It’s no secret that our lives are now completely controlled by social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and yes, even Pinterest, ultimately determines who we hang out with, where we go, and when we go there, in addition to destroying our ability to talk, think, and act like normal and competent human beings.
As if that wasn’t horrific enough, social media has also gained the power to sway our opinions of who should win the presidential election. It’s almost like we are unable to make decisions, personal or political, without consulting at least three social media sites to see where the rest of the world – who is also clueless of how to think on their own – stands on the issue.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not social media is really the problem, here are a few things you should consider.
1. We’re unable to ‘live in the moment’ because we’re too busy trying to make it Insta-perfect.
Living in the moment used to be cool – it was the ultimate definition of life. Just five minutes ago, teens everywhere were screaming the distasteful acronym “YOLO” at the top of their lungs and we were all singing along with fun.
What happened to the spirit of those unruly teens and their terrible grammar? Where did the magic go?
Now, we’re compelled to snap each and every aspect of our lives without actually living. And while we may share these intimate moments with our “friends” and “followers” we’re not taking in the moment, which is why our childhood memories, you know way back in B.I. times – before the internet – are so vivid.
I bet if you thought hard enough, you could remember the first time you rode a bike or the first time you kissed your crush. Those small fragments of our lives is what keeps us going. They give us hope and butterflies. And we didn’t post our bleeding knee or our rose-colored cheeks, we just savored the moment and saved it in our long-term memory bank so we could look back and say, “Do you remember when?” Because remembering when requires a story, not a Facebook post.
2. We’ve become illiterate.
Okay, so “illiterate” might be a little harsh, but I’m going to stick with that description because it is necessary to get my point across.
Unfortunately, internet slang words like “legit,” “totes,” “slay,” “BAE,” “cray,” and “yasss” are actually coming out of people’s mouths.
I think that in itself should sum up this point. If not, reread that list and let it simmer. If you’re still unable to figure out what exactly is wrong with speaking in those terms, then I suggest you read “The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins” or something of the like.
3. And anti-social.
Coming over and “hanging out” has literally translated into sitting adjacent from one another while staring deep into our screens only stopping to murmur “same” or “me” before we continue to scroll. What happened to actually hanging out? Or dating, for that matter?
Can you remember the last time you sat across from someone you really, really liked sans cellphone? If I had to bet on it, both of your phones were probably sitting on the table, that is, if Millennials still find it worth going to dinner anymore – and I’m not talking about going out for pizza.
How about finding a mate nowadays? How’s swiping left until your thumb rots off going for you? Why not just go to a coffee shop, or to Barnes & Noble, or to the bar to find someone – who you know is a real live human being – that you can actually speak to? Who knows, you might even enjoy it and laugh [out loud].
And, don’t even get me started on first time face-to-face interaction. Do people even shake hands anymore? Has eye contact been completely thrown out the window?
4. We’re angrier.
Aside from being unable to speak properly, reach out to someone we find attractive IRL, and greet others with sincerity, we’ve become exceptionally rude. Actually, “rude” doesn’t hold a torch to what we’ve become. We’ve become hateful and angry and there are statistics to prove it.
In 2015, Denmark’s Happiness Research Institute (yes, that is a real thing) conducted an experiment on 1,095 people in Denmark, who gave an average ranking of their current state of happiness at 7.6 out of 10.
The researchers then asked half of the group to stop using Facebook for one week, while the other half was asked to continue as normal. After seven days, those who were asked not to log onto the site reported their happiness at 8.12 out of 10, while those who continues to use the site made no improvements at all.
The experiment also showed an increase in real-world activity among those who were Facebook deprived – these Facebook users were reported as being less lonely and less angry.
According to a recent survey that examined users’ feelings about the “hostile social media environment” surrounding this year’s presidential election in the U.S. 57 percent of those surveyed said that Trump supporters are “very aggressive and/or threatening online.”
The poll, conducted by Social media consultancy RAD Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies, and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, surveyed 1,017 Americans over the age of 18, and found that 15 percent of respondents have unfriended someone on a social network because of an opinion they’ve expressed about the 2016 election.
The poll also found that 23 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, and 25 percent of Americans under the age of 35 “are most likely to unfriend someone they don’t agree with politically.” And, 14 percent of respondents under the age of 35 said their job could be at risk if they expressed political opinions online.
5. We’ve become blood sucking internet trolls obsessed with comparing ourselves to others.
If statistics aren’t enough to persuade you that social media is actually ruining every facet of happiness in our lives, then just take a look at your own Instagram feed and think about how that #fitspiration photo makes you feel.
Right, that’s what I thought.