Opinion: You're "Social Media Happy," But Are You Actually Happy?

Instagram photo goes up. Instagram photo receives a paltry ratio of three likes to two minutes. Instagram photo gets taken down. In this trivial course of actions we see a common pattern in young adults: an expression of self exemplified in the “Insta,” a lack of sufficient reassurance from peers, and the subsequent retreat. When it comes down to it, everyone just wants to be liked––literally––and preferably over one hundred likes.

Photo courtesy of of Flickr / Jonathan Chen

Photo courtesy of of Jonathan Chen / Flickr

Social media is a massive part of our lives, and it dominates a larger portion of our days than most of us would like to admit, though some are perfectly comfortable with taking credit for their social media celebrity status. I have noticed that especially during the summer months, the swarm of iPhones constantly updating Instagram feeds and Facebook albums has increased. Now that we are home from college, we want our college friends to know that we are still having a great time.

I myself am not exactly immune to the frenzy, but I would like to think that my first thought in the presence of a beautiful day or fashionable outfit is not about what social media site I should upload it to. However, this article is not about self-preservation, nor am I interested in chastising my peers. I know every pixelated photo I add to my Snapchat Story and every Tweet I send out to the “Twitterverse” is intended to put out a certain image of myself that I want other people to see. Every single thing we share to the world online is about creating our self-image.

Sometimes I wonder, though, are the people with the most impressive and extensive social media presences having any actual fun in their lives offline? If they are constantly documenting everything they are doing, every exciting activity endured, how in the world are they going to experience anything fully? After all, everything we put online is for other people to see and admire. Considering that idea, if you are “social media happy,” a term I recently learned, how are you really happy at all? Living for the admiration of others cannot be the most fulfilling life.

Photo courtesy of Flickr / John J Young

Photo courtesy of John J Young / Flickr

Our parents kept a few photo albums to document their lives, and now we see about the same number of photos uploaded from a single night out. Let’s be real for a moment: a potential crush stalking you will only choose to sift through a tiny fraction of your posed shots with your friends before getting sick of your face altogether.

If you’re thinking, “I don’t upload photos for others to stalk me, I upload them for myself and my friends to reminisce on later!”, we both know that’s a lie. We need to get real with ourselves about why we are doing what we’re doing. Few are wholly immune from this trend: a trend which likely won’t end anytime soon, but I’m hoping it will for the sake of our livelihood. After all, Facebook is going to get intensely crowded and slow if we keep uploading and hashtagging at the pace we have been for the rest of our lives.

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Maddie Webster