Social media is a tricky thing.
It’s a great tool for businesses to market to their audiences, it’s a great way for people to keep up with friends and family, and it’s a great way for everyone to share their ideas and content and make connections with one another.
I love social media. I even study it in college as a communications major. But I also recognize that, with the wrong mindset, social media can become a place for comparison.
Scroll through your Instagram page. What do you see? Photos of you and your friends laughing at a fun party you went to last weekend. A picture of you smiling with your birthday cake from last year. There’s something missing though. Where are the pictures from the other night when you sat in your bed and cried because you had so much homework to get done? Where are the pictures from that day you and your boyfriend got in an argument?
Social media is a tricky thing.
The comparison game sucks. I find myself comparing all the time.
This person is better than me because they have more followers. This person is better than me because they look so much happier. This person is better than me because they are prettier than me.
The thing is, there’s a huge flaw in this comparison game. Social media only shows a small, curated and edited version of someone’s life. When we compare ourselves to others on social media we’re taking this tiny fraction of someone’s life and comparing it to our entire lives. And we see nothing wrong with that. But there is so much wrong with that.
Social media is a place for people to share the parts of their lives that are worth sharing. We don’t share the boring, low parts of our lives. We don’t post those pictures where our stomach rolls look a little bigger than usual. We don’t post the pictures where our hair is out of place. We don’t post those pictures where we have a double chin showing because the angle was wrong. We post the pictures that we chose out of the 45 other ones we made our friend or our mom take for us. We post the pictures that have perfectly planned filters on them that match the rest of our feed.
Think of how much effort you put into your social media. Think about what your life looks like online compared to the entirety of it. Pretty different things, right? So why would you compare the entirety of your life to someones online life?
People claim social media is toxic. I don’t think it is. I think our mindsets around social media are what’s toxic. We curate each little thing we post to make sure it seems like we have the best life ever, but then fail to realize that everyone else is doing that too.
From now on I’m making a pledge to myself and my wellbeing to stop comparing myself; especially on social media. You should too. We owe it to ourselves to work towards being 100% content and happy with our lives. Let’s all try to be more real on social media and recognize that social media isn’t everything, and certainly doesn’t give you enough information on someone’s life for you to judge that it’s better than yours.
Social media is a tricky thing. But if you take it for what it is and not get trapped in comparisons, life gets a whole lot easier.