Stop comparing social media, start living

JessicaJaspersonWithin the past 10 years, social media has grown, which means people are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, tumblr and more sites to build a profile of their “life.” However, one needs to question how Internet profiles compare to reality.

It can be overwhelming to think of all the social media sites that exist, especially when not too long ago we depended on face-to-face conversations or letters to keep in touch with friends and family.

With the growth of smartphones, tablets and iPads, more people have access to social media sites.

In eMarkter’s, Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates, they report one in four people worldwide will use social networks in 2013.

This equates to an increase of 300 million social media users since 2012.  According to the report, within the next five years, social media users are expected to increase by 820 million to a total of 2.55 billion worldwide.

As more people join social media, it is harder to distinguish edited lives from original.

An individual can only put so much on their social media sites, and most likely it is eye-catching images, a witty 140 characters, social shout-outs and professional accomplishments.

These “life” updates make social media users’ lives look outstanding (on the Internet).

However, these are only minor snapshots.

Rarely do we get the unedited versions: a life encompassed with ups and downs, collisions and unplanned occurrences that aren’t always positive.

This is why comparing your life to others’ lives captured on social media is not beneficial. You’re comparing an edited life to your unedited life.

I’ve done it. I’ve gotten sucked into someone else’s Instagram posts and Tweets and Facebook photos, and I began to compare my life to theirs. I’m certain many others have too.

An hour has passed until you glance at the time and question where the time went. As if comparing social media is even close to comparing two peoples’ lives of everyday happenings.

Do you wish you could see that amazing view of the mountains your friend posted on Instagram that got 584 likes?

Not possible unless you can put the Valencia filter on it, and crop out the 10-hour trip with three flat tires in the rain and the creepy guy at the sketchy motel.

Wish you could could take part in all the fun activities being explained in 140 characters or less?

Get off the Internet and go live for yourself. Have your own adventures that you think are worth Tweeting.

The fact is, it only takes seconds to create new posts on social media sites.

Compare seconds to an hour or a day or a lifetime.

If you only can view the good of others’ lives, odds are there is bad that isn’t being posted.

Most people do not want to air out their dirty laundry for the world to see because dirty laundry does not get likes, retweets, shares or comments. Clean laundry gets noticed.

I don’t know if this is a mark on society’s thinking, but people usually don’t want to deal with harsh realities on social media sites.

On Oct. 14, my Facebook status was, “It’s national dessert day, you know what to do,” and it got 18 likes. I have 305 friends and I rarely get a like for a serious post about social issues or the government.

Social media is used to leisurely pass the time and to learn about the world.

Originally I understand why social media sites were created to simply pass time and to stay connected with friends.

However, as social media sites have evolved into news sharing sites, especially for breaking news, society as a whole needs to evolve into consumers of this news.

All social media sites can be effective tools to learn about news and to conveniently keep us connected with people.

If we redefine the purpose of social media sites, we can all be better informed.

In the end, one has to question what social media sites actually mean, and whether or not they make a difference.

They do help spread news and information fast, but they do exist in cyberspace.

If the Internet disappeared, so would social media sites.

There goes all the Instagram selfies, the witty Tweets and Facebook photo albums that have 1,000 party images.

Posting meaningful images, information and news on social media sites comes with maturity.

I went back on to my creepy Facebook timeline to high school days and erased my obnoxious comments and pictures.

If one compared their lives to that time in my life, their brains would have been heads and shoulders above mine according to the profiles of my social media sites.

I would hope everyone at the college level and above aren’t posting meaningless things, but it is up to the individual to decide what they want to post.

So before you continue scrolling friends, acquaintances or strangers social media sites yearning to be like other people, remember your life is unlike any others.

Be proud and earn it, and continue posting if you’d like.

BY JESSICA JASPERSON
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