Likes. Comments. Validation.

It’s time we have a conversation we should have had a long time ago. The one about us as people. The one about how disconnected we are as a species to mother nature, to one another. About how we have created a world, a society, full of anxieties that we refuse to address. The social media age has morphed us all into a vapid wasteland only interested in likes/comments and internet fame. Constantly spewing out 86% unoriginal content, we scroll through our timelines overstimulated by it on a daily basis. Born in 1994, the year of the internet, I am a 24-year-old who grew up with AIM, MySpace, FaceBook, and Tumblr. The Motorola Razr, the SideKick, the BlackBerry, and the iPhone 3G. I, along with my friends, grew up with the internet & cellphones.  We saw new platforms come out, new ways to interact with each other were always on the rise. As a kid everyone had a screen name on AIM, we waited to get home to be on the computer and chat with everyone online and as we got older everyone had a MySpace. Those were the days of AFK and ROFL, impressive 6th grade HTML coding, glittery stickers, doll dress up websites and TOP 8’s. Looking back I feel as though those things were all of us trying to show our individuality to the world. And it was there and accessible, in just one click you could be talking to someone on the other side of the world. But along the way, things got really invasive.

You can say it started in 2002 with the Cameraphone, and intensified with Mobile Internet. Once we were able to transport the entire World Wide Web in our pockets is right around the time we started to lose our damn mind. Smartphones opened up a world that was unlike anything we had seen. Instant access to everything. Apps for literally anything, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, the list goes on. Instagram gave us what FaceBook and MySpace didn’t do for us which was real-time posting on a live feed. Of our peers, of celebrities, of anyone. Then Snapchat gave us something IG couldn’t give us which was a live-feed story of what all of those people on IG were doing in real time.
We are so narcissistic, spending our time taking selfies instead of taking the moment in. Our obsession with fame has given IG and Snapchat its success. We want to feel important, we want to chase that validation and lucky for some it is in the firms of followers or likes to show a certain level of celebrity. But why are we so obsessed with fame? We keep up with things that are basically designed to keep you from exploring who you really are. Designed to make you conform to what everyone covets. All I see around me is people on their phones, typing or scrolling away, denying themselves the beautiful pleasures of the world through the senses. To look around is to interact with your surroundings and to breathe in the moments that you’re in. We’re really wasting our precious time on our screens and robbing ourselves of meeting new people and having new experiences or just connecting on a deeper level with the connections we already have. We have been using social media to mask over the pain we might be feeling in fear of being the only one because everyone just looks so damn happy on the internet. But social media is a highlight reel of someone’s life. It is not the truth. Pain is a part of life, there are not so glamorous things that we need to address-Like depression and mental illness as a whole. The deeper we fall the harder it is to climb out. We need to talk to each other, take moments of the day away from the phone and social media. We need to create more authentic moments through emotions and not through the pure purpose of content. 

So check on your friends, they may need you more than you think. Likes/Comments aren’t real-they are only public displays of affection meant to upkeep your internet persona. Let’s upkeep our relationships more. Spread love. Spread positivity. Remember that everyone is struggling with something at all times. Let us empower one another to be a better version of ourselves.