Confessions of a social media addict


Social media is life. Social media is king! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest make the freakin’ world go round. As one wise person once asked, “If you don’t Instagram your brunch, did it really happen?” I know we’d all love to think that we don’t depend on these things, but really, could you go a day without them?

I decided to give this blog a new look the other day, and I must admit I was pretty proud of the little social media buttons that I added to the sidebar: there’s a cute box below my profile that says “Let’s be friends,” under which there are four mint-colored icons linking to my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. But as I was checking to see if all the links worked, I suddenly found myself staring at a Chrome window with four different tabs open, each a different representation of my identity on different corners of the Internet.

Let me be honest with you. I have an eight-year-old Facebook, a Twitter account which has undergone several username changes, an Instagram that basically consists of dogs and cats and food, two Tumblrs (not including my angst-filled teenage private Tumblr that I deleted sometime in high school), a Pinterest that I sporadically become obsessed with and then forget about for months at a time, and a LinkedIn profile that makes me look a hell of a lot more qualified than I probably am. I also have two Gmail accounts, and consequently, two YouTube accounts that are linked to those Google accounts, and a Google+ profile that I don’t even want—thanks, Google.  

All of these forms of social media are supposed to reflect who I am. They’re a way for me to share a piece of myself to the public and for me to learn about my friends in return. But the thing is, being a part of so many different social media communities at the same time is actually really confusing. Between the casual, everyday life posts on my Facebook, the reblogs which don’t even belong to me that are on my Tumblr, the staged Instagram photos coated in different filters, the cryptic one-liners on my Twitter, the hair and fashion pins on Pinterest that I will never achieve in real life, and the professional profile on my LinkedIn, I don’t even know who I am anymore.

There is a similar confusion on the receiving end of social media, too. I was taking a bus home from the city the other day, and because I’m super nosy and have this uncontrollable habit of hyper-observing complete strangers, I kept peeking over at the guy sitting diagonal to me, who was on his phone for the entirety of the one-hour ride. What I was fascinated with was the speed at which he scrolled through his Instagram feed—I swear he was scrolling at a rate of three photos a second. How can someone retain any of what they are looking at when they’re scrolling that fast?! He did pause every once in a while to take a closer look at a photo. The first time was to check out some girls in bikinis at the beach. The second time was to check out some other girls in bikinis at the beach.

As much as I’d like to laugh at this guy, though, I know I’m guilty of the same thing. (The photos I pause at are usually puppies though—not bikini babes.) My point is, our computer screens and phone screens are so saturated by waves of statuses and pictures and gifs and hashtags that we don’t even surf the web anymore. We drown in it.

Now I’m not saying that social media is bad. I’d be a complete hypocrite if that was my message. But I do find it a little alarming that I am sometimes more connected to the ones and zeros zipping around cyberspace than I am to the physical world around me. It’s easy to get caught up in the world of the Internet, and it’s a ton of fun, too—but I think that every once in a while (like now), we just need to remind ourselves to look up and appreciate the rest of the world. To like not just Facebook statuses, but what we see with our own eyes. To discover a new favorite book, instead of just favorite-ing tweets. To enjoy your goddamn eggs benedict so much that it’s all gone before you even think of Instagram-ing it.  

I love social media, but I love life, too. It’d be such a shame if we forgot to live it.

-B.


5 comments

  1. Hi! Thanks for your comment on my blog. I just wanted to say that I've been struggling with this as of recent as well. My friend just decided to be rid of all social media after only having an Instagram, but I love my Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest (Pinterest, especially, because I am a teacher and can find lots of great ideas). And my LinkedIn profile also makes me look much more sophisticated! However, I will say that I find myself not taking as many pictures of moments I'm in because I don't want people judging me or because I want to be careful of creating a false life on Instagram, but then I have no pictures! The dilemmas of social media. :|

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    1. Thanks for your comment! :) I'm glad I'm not the only person struggling with this haha. And I know what you mean about trying to make my Instagram look pretty but then feeling like it's fake :/

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  2. Hi Brooke!

    I've just stumbled across your (latest) blog, and I am pleased to see that your writing is as insightful and full of verve as I remember it, if not more so. Also, you are definitely on to something here--I do agree with you that "we don’t even surf the web anymore. We drown in it".

    Such meditations remind me of when we used to converse about the state of society and other philosophies; I believe it was you who would always start a philosophy discussion group via Facebook, or literary/poetic blog. I miss that. Perhaps we can make an effort to revive that sort of discourse some time. In the meantime, you can definitely count on my readership. :|

    Where are you doing your graduate work?

    Tony

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  3. Tony! Long time no talk, dood :) Thanks for reading and for the compliments! And yes, I remember that Facebook group. I just looked it up again now and you were actually last the person to post on it...in 2008, believe it or not! You should blog too. I always liked your writing!

    I am going to Penn State next year - where are you off to?

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