Selfie, selfie, on the screen: who’s the greatest social media queen?

Almost everyone I know has a smartphone packed with social media apps and an endless photo gallery. I was a bit late to the party and only got my first smartphone at the midpoint of my freshman year of college simply because my phone was broken and utterly useless. I remember how much of a tyrant I was toward my brothers when they’d be on their phones when our family was together. But I’ve noticed in the past year and a few months that I’ve become as addicted to my phone as the vast majority of people, so I guess you can say I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

As much as I enjoy going through my Instagram and Twitter feed and sending Snapchats to keep snap streaks alive, I try my best to not let it take over my life. I’ll admit, it’s hard, but putting my phone away when I’m with others is worth it. I miss so much of what goes on around me when I’m staring at my (cracked) screen. Having a smartphone is useful, but it takes away from the beauty of being present in the current moment.

It’s so interesting, yet sad to see how technology has taken away from our humanness. Humanity thrives on interaction, and as much as you want to believe that retweeting or commenting counts as interaction, the reality is, it’s not. Think about it – how many times have you engaged in conversation and you mention something you stumbled upon on Instagram? Or tell a story and the person responds with, “Oh yeah, I saw your post about it!” Although social media is a great way to see how others are doing, it’s made our physical selves seem almost invisible.

Another unfortunate reality is that social media only paints the picture we want to portray. Think of the countless selfies you’ve taken so you can post the “perfect” one – that is, after swiping through the filter options. Then, we feed off of the number of likes we get after posting and get disappointed when that number doesn’t reach mass capacity. And believe me, I’m guilty of doing that too. But the truth is, we only post what we want people to see, which is usually the highlights of life’s “ups” like vacations, sunsets, and concerts. We forget there’s more to others’ lives than just happiness and smiles, as much as we hate to admit it.

At the end of the day, you and I are going to still post, comment and like. I know for a fact I’m going to still spend too much time on my phone and you probably will too. But I challenge you (and me) to not let the ways of social media dictate your life and to be present in real life and not through a screen.

thanks to: Rose Haslbauer

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