple desire to be validated, accepted and loved. The problem of course is that true happiness and being validated by others doesn’t come from someone pressing “like” on some picture that in no way reflects reality, it comes from within and from the people that really care about you, that don’t exist through a screen but open a bottle of wine with you when you’ve had a terrible day at work.
Ignorance is bliss and I feel our generation has sadly lost this privilege. I for one don’t need to always see the things that I am “missing out” on. 2018 will be the year when I don’t eagerly wait for a reply the minute I see a double blue tick on WhatsApp and worry what I have done wrong when I don’t get one, or count the likes on every post as if my life depended on it.
Of course I will still post on social media because I love wearing my outfits, eating delicious food, travelling and documenting it all with my snazzy iPhone X, and of course I still work in the industry and i have to hope it stays around to keep me employed but social media and our digital world should be about connecting with people and sharing ideas not, as I have felt a lot last year, about making us more lonely and anxious than ever before.