Today the internet is our lifeline and our iPhones are appendages. We check it for information. We engage with our friends. It is a wealth of information at our disposal. It's constantly moving and pulsing, creating new life and relationships wherever we go.
There's only one thing that is truly disturbing...
It gives us our worth.
Generations that came before us don't really understand what it means to virtually "like" something, but they're on facebook. They want "likes" too. It's just another form of societal reassurance. If we get "likes" on facebook, we feel like we're doing something right.
Looking at a post with 100 likes is better than 10 right? That means 100 of our peers are affirming what we're doing...but if that's the only reason why we're posting, we're doing it for the wrong reasons.
We should be posting to share our adventures, connect with others and enhance our lives, but most of the time we find ourselves getting upset that our selfie didn't get as many likes as our friend's. That's too much.
We can blame the media. We can blame celebrities. We can blame our friends and family for putting so much stake in our internet lives, but ultimately we have nobody to blame but ourselves. If we verify our beauty or intelligence based on Instagram likes, then we have a lot more issues than getting fewer likes than our friends.
When I first started writing I tended to put more stock in views than engagements. My writing was impacting people in a big way, but I didn't see the worth in that. I only saw the numbers. Getting past that has given me power over my work, and myself. Likes don't define me, and they shouldn't define you.
We must put more stock in connecting with people on a human level. We should be prouder when people like us in person, instead of on facebook.
We should do a lot of things.
Social media is just that, social. People interact over the photos we post, the comments we make and the opinions we have. We are able to live forever on the internet, but is that a good thing?
The mistakes we make are there forever too. No matter if we delete them or not, people see what we do all the time. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about it.
And when you look around you, in a restaurant or bar, you see more people checking their phones and their social media accounts than talking right? This statement is all over the news, all over the media that we consume through our phones...ironic.
The preachy mentality of technology overtaking us shows up on viral sites. These articles talking about people losing their connection with reality due to technology are vying for likes too...shares...hits. Whatever. Despite the message, they are just as guilty as begging for likes as the posts that are blatant click bait.
And we eat them up, because we think they're doing us some good, get us outside, pull us away from our computers.
I may be shooting myself in the leg here, but the point is, us 20-somethings have a lot of life left to live, and we can spend it on our phones checking our selfies for likes, or we can go out and change the world.
Write, dance, sing, act, learn an instrument and if you want, post a picture or video of you doing so, but do it for yourself, to document your life and share it with the people not present to see it. Do it because you want to help or educate others. Do it because you want to.
Don't do it because you want to get likes, or shares or clips or hearts, don't sell yourself out.
We can't tell people what to do. We can't tell them what they should spend their time on. We can't trust viral articles that are written with the intent of getting lots of views. We need to find worthwhile things to invest our time in.
The internet connects, but it can also destroy if we take it too seriously.
By: Tess Stevens