Is Social Media Fake?8:59 AM
A couple weeks ago, someone chose to quit social media. She chose to remove herself from the toxic environment in order to find happiness in her life again. This one small, supposedly simple action went viral. That person, as most of you have heard by now, is Essena O'Neill.
She was one of my favorite people to watch on YouTube. Her videos are inspiring and entertaining. She was gaining a large following on YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and probably other platforms as well. Yet, she decided one day that she didn't want to be a part of it anymore. I don't want to explain why exactly she quit because it's best if you hear what she has to say about it from herself directly.
I wanted to share with you all my thoughts on social media. Here's my opinion. Social media is fake.
Social media is something we use to display our lives in ways that makes us happy and proud. We want to appear as if we are living crazy, adventurous, successful lives. That's because we are exposed every day through social media to the crazy, adventurous, successful lives of others. We don't just filter our pictures; we filter our lives.
Everyday, I get to choose what hairstyle to do, what outfit to wear, and what makeup to apply. If we can have the freedom to look how we want physically, why can't that same freedom be applied to how we want our lives to be presented to the public? Yes, it's fake because we aren't showing all aspects of our lives. We develop personas and we like to stick with them. But does that necessarily mean it's wrong? That it's bad? Yes it's fake, but why should we be instantly jumping to the conclusion that that's a bad thing?
I'm pretty sure you all know what a biography is. Biographies do not necessarily detail every single aspect of the person's life. They only document the important parts. In a way, the lives they portray are filtered too. Isn't the way we are using social media similar?
Social media should be something fun, something that helps us connect with others. We should partake because we want to, not because we have to. And it shouldn't be regarded as a bad thing. It should be seen as what it is: a tool for us to connect with others and to present our lives in way we want. That's just it. There's no good or bad. The only good or bad exists in HOW we choose to use it.
It's a tool. It's the user who makes it good or bad. Take, for example, a knife. A knife is a tool. It isn't inherently good or bad. Use it to chop up veggies for a stir fry, and that is a mighty good thing (because who doesn't like a good veggie stir fry, am I right?). Use that same knife to stab someone until they bleed, and that's not only bad, that's TERRIBLE AND MURDEROUS.
Social media can appear to be problematic. We can very easily feel like life is just one big competition because we are constantly exposed to others' successes. BUT when you think about it, why should we place all the blame on that? We are just as accountable because we are ALLOWING ourselves to be exposed and to be part of this. It's not about social media; it's about the power we get from it, and how we choose to use that power.
If we are feeling like social media is consuming our lives and becoming too toxic, why can't we withdraw ourselves without the fear of being judged negatively? Why are people talking so much about Essena leaving YouTube and Instagram? She chose to put her life there, so she has every right to remove herself when she wanted to. Essena chose to use that power for something else other than to uphold her online persona. She smashed down the screen to reveal her true self. Isn't that what we want of people in the first place? So shouldn't we be applauding her for her bravery in the present, rather than giving her hate on what she chose to do in the past?
Let's focus on what her message is. Her message hasn't changed at all, despite her departure from social media. She still advocates veganism, being true to yourself, doing things that make you happy. Only one thing has changed, how she is choosing to spread her message. But her overall goal is still the same.
Why are people hating on someone who is trying to find a better way to spread a message she feels is important? Oh look, a knife isn't working well to grind those almonds into almond flour, let's use a food processor. In other words, she is finding a new tool to use, is that a bad thing? Her message is still the same, if not clearer.
Two wonderful people also shared their thoughts on social media. Lucy from Loepsie and Kassie from Cloudy Apples.
Here's Kassie's video:
I love them. They are also people I follow on YouTube. I was really inspired by what they had to say about this topic. They shared some very good points, which I also agree with. Definitely check them out to hear more about this topic.
Yes social media can make our self-esteem go down the toilet. Yes it doesn't accurately portray our lives in the realest manner. But that doesn't mean it's bad. If the messages spread through this tool are valuable and inspirational, then isn't it a good thing?
We can make it a good thing. There are plenty of people who use it to spread good messages. We shouldn't focus on whether or not social media is fake, but rather we should focus on the influence of social media and what we can use it for.
We shouldn't be placing so much attention on Essena leaving social media. We should be caring more about what it is she wants to say. Yeah, okay she left social media. So what? Lot's of people don't use social media. I'm pretty sure there are at least two people in your family who don't. Don't lie to me. So, yeah she left. But what about the messages she's been trying to spread? Veganism and living your life for yourself not for others. Let's focus on that instead. Use that energy to debate about those topics instead.
Bottom line is, yeah social media is fake, but only to some extent. However much of a lie it holds depends on the person. It's only fake because of the person who made it fake. There are plenty of people out there who do not make it fake. If we can accept that the person down the street chose to dye their hair neon green, why can't we just accept the choices people make in how they want their lives to be displayed?
I hope I didn't offend anyone with what I had to say. I really wanted to share my thoughts on this topic. I know it was quite long so, thanks for reading!
What are your thoughts on social media? Is it fake? Lemme know in the comments below! I would love to read your thoughts on this topic.
Til next time,