Why We Post What We Do & How It Affects Our Lives
Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is reach for my phone in order to scroll through Instagram and check Snapchat stories from the night before. Social media plays such a prominent role in our daily lives; it’s typically what we start and end the day with. Anytime something positive, negative, life-changing, or trivially interesting happens in our lives we constantly feel the need to snap a picture and share it. But have you ever stopped to think about why we share what we do?
Acknowledgment always feels good. When someone likes a photo or replies to a Snap, there is a sense of support for what we are doing, and it makes us feel like other people care about our lives. Every time we post, there is this adrenaline boosted excitement and all of the support, likes, and new followers encourage us to continue. There is a scientific reason for this excitement- a dopamine high. Our body starts to crave this psychological drug and we give in to the addictive qualities of social media.
Not So IRL
The beauty of an online profile is you can hide what you don't want others to see and put forth this alter ego of the best version of yourself. I was discussing this with one of my friends and she told me she posted a picture of herself laughing, looking like she was having the time of her life when, in reality, she was crying in misery less than 10 minutes later. On some level, there seems to be this ulterior, subconscious need to prove that our lives are great, possibly even better than others. The online facade we create with our online profiles is just that: a facade. It’s not an accurate representation of who we are in our daily lives, but sometimes we forget this.
How Is All of This Affecting Us?
Social media has a lot of benefits, but it also has many of pitfalls. It seems like with every picture posted, the pressure to keep up this front increases. Even though we are connected to hundreds or thousands of people online social media can actually isolate us, creating sentiments of loneliness. We become so involved with our online persona, we withdraw from those around us.Additionally, we are exposed to so many people and their lives that ours can start to feel inadequate. Every picture posted has to be the best version of yourself, which can lead to major insecurities. There are more people to compare our lives or bodies to, potentially resulting in lower self-esteem. This opens the door to an increased risk of body image issues and other mental health problems.
Social media is not all bad. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a scroll through Instagram and feel supported by peers. But the dangers that lurk within the social media realm can reveal a vulnerability to mental health. It’s important to keep in mind that what we see on the screen is not reality. Maybe next time you’re at a concert, traveling the world, or your dog does a really cute trick, don’t see it through the lens of the camera. Live in the moment and enjoy it.