What has social media taught you?
I first signed up for Instagram in 2012. The main reason I joined was because everyone was on it. If I didn't have an Instagram, I would pretty much be non-existent at my school.
I distinctly remember giving my dad my iPod Touch (yes, back in the day they existed and people actually used them) and asking him to take a picture of me driving. I was a relevantly new driver at that time, and not a great one either (still not), So, as I was busy trying to look good on the pictures my dad was taking of me, I accidentally hit my garage as I was trying to park.
So what did I learn?
Honestly, not much. I still can't order a meal at a restaurant without posting about it on my Snapchat story. Can't get a drink at Starbucks without taking a selfie. Every Thursday, I think about finding a relevant picture from awhile back that I can post for #tbt. Every time I take a good picture and want to post it, I remember to wait until 7 or 8 PM when everyone is online, so I can get more likes.
Basically, if anything picture worthy comes up, I whip out my phone.
I guess it's the Hercules High School in me. From where I am from, if a picture didn't get enough likes, it had to be deleted. I am still guilty of doing this, honestly. No matter how great or sentimental this picture is, if I didn't get enough traction, it has to be taken down. In a simpler time, it was 11. 11 was the number when the usernames of the people who liked the picture don't show up. Instead, it just reads "11 likes". Why is that even relevant? As time went on, it became 20, then 30, then 40, and today, 70. There's math behind it too. I have about 1300 followers on Instagram, with a median like volume somewhere between 70 and 80. Technically, I am not getting as much likes as I should be, meaning people are inactive. So, I use an app called Followers to weed out users I follow who don't hit like on my pictures. This evens out my followers vs likes ratio.
But why do I go through all of this?
Honestly, I don't know. I still don't. I grew up in a time where you have to take a picture of your taco or post a picture with your grandpa on his birthday with a long message that he probably will never read, because pops doesn't know how to use the internet. In social gatherings I whip out my phone so everyone else can see that I'm having fun.
Because if no one else sees how I am spending my Friday night, then did Friday night really happen?
I am honestly really guilty when it comes to social media. It probably will also not change, no matter how hard I try. I am wired to be this way from the moment I got on MySpace. Back then, if you weren't someone's top friend, you weren't the shit. And then it was how many friends you have on Facebook, until mom and dad got on and ruined it for you. Then it was off to venting on Twitter under 140 characters.
Should we stop using social media? Nah. It's way to fun. In fact, it's contrary to my whole approach. I want followers. I want for more people to read my blog. What I don't want is to be obsessed anymore.
So, what should we do?
Let's unplug. I am trying this new approach. No one wants to know about what I am watching on Netflix anyway. Maybe next time I go to Disneyland, I'll focus on making memories with the people I am with rather than preserving them for attention. Maybe instead of making a 5 paragraph post about mom on her birthday, I'll write her a card.
You should try it too.
Not to say that I'm getting off social media completely. That's not the case. I love it too much. I have friends from all over the country, and all over the world that I want to keep tabs on. After high school happened, everyone disappeared here and there, and sometimes seeing someone alive and well on their Snapchat story can make my day.
What I am trying to do is not make my life revolve around hashtags and thumbs. Although it might take some time, I think I'll try. It may work, it may not. Follow me and see how I do, I guess.