Is Social Media Ruining Our Lives?

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A girl I am friends with on Facebook recently announced that she has made the decision to delete the Facebook app and forego social media altogether. She claims “We spend so much time worrying about other people that we don’t take time to really improve on ourselves” so she’s decided to go and find the “real” her. Here is her announcement:

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She’s certainly not the first person to take such a drastic action. Many people have deleted their accounts. I myself have often toyed with the idea of cutting social media out of my life, then had a panic attack so I quickly changed my mind.

Many have never even had social media accounts to begin with and are the happier for it. So the question is: Would our lives really benefit from deleting Facebook and social media for good?

Does Facebook lead to unhappiness?
Studies show that people check their Facebook accounts an average of 14 times a day. That’s an awful lot of time being spent looking at other people’s lives instead of living our own. There are so many other activities we could be doing, but instead we are choosing to compare our lives to others all day. We’ve become such a voyeuristic society, watching what other people do instead of taking time to improve our own lives. We spend hours reading negative comments which then makes us feel bad. And we seem to be permanently glued to our devices like drug addicts, causing us to lose sleep, which can lead to memory loss.

We see things on Facebook and instagram that other people have and we wish we had it too. We see people who seem to be living perfect lives and have perfect relationships and we begin to get thirsty for everything they have. This envy leads to drama, and drama leads to depression, and depression leads to… the dark side. But is social media really to blame?

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We have a choice
No one is forcing us to check our social networks as often as we do or even at all. We have always had a choice. But it doesn’t have to be between using social media and not using social media. It doesn’t have to be between a good option and a bad option. Most things in this world are neither good or bad; they just are. And social media is no exception. It is nothing more than a tool. Whether it’s a useful tool or a hinderance is up to you.

When I’m already feeling low and insecure, I can always count on Facebook and instagram to make me feel even worse. I am reminded of the relationship I’m not in, of the hard washboard abs I don’t have, and the expensive schools I didn’t go to. But this isn’t social media’s fault. This is something only I can mend.

For every person having a negative response to social media, there is someone having a positive one. Instead, they are finding things to laugh about. They are being inspired by quotes posted or being happy for others’ successes. It’s all how you decide to look at things.

Get some perspective
So take a moment to see what your situation is like. Do you find yourself being more excited and inspired the more you use social media or more depressed?

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Maybe taking a social media vacation is the answer for you. It’s easy to blame Facebook, or technology, or other people. But nothing really has meaning unless we give it meaning. So why not give it a positive one?

Choose to appreciate the positive aspects of social media. And if you just can’t, then take break until you can. Choose to use the social network in moderation. Learn to see it as a tool instead of the enemy.

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Because technology and social media are here to stay and will be a part of our lives in some form or another. So we might as well all get along.

Generation Selfie

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Generation Y, Generation We, The Me Me Me Generation, Echo Boomers. This is what they call us-anyone born between the 1980′s to the early 2000′s. I prefer Millennials, it just sounds too cool for school.

Millennials have been called narcissistic, arrogant, disrespectful, and entitled. I agree and disagree. Some of us are disrespectful. I’ve seen kids use their skateboards to Ollie over the body of a dead cat just for “fun”. I know, adorable, right?

We are narcissistic, but so was every generation when they were young. We are still discovering who we are, but I’m sure we’ll get over ourselves eventually.

One day we’ll all stop caring every time someone posts something like, “I just worked out”, on Facebook. And someday we won’t feel the need to put a new selfie up on instagram every 10 minutes.

I admire my generation’s willingness to put it all out there though. It demonstrates some courage, it’s just that we don’t need to hear it or see it every second of every day. We could show a little restraint and be more selective in what we share with the world.

Communication is our biggest issue. It’s easy to be brave while hiding behind our computers, tablets, and smartphones, but our generation has difficulty with real communication. We are the internet generation. We have never been more connected in any other point in history and yet we are the most disconnected.

It’s interesting that we call it “social media” when it encourages anything but being social. We can have entire online conversations without ever knowing someone. We can text and tweet, we can insta this and snap that, but when it comes to just sitting down and making real face to face conversation with real people we are at a loss for words. Maybe we should call ourselves Generation Hashtag since nothing really exists to us anymore unless there’s a # in front of it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous advantages of living in this internet age, especially from a business sense. But I’ve starved myself of facebook for the past 4 days and I feel so much better about myself. I’ve gone on a job interview, I’ve been reading actual books, I even set up a date with an actual guy. The bastard ended up standing me up, but the point is I now have the time to put myself out there and work on me. I can start going for the things I want and focus on myself in a positive way rather than focusing on what other people are doing with their lives every 10 minutes or what they think of me.

That’s what facebook and Instagram have turned into for me lately. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what others are doing or wearing or dating until you start asking yourself why you aren’t doing those same things. Why aren’t I engaged? Why don’t I have those shoes? Why didn’t I get that job? It’s easy to start thinking negatively when all you do is compare yourself to others. So stop it already and go play outside with the real boys and girls.

As for being entitled, well the internet plays a part in that as well. Everything is available to us. You can order a movie online and watch it instantly, you can type in a term on google and find out everything there is to know about it instantly. We want everything instantly, now.

This stems from our parents as well. They wanted to give us everything they didn’t have growing up so many of them gave us way too much or gave it to us just so they did the opposite of what their parents did.

Some say the result is that we all evolved into little spoiled ingrates. In some ways we did, but in other ways we are better for it. We realize the positive aspects of entitlement. We realize that we are entitled to be happy and we are entitled to go after our dreams instead of the futures our parents or anyone else has planned for us.

Books and movies of our time like The Hunger Games and Divergent are an indication that our generation is simply not willing to put up with shit. We will not be told what to do or who we can do it with. We are a generation of rebels and insurgents. We know about the man behind the curtain and we refuse to buy into his lies or his rules. We want to make up our own rules.

But in order to do that we have to find our voice, our true voice. We have to stop living off our parents, stop hiding behind our iPhones, stop being distracted by the pretty new technology, and start communicating, for real. We need to come out from behind the hashtag so we can start living for real.

On the Run

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What are we really running for when we run? I know some run for fun, some run for health, but what about the rest of us?

I started running, recently, and while it began as something I could do as an escape, as something I could do just for myself, it has quickly mutated into something I’m doing for other people. For him. That anonymous him that could walk into my job or pass by me on the street and casually glance at my toned legs and chiseled arms and think, “Wow, I want to get to know him”. Yeah, that’s unfortunately where I’m at right now.

Not too surprising considering the age we are living in. Everything is quantified. Everything is about how many facebook friends you have, how many ‘likes’ you can get, and how many people have seen your latest instagram selfie with the “Rise” filter. Personally I like “Valencia”. It’s all about getting other people to like you.

No matter how many times I tell myself that I’m running to stay fit, be healthy, and reduce stress, my mind tells me otherwise. It knows that once I start to see muscles forming, I’ll start getting glances and then compliments. And soon I’ll only run to get that attention. But what happens when that attention stops?

Maybe the real question is, “What are we running from?”.
We’re all just Bonnie and Clyde’s running from that little sherif in our heads. That voice that tells us that we’re not good enough. That voice that tells us that we’ll only find love if we look perfect. We’ll only get that job if we look pretty enough, young enough, skinny enough, fit enough. Ugh, god enough! Aren’t you exhausted yet? I know I am.

I’m tired of thinking that if I look perfect, then my life will be perfect. That’s a nasty side effect of living in Hollywood. The image of perfection is shoved down our throats with every billboard, every commercial, and every movie. We’re inundated with so much crap that we forget that real people don’t look like that. And even if they do, it’s no guarantee that they’re happy.

So what’s the solution? I know the right answer is to only do things to please yourself, not to please others. The right answer is to run and workout to give yourself more energy, more strength. Run so that you can feel good about yourself not so people will hit that like button when you take that selfie. These are the right answers. And in a perfect “Amaro”, “Mayfair”, or “Sierra” world it would be easy to accept these answers and execute them with no problem at all. But, this is the real world and the real world doesn’t have the perfect filter. It’s a little bit easier said than done. Now, excuse me while I go run some more and then order Pizza Hut.