Let’s face it. If you’re reading this, chances are you have a social media account of some form. Most of us started using it as a means of staying in touch with distant relatives, distant friends, or (As Facebook was once meant to be) to keep in contact with friends from college. Times have changed since then, leaving us with a dire need to check our friends’ statuses, stalk people we hate or who you once used to be friends with. Yes, Social media was morphed into something very much unrecognizable from the days of “old”. How did it happen, though? What part of our psyche has us scrambling for the phone at the mere thought of another status update? What part of us does it feed? I think I have an answer, and I think my answer is exactly why I may leave facebook.
As a young teenager, I remember sitting in the lunchroom, hoping and praying that someone else would sit beside me. The brightness of the room could not diminish the sadness I felt inside, seeing others flock towards another table as if I were the plague. Those moments of my childhood have haunted me to this day. It’s about acceptance. We all need love, in some form or fashion. We looked towards the popular kids because they were who we wanted to be. We wanted to be the one that everyone wanted to talk to. We wanted people to fight over who would sit next to us. It’s a way of feeling accepted for who you are. That you, as a person, are good and make people feel good in return.
Now, not all of us are those people yearning to be the popular kids. In fact, the mere thought of “popular kids” tends to make me laugh. What makes someone popular? The amount of friends they have? The type of friends they have? The brand and/or style of clothing they possess? I would have to say it’s all of the above. Those are all factors that play into a person’s “Popularity”. Truth be told, a “popular” kid has a particular number of friends, a particular number of acquaintances, a particular number of enemies, etc. How many close , true friends do they actually have? If you took away the glitz and glamour of popularity, how many of them would still be there? Probably not as many as you would hope for. That’s why so many people fight hard to keep their status. It’s the fear of everything falling apart before them. We put too much into others accepting us that the mere thought of losing that acceptance will put people into a panic. I honestly think that I am better off, having not been able to feel the rush of popularity.
So, how does that play into social media? It has EVERYTHING to do with social media! How many friends or followers do you have? “Oh, only 100? Wow, I have like 450 friends.” That’s actually something that someone said to me once. Popularity has escalated into a worldwide scale. Not only are we fighting for popularity from friends, families and old acquaintances, but we are fighting for the attention and acceptance of complete strangers. We, as a society, are wanting the attention of people from countries that we’ve never even been to! Why? Is it now the popularity control of “the further the reach, the high the score”? Is that what we have come to? Determining our self worth by how many likes, retweets, shares, +1’s or comments we get? So what, if you don’t get any likes, are you going to get more wild and dramatic with your posts in hopes to catch the attention of those you are striving to reach? Will you suddenly stalk friends of yours, finding jealous creeping its ugly head into your mind because they have other friends?
Social media feeds our need for acceptance, and when we don’t achieve it, some people tend to lash out at others in order to get it. Troll? They just want your attention. They like starting a fight because guess what? Then you’re talking about them, thinking about them. Girls put erotic photos on the internet, why? Because they want the attention of those people. They crave it! Why do people put controversial topics on social media or controversial pictures? Because they know it’s going to get attention. The more wild, the more crazy, the more people flock to it. And why does society flock towards those things? Why do we run screaming towards the posts, telling others of our hatred for what they have done? Because we want to be heard. We want others to hear our voice.
So, what do you do when people stop listening to you? What do you do when your friends and family stop caring about what you have to say? I have noticed lately, that my status updates tend to go unnoticed. Out of over 100 people, I might get two or three likes. And why is that? Are my statuses not interesting enough? Am I not popular or cool enough? Am I not controversial enough? Perhaps it’s all of the above, but I’m just not willing to change that. I don’t want to change the person that I am in order to get more likes, or to get more comments or words of encouragement. I almost did. And a few times, I attempted to push my own personal social media boundaries. Still, I didn’t get what I wanted out of that, and left me swimming with thoughts, chaos spewing from my pores. Who do I want to be? Who do I want people to remember me as? What part of me am I willing to compromise in order to get the attention of those I care about?
None of me. I’m not willing to change a thing. So, from this day forward, I have decided that it is in my best interests to step away from facebook. Yes, facebook is my downfall. So I will keep my account open, but I think my posts will stop, because I can not continue to hold my breath, hoping that someone cares enough to read what I have to say.