You’ve experienced it and so have I — the gut-wrenching shame of forgetting to take a picture, because how else will the world know who we’re dating, who our best friends are and what we did last weekend? Were good times had if we didn’t put a picture up documenting them?
The number of likes we receive provides validation that we’ve “made it” and our comments are bogged down by fire, heart eyes and monkeys covering their mouth. Our addiction — one that’s on a much deeper level than people will ever understand — is real. We crave the approval of others through double taps and strategic emoji placement.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t yearn the support of my social media followers. It’s the fact that I’m able to admit that from time-to-time my life is dictated by what they think, that drives me to a point of insanity.
We’ve fallen in love with our enemy that is technology and social media. No matter how long we’ve been forcing our brains into stimulation or how deep the dent on our pinky fingers dive, we still have to push that home button every time we walk by the mobile device we’re trying to avoid.
We know we need to take breaks — we work all day staring at a computer — but social media knows we’ll be back for more, even if we were just there two and a half minutes ago. We simply cannot miss out .
Have we been tagged in a photo? Maybe someone tagged us in the comments of a funny video? I hope she posted the picture where the lighting is perfect from last weekend. Is my smile straight? Is the caption clever? Did they include a location?
Why is all of this so important to us, when it’s also not important to us at all?
Are we selfish? Superficial? Needy?
Maybe just all — or none — of the above.
Older millennials, generation x and baby boomers laugh at our need to be attached to our phones, but what they don’t realize is it’s all we’ve known. We’re addicted because it gives us the sighs of relief, security and even stability they often find in cable TV. It’s not a healthy addiction by any means, but it’s one we had no choice getting wrapped up in.
It’s more of a lifestyle, really. Did it actually happen if we didn’t post about it?
Although my head is smart enough to know I’m not defined by the amount of likes on my picture or the amount of tags I receive, my mentality is affected when the number doesn’t hit (at least) above 100 or the tags don’t come at all.
I beg myself to embrace the moment, to put the phone down and to avoid it at all costs during dinner, but maybe… maybe just a quick picture for my Snapchat story.
It’s real — so real that it makes me sick. We’re all in need of a technology — social media — detox, but do we really want it ?
My body (read: brain) is telling me yes, but young-aged millennials and generation z is telling me no. Being on the cusp is a tricky thing. There’s no time to pull back or to take a break, even if it’s what we crave. Our lives — both personal and work — thrive and crumble off of this exact problem.
The rest of society — those who don’t understand why we have our social media accounts as our iPhone home page — also tell me I need a break, but continue promoting and advertising every single lifestyle choice via technology and social media.
I’m not saying we have to unplug — because trust me, I won’t. Let’s just try to be a little more aware, a little more face-to-face. And if you need a phone fix, make sure you’re using it for good from time-to-time (because it can be a really positive thing), and not just to make sure you’re up-to-date with your feed and stories.
Because of our addiction — our lifestyle — our future is going to look a lot different than what generation x and baby boomers are experiencing now, but let’s make sure our grandchildren want to have face-to-face conversations with us about love, life and how to get the perfect filter on Instagram.