1. That you are not the summation of your comparisons to other people. I think that many times, we have the tendency to see other people’s (usually feigned) happiness and success plastered across digital platforms and we somehow start to feel completely unaccomplished and inferior. In fact, research has proved this to be true.
2. In feeling substandard to the status updates and engagement photo shoots and accomplishments and smiling nights out, you are tapping into what each one of the people who incessantly needs to post and share these things is feeling too: the need for affirmation and a way to move past insecurity. This is important to realize about ourselves, but also for other people: the fact that what we’re seeking by announcing and posting on these public platforms is a sense of worth and social clout by the modern way of “likes” and “favorites.”
3. Internet presence does not actually determine one’s place in society, so you don’t have to keep yours up voraciously if that’s not what you’d like to use your time for. You have to understand that there are other outlets for social gratification, if that’s what you are seeking. More than that, though, you should probably try to figure out why it is you’re seeking that.
4. If your life has become more about going out to take photos and show to the world all of the great, fun things you’re doing because you want to show people what a great, fun person you are, it’s time to reevaluate, because live should be for living, enjoying, experiencing and growing, not proving to other people that you’re doing all those things.
5. When it’s time to log off. I have seen relationships end and lives become consumed by phones and message boards and “Facebook stalking.” Decide what means more to you.
6. How much you want to contribute to the internet cess pool of complaints and negativity. You don’t have to judge other people for what their limits are, but you also don’t have to engage in it.
7. What upsets you, be it a social network, website, etc. and how you can garner the discipline to just stop visiting that site or page.
8. What information you do and don’t want to present, and what it will mean for you professionally and otherwise. In the age of LinkedIn and the looming threat of college admissions and job recruiters analyzing our online presence, it’s not to say that these things don’t matter. Sometimes it’s worth airing on the side of caution with privacy settings. Most times, it’s very important to take the “bigger picture” into consideration.
9. What you need to do to say goodbye. Watching your ex be happy (or feign happiness) without you will not make it better, or make you love them less. As much as the digital age has made strides in keeping people connected, it’s also created new difficulties, because there are some doors you are supposed to shut and not re-open.
10. What you consider to be monogamous dating, and other romantic social staples that have become blurred due to the internet. You need to figure out how seriously you take “Facebook official relationships” and make sure you’re on the same page with your partner.
11. That we all have within us the capacity to be unreasonably jealous and mean, and the internet does nothing but help facilitate that. Using social networks to “stalk” people and comment negatively on them might make you feel better right now, but is ultimately a terrible thing to do. We are interested human beings, and we’re most interested in the affairs of others. This is normal, and to be expected, especially when we can watch people’s lives play out in front of us. But what we have to start realizing in the digital age is that we are tempted more and more to comment negatively on people’s lives because of how they threaten whatever images we have of ourselves in our heads.
“Behind the glamor, the glitz… it’s just selling us, constantly, an idea. And it’s not like you can just sell products. You need to sell the entire context… you have to sell the concept of glamor… the movies, the newspaper, all of it creates a frequency of consciousness that’s constantly spellbinding you into a state where a Galaxy phone seems like a good idea.”
It began at thirteen, breakfasts hidden in desk drawers, flushed down the toilet, and, when the toilet had backed up, its pipes blocked by bananas and boiled eggs and buttered slices of toast and so much cereal and so much…