Dear social media,
When I was introduced to you 9 years ago with the rise of Facebook, you seriously excited me.
You gave me a platform to connect with my friends in a cool and fresh way, and I could share stuff with them. I could express my thoughts as if I were writing in a diary while detailing all that was happening in my life, from where I lived and worked to my significant milestones.
I was quite blunt when sharing my thoughts and not much was off the table. I remember telling the world that I was going to the toilet (why I thought they should know this intimate detail still boggles my mind), ranting and raving about how much I hated my first boss and excitedly sharing pictures of my beach holiday to show off my sexy physique and designer bikini among other reasons.
My life became an open book and I loved it.
You taught one of the most photographic skills of modern history, which is the selfie. It took a dozen shots to get the right selfie the first time, but as time went on, I became a master at getting the perfect selfie at the second shot. Once you gave me a bunch of filters to choose from, my pictures became a work of art. A great selfie was worth a thousand likes, and I sure got my fair share of selfie likes.
I became somewhat obsessed with getting likes and comments on my posts and pictures. It boosted my ego and made me feel like a superstar. You helped me to boast about my life as if everything was as perfect as I what I posted. I could boast about my brand new job and my brand new car, creating the perception that I’m making it in life. I could take selfies of cool parties, holidays and with celebs, making it seem as if I have the coolest life ever.
After a couple of years living the perfect social media life, something changed.
I got tired of it all.
I got tired of not living in the moment because I was too busy taking pictures for likes and comments on my social media profiles.
I got tired of feeling offended and frustrated when my posts received little or no interaction from my friends and followers.
I got tired of the invisible competition to “outlive” and “out-boast” my friends and acquaintances, who were also sharing cool stuff about their lives. I felt like a failure when someone shared a milestone that I thought was better than mine.
I wanted my privacy back. I felt too exposed to the world. My social media profiles had turned into my diary, and I no longer felt comfortable with letting the world know my true thoughts and feelings.
Even though I had dozens of friends and followers, I was still very lonely. Having them on a computer or smartphone screen didn’t compensate for seeing them face-to-face. I wanted have real and authentic friendships again where we have conversations over coffee, not only through comments, likes and occasional messaging, especially if we live in the same town.
You’ve made a huge impact on my life dear social media by making communication and information retrieval and dissemination easier, and for that I’m thankful. The only thing I’m taking back from you is sharing about my life.
Understand that it’s not you – it’s me. I want my privacy and sense of control back. I want my peace of mind back by no longer being affected by likes or striving towards the perfect life on social media.
*image from Pexels.