This is the era of social media, we have never been more active: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Skype, BBM, WhatsApp, WeChat…you name, we’ve got it! But sadly, our relationships are crumbling at an alarming rate. With all this communication, one would think our relationships would be stronger than ever, but in fact, suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide, we are as insecure as ever, and many (young) people (that we know) are suffering from depression and loneliness. What role is social media playing in this? We have misjudged the importance of social media in our lives and we have given it the power to define who we are. Instead of using social media to stay in touch with one another, we are using these social media platforms as a means of defining ourselves and competing with one another. It bothers me sometimes who we’ve turned into. It is sad to see what we’ve become…
We’re the generation that waits for nothing. We seem to be in a hurry to grow up; to marry; to parent; to die… we want success we have not worked for, respect we have not earned and flourishing relationships we have not invested in. Anything that costs us pain, we reject. Anything that demands patience, we ridicule. Anything that challenges us, abandon. We want instant gratification without the cost; little do we know that this attitude and outlook on life is costing us everything.
To our credit, we are driven, we dream big, and we’re creative but we lack key traits that will sustain our ambitions and dreams, such as integrity, perseverance and patience. We take short-cuts; we yearn for overnight success, in pursuit of a quick buck.
I fear that social media is teaching us to want success without working hard. I fear that our values are under attack because we care more about trending than we do about upholding our principles. We are well-educated; we have accents; we can afford Gucci; we are free to travel; we know-it-all, but we have no compassion; no gratitude and no peace. We lost so much of ourselves.
On social media we seem cool, popular and even funny. We appear to possess a wealth of knowledge, we seem as though we have life figured out- wise, progressive and well-connected, when in reality, we are living a lie. We have prioritized trends over truth; we have compromised our privacy for the sake of popularity and we have allowed strangers on the internet to define what success is supposed to be to us. We’ve mastered the art of pretending to be something we aren’t. We carefully delete and filter out the parts of our lives we don’t like and shamelessly flaunt the parts of our lives that we feel deserve the attention and validation of others.
Social media has taught us to be narcissistic, self-centred and arrogant- and we justify this by using hashtag #LoveYourself and we can it self-love or confidence. When our relationships and friendships can no longer survive these harsh conditions of our shallow living, they suffer and eventually die. We never consider that the problem could be us; it never crosses our minds that we need to be more present, more loving and more of ourselves. Instead we take our frustrations to social media and find comfort in cyber friends who will tell us that we are perfect the way we are and we should not make an effort to be better- and so we stay selfish, self-absorbed and unhappy (and we tweet “Do You”). It’s scary… we rely so much on the advice and approval of people we have never met, whose values we don’t even know. These strangers have become so important to us that we are willing to do just about anything for their likes, retweets and comments.
We have “friends” who don’t even know our full names; we refer to ourselves by our Twitter handles, and our own family members are constantly competing with social media for our attention. Who have we become?
We buy expensive cars that we can barely afford to earn street-cred; we marry people we don’t even like because we treat marriage as a status; and we compromise our values all in the name of social acceptance… We want to be important, we demand to be seen, we care about ‘slaying’ over working; we want outfits on “fleek” over lives full of love; we invest more on our followers while our family members settle for crumbs.
We’ve become the generation that has successfully put sex before love; money before morals; fame before health; fans before friends; social relevance before family and we’ve easily put ourselves before God. We’ve turned our backs on many values our parents and grandparents instilled in us and called them “old-fashioned” and yet we wonder how our world got so complicated.
Social media has its benefits, that we cannot deny but our adoration (let’s not use the word obsession) with it has ruined us as human beings. So much for being free… It’s time log out.
Light and love,