03/19/2015 05:18 EDT | Updated 05/19/2015 05:59 EDT

There's Nothing Social About Social Media

mobile apps concept. Mobile apps concept. Flat design vector illustration. Human hand with mobile phone, tablet, laptop and interface icons
Ellagrin via Getty Images
mobile apps concept. Mobile apps concept. Flat design vector illustration. Human hand with mobile phone, tablet, laptop and interface icons

I have come to have a love/hate relationship with social media. Take this post for what it is: a rant, a vent, or maybe for some it's just validation for their own thoughts. Isn't that why social media is so prevalent?! For validation or reassurance that your life measures up in the eyes of your own appointed audience. We chose our "followers" and "friends" with a sense of control, however it is them that ultimately controls us. Our status relies on other people, and we allow their judgement and comments to define us.

Social media is only social in the sense that it relies on people interacting. However a point and click of a mouse is a far cry from what I consider interaction. Genuine interaction is lost in social media. There is no body language, no context, no natural flow of conversation, and no emotions. Comments, shares and likes is sadly starting to become the basis of some people's self esteem.

Without recognition for what you are posting and sharing, comes a sense of feeling alone or left out. And that's exactly why social media is so appealing to everyone. It's a simple psychological need to want to fit in and feel accepted. Wanting to feel accepted isn't wrong, it's how we go about it in this generation that is damaging.

Acceptance is true appreciation of who someone is, complete with weaknesses and faults. A person in their entirety. However Instagram and Facebook only represent a small piece of the puzzle. It is simply a facade of how people want their life to look. This is not true acceptance. When was the last time you saw pictures of a couple arguing on date night, burnt casserole dinners, stained sweat pants, credit card statements or extra cellulite after gaining 10 pounds? You don't. Instead you see exotic trips, perfect hair, airbrushed bodies, expensive dinners and happy relationships. The illusion of a perfect life is not real. It's not sincere and it's not beneficial to our self worth.

It creates pretentious, insecure people. Heck, maybe if you've created an online empire that worships you and bombards you with constant appraisal and compliments than maybe it would be beneficial. But even then I beg to differ. Because true self-esteem isn't found in others. It's measured in your own self love. A strong self-esteem is not destroyed by others and low self-esteem is not built by others.

Of course social media has its benefits. I'll be the first to admit that I love the convenience of being able to type an email to someone across the world, send a quick text to arrange plans with a friend, post a picture for family to see, or the ability to reconnect with someone. However I still love picking up a phone to hear someones voice or making the effort to meet someone as opposed to texting for hours.

However, convenience sometimes leads to laziness which ultimately leads to procrastination. I was victim to this and found myself wasting so much time flipping through Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest with nothing to gain, and everything to lose. I lost time, confidence, and motivation. Social media essentially distracts us from the present and puts our focus on other's pasts and our lack of confidence in our future.

One day sticks out in my mind. I was watching home videos of my brother and I sitting near a street performer in a busy city. We were giggling and laughing amongst a massive crowd. I could not put my finger on what seemed so abnormal and then I realized everyone was engaged. Engaged with their partner, their kids, the performer, or simply engaged in being present on a beautiful sunny day. It was so surreal to see this. I picked up my phone, deleted all my social media apps and instantly felt liberated.

Then why do I have a blog and a Facebook account?! Trust me, some days I am extremely tempted to delete all social media, delete my blog, and disappear from the online world. However my passion is writing and inspiring others and until that passion disappears, then neither will I.

When the majority of society is involved in social media then sadly I would be even more anti-social to refrain from being a part of it. Am I a hypocrite for enjoying some social media? I personally don't think so because with everything in life I strive for balance and limits. Will I ever waste time flipping through Instagram? Nope. Will I spend hours pinning instead of creating? I hope not. Will I make a conscience effort to reach out to friends through genuine interaction? Yes. Will I allow other people's opinions and judgement of my life to dictate my own confidence? absolutely not. I already LIKE myself.


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