Daniel White, Week 2 Blog Post – Worry About Yourself, Not What Stacy did on Snapchat Yesterday

Howard Rheingold got it right.  Social has a shape.  The way we socialize—at least the way we do so online—is very different from how humans have socialized in the past.  It’s calculated, it’s systematic, and it’s cold.  This post is probably going to sound really depressing, so I just want everyone to know that I still think humans are completely capable of socializing face to face.  I’m not one of those people who waves their fists lamenting about the death of good ol’ fashion normal human interaction, recounting how the young generations are slowly turning into robots.  Despite all the new age technology and the social barriers and bridges that come with it, I think we as humans can handle it.  That being said—before I get off on too much of a tangent—I do think that there is a huge problem with social media and media technologies and the way that it affects our relationships and the ways we interact not only with other people, but with ourselves.

Like the Chris Anderson and Michael Wolf article said, people are using the Web less and substituting it for easier ways to access the internet, such as apps.  Most notably among these phone, tablet, and computer apps are social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.  Now comparing your life to your friend’s is just a simple tap away.  As these social media outlets become more and more popular, anxiety and depressive behaviors rise along with it.  Rheingold pointed to a specific study in his article at the University of California at San Diego where political scientist James Fowler and Harvard Medical School sociologist Nicholas Christakis reported from their research that “people’s happiness is influenced by how happy their friends, neighbors, and coworkers are.”

Excessive time on social media is rendering individuals depressive and socially anxious.  As Amanda Enayati discussed in her article, people are literally becoming more depressed by the minute as they scroll through their friend’s social media feeds.  Here’s my diagnosis: The issue is that people think everyone is having fun without them.  When in reality, everyone is scrolling through everyone else’s social media feeds feeling just as envious and left out.

People fail to remember that their friends only post the good pictures from their lives, the good statuses where they’re having fun or being social.  Except for the occasional “Facebook complainer”, people pick and choose the moments they share on Facebook, selecting only their happy or bright moments.  Most people aren’t going to post on Facebook: “I’m so alone in my room right now with no one to keep me company except the silence of my nonexistent friends and the deafening screams of my anxiety shouting from the deepest, most vulnerable and insecure chambers of my soul.”  It’s just not going to happen.  People will, however, share a picture on Instagram about their new car, tweet about how awesome the concert they just went to was, or post a giant collage of pictures of themselves with their best friends at some party that you weren’t invited to.

It comes down to the fact that people need to use social media as a gift, not as a punishment for not doing as much with your life as Jim is down the street.  Sure, share a funny picture with some friends here or there, but for the most part, just be content with your own life and stop comparing it (digitally or otherwise) to others’.

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2 Responses to Daniel White, Week 2 Blog Post – Worry About Yourself, Not What Stacy did on Snapchat Yesterday

  1. Annie Kingman says:

    Daniel- I think you are so right about all of this. Actually, your post struck me because it made me realize how often we try to trick each other into thinking our lives are oh-so glamorous. It ridiculous. People actually say, “pics or it didn’t happen.” I start to wonder what motivates people to go out and do activities. Is it the joy of doing it, or more so the anticipation of throwing it up on your snap story so that your friends think you’re exciting. What’s worse is that people actually fall into the trap of believing that a friend’s Instagram account is an accurate depiction of their life. And, though we think we are tricking our friends, we are also tricking ourselves. Our social media profiles have become a backward source of self-validation. How often do we make fun of the friend who posts a selfie at the gym? How often do we turn around and do the same thing? I think we post these kinds of pictures because we want to validate, to our friends and to our very selves, that we have been productive today. The reality: we probably spent more time posing for the selfie than actually sweating, but hey, the proof is right there on my snap story. I was at the gym. And finally, probably the most worrisome self-validating mechanism we crave: the ‘like’. How many likes did we get on that prof pic? That Instagram? How many favorites on that tweet? These are the aspects of social media that worry me the most. We may be able to maintain face-to-face communication capabilities, but our means of social-perception have been grossly distorted.

  2. Tionna Outen says:

    Greetings Daniel,

    I truly agree with your post. The world would be a better place if individuals focused on their own lives and posted because they genuinely want to rather than trying to compete or seem happier than someone else. Additionally it’s funny you mentioned the “I’m so alone in my room right now with no one to keep me company..” part. Although I have not seen a post in those exact words, I have witnessed something along the lines of “I am bored and lonely and need new friends. Anyone want to text?” Which somewhat relates to your quote. Although humans rarely admit they are anxious or insecure, we can sometimes tell when that is the case. I believe that humans should just focus more on loving themselves so they can be happy and supportive of others in the future. Once we cease worrying about what others think of us and who has more or less than we do, we will be at peace. Similar to you, I still have hope in humanity and believe we are capable of many amazing things. 🙂

    Thank you for a great response,

    Tionna Outen

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