Do We Let Social Media Define Us?

Firstly, thank you so much to those that took the time to answer my survey regarding this post, I know it takes time out of your day so hugely appreciative for that.

“Although I haven’t really grown up without it, I think it’s changed the way I look at people. And changed the way I attempt to paint myself, even if I’m not happy I tend to act it on social media, simply because I want to project that I am to others.”

From the title, I’m pretty sure that you’ve guessed that this is another post on social media! I did write a post possibly a couple of weeks ago, but after much deliberation I decided I wanted to “delve” a bit deeper and actually find out other people’s opinions, hence mention of the survey.

“Social media does make me feel more appreciated. I try not to compare myself to other people but I always end up doing that as I feel they’re the ones judging me.”

“I like “likes” but I know it’s not a true representation.”

To be quite honest, many of my ideas stem from some form of personal experience, and so this post too, stemmed from a personal experience that took place a few days ago. The truth is, I am on my holidays in Denmark (beautiful country to be discussed another time) and of course holidays equal pictures, some with yourself or some not with yourself.

“I do think it’s a confidence booster. If you feel a bit bad about yourself and then post a picture on Instagram which gets a fair amount of likes, it almost makes you feel validated.”

So as you do, I walked around with my camera around my neck, did an excellent job of being a tourist, saw a photo opportunity and posed for a picture. Surprisingly, I actually liked the photo and so naturally that meant posting it for the world and his wife to see (bit dramatic seeing as I have less than 600 followers) nevertheless, I posted the picture feeling happy and less resemblant of a gremlin for a change.

“What people post is completely fine but I feel as though people are religiously on these networks and that the accounts define them.”

“I do feel as though social media and phones are a huge problem in modern society.”

I sat and waited for the likes to come in, but they didn’t and even when they did it was at a slow pace. Instantly my happy and confident outlook quickly turned to disgust at myself.

“I view it (social media) as an iceberg, 90% of that person is hidden as they only show what they want you to see.”

Was that picture really nice enough to post? Are people almost vomiting as they scroll past it? Do I need to go to Specsavers?

“I will compare myself to people who are prettier, thinner and more clever. It makes me feel less worthy and not good enough.”

Going from happy and confident to disheartened and shameful happened in a matter of minutes, and not because I didn’t like the picture, that was never an issue, but because nobody else did. I let myself feel that way all because of a few likes. Ridiculous right?!

“Social media is a good way to reassure myself, it’s a general mood boost and can give a feeling of validation.”

Now I know you’re probably thinking, for gods sake get a grip. 19 years old and worrying over how many likes a picture I post gets. But the truth is, I don’t truly care who likes my picture but we seem to have built up this idea that more likes mean better.

“You can see people who are really confident in their own skin only get for example 5 likes on a picture, but someone can get 5,000 likes and still feel like it isn’t good enough.”

More likes mean prettier, more likes mean worthier, more likes mean – what does more likes actually mean?

“My Instagram isn’t a true representation of me because I know no one would like to see the real me. It makes me feel accepted by some and hated by others.”

Since when do likes matter all that much, and yes I do say this like I wasn’t sat pondering the exact same “problem” a couple of days ago!!

“People tend to put a lot of value on what is and isn’t liked. I’ll delete something if it doesn’t hit a certain amount of likes in a certain amount of time.”

I did ponder this for a while and came to the conclusion that I’m the only weirdo who cares that much about likes on my posts – however as is the case for most of my problems, I took to social media for some answers! We really do have a love hate relationship…

“By surrounding myself with pages which preach positivity and opening myself up to follow loads of different people, I’ve become more loving and accepting.”

It really is surprising how much we, as human beings, can relate to each other even when it comes to something as simple as the way a social media platform can make us feel. I think we tend to isolate ourselves a lot of the time when we feel a certain way because we decide that it’s abnormal, purely because we don’t know of anyone else who feels the same.

“Social media can be so deceiving at times and this can have a massive negative effect on young impressionable kids/teenagers (and adults) by making this transition (discovering who you really are) harder because it shows far too many “perfect” lives and not enough reality.”

“Everyone’s social media is a front of how they want others to see them. I don’t post Instagrams as much because of the anxiety of not getting the right amount of likes etc.”

The biggest thank you to those that answered the survey, it’s always a massive help and I was truly blown away by the amount of response I got. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

“It’s dangerous for body image because there is photoshop and editing and filters, it’s all fake.”

Do you think we let social media define us?

Ciao for now x

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.