Has Social Media Destroyed a Generation? | Teen Ink

Has Social Media Destroyed a Generation?

April 22, 2018
By cindy_tran BRONZE, Ho Chi Minh City , Other
cindy_tran BRONZE, Ho Chi Minh City , Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Nowadays, people are “living” on the Internet more often than in real life. Social media has become an essential part of our life. Accounts are being created with billions of identities throughout the world. Every day, millions of posts and tweets are posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. Although these social media outlets are intended to be used as a means for people to share genuine moments of their life with friends and family, some people have decided to make their lives appear more enjoyable on these platforms than in reality. Hence, I do believe that what people show on social media do not reflect how their lives are in reality.

A survey around the world affirmed about six million Britons lie on social media on a regular basis. Based on the Barclaycard survey, two fifths (39 percent) of the people told lies because of feeling pressured to portray their life as fun and upbeat. Approximately one in three admitted that without the white lies their lives would be too boring (Warman). As you can see from the survey, we lie because it makes us feel like we're a part of the "happy social life". Obviously, we want people to think we're having a wonderful time and build up an image that our life is perfect in other people’s minds.

Another reason why people usually lie on social media is because they want to make their peers jealous of their lives. Millennials value money, image and fame more compared to previous generations (Moneyish). Generations these days tend to focus more on social media than what actually happens in reality. The aim is simple: the more followers and likes you have, the more fame you achieve on social media. Some people are willing to do anything to get likes and followers so that they'll get more recognition than others. We can literally spend millions of dollars to buy followers and likes on Instagram or stay up all night to achieve a Snapstreak on Snapchat.

According to a recent survey, 68 percent of people admitted that they exaggerate and lie through their posts. However, the most surprising thing is that adults from the age of 18 to 24 said that they had forgotten their memories on those past events they'd posted.

According to some research, “digital amnesia” is a phenomenon where people are convinced that what they had posted on social media are actually true in real life (Shoemaker).

… the dark side of this social conformity is when we deeply lose ourselves or negate what authentically and compassionately feels to be 'us'; to the degree that we no longer recognize the experience, our voice, the memory or even the view of ourselves. When this starts to happen, feelings of guilt and distaste towards ourselves can create a cognitive trap of alienation and possibly even a sense of disconnection and paranoia (Shoemaker).

This means that when our real selves and fantasy selves collide, something disruptive will happen to our bodies. We will feel that we're not as bold and witty as we think we are.

In addition to this controversial topic, I would like to share with you one of my experiences on social media. Last week, I just bought a package from a store I found on Instagram. The shop looked pretty cool and some of their customers' feedbacks were positive; all in all, it looked like a decent shop to shop on. Then I ordered a few items from them and decided to share my house address so they could ship the package. They said that I could pay them when they had delivered the package to my house. I expected to receive the goods within two days. After a long time, my order didn’t arrive yet, so I contacted the shop and asked how much longer it was going to take them to deliver to me. They said there were some “difficulties" while shipping, so it was going to be delivered by the following week. Finally, after decades of waiting, my package arrived, and it looked really good: everything was clean, and there was no damage or anything that happened to the box. I quickly opened my package with an exciting feeling, but my mood quickly turned upside down. The clothes were not even as half pretty compared to the picture I saw online. The design was the same, but the materials were different. Immediately, I contacted the owner; she saw my message but didn't text me back for 3 days. And that's how I found myself blocking their Instagram account. In general, I lost my money but also learned a pretty good lesson: you can't trust anything you see on social media and think it will actually look exactly like that in reality.

Have you ever thought whether you actually do all the things that you post on social media? You said you were hanging out with a group of close friends, and all you did was posting selfies and group photos on social media so that it seemed like you were having a great time. But did you? If you're trying to lie to people on social media about your life like going on a vacation and eating a fancy meal at a formal restaurant, then actually do it. Would you rather create a perfect life in the virtual world or actually experience it in reality?

The author's comments:

I wrote this in my Exploratory Writing's class 

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