I want to experience life with my own eyes instead of through a lens.
“Don’t post that picture until 5 o'clock, that’s when everyone is on Instagram. Maybe you should edit it too. Usually pictures with more likes are edited,” I hear as I’m sitting in the lunchroom. This is just some of the unwanted advice I get in order to become a Tumblr model. There was a time where posting pictures was just to share moments with others but now something so simple can determine your position in the social media world. I watch my classmates scroll through their lives, trying to photoshop the parts that they want to be seen, and adding filters to their daily activities to make it more appealing. As my peers try to direct me into the path of likes, retweets, and shares, I can’t help but wonder if all of this will matter in the future.
I am what you call today’s loser. As technology advances and social media trends continue, the desire for fame and self validation from others is becoming greater. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the idea of technology and development; having people support you around the world is a concrete benefit, however, I’m also okay with the small amount of followers I do have on Instagram. I don’t believe that the amount of “likes” I get on a selfie will affect my chances of becoming a successful woman or alter my identity. Being a talkative and an outgoing person is a trait of mine that I truly love and sometimes social media takes away from that. There’s something about connecting with a person face to face that you cannot get via Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. It is this belief that drives me to become a better communicator, instead of only relying on 140 characters including emoji’s.
My lack of a fanbase supposedly makes me more of a loser towards other millennials. I’ve never made a viral video, and I’m not Vine famous. There are people like the Kardashians who can post a selfie and will receive a million heart emoticons, then there are people who get so much fame and recognition from the smallest things like saying “Damn Daniel!” or flipping water bottles. It’s because of this, that most of this generation focuses on their fifteen minutes of fame instead of making something that will last a lifetime.
So what do I mean by today’s loser? I value things that may be considered “old school.” I talk on the phone, I still use Facebook and I’m definitely not the type of person to take promiscuous pictures and post them on Instagram. Not fitting in can be infuriating and sometimes lonely.
Even though I may not be the most known person on social media, I am one hundred percent okay with that. Maybe it would be easier to be like everyone else and go through my day as a social media junkie, but that’s not the way I want to live my life. I find the traditional way of working hard to become successful; more rewarding. I am an outgoing person who enjoys and takes pride in being able to talk to all types of people, whether it’s online or in person. It is a dream of mine to be able to share my ideas with the world in order to motivate and connect with others. My goal is to find meaningful ways to communicate through social media platforms. Therefore, I’m staying steadfast with my studies to be able to learn and contribute more to the media, and I feel the best way to start is to major in Communications. I accept the role as “Today’s Loser” but I also plan to gain the skills in order to become “Today’s Winner”; and the amount of followers, filters, and hashtags I have won’t stop me from obtaining my dreams.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.