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The Infamy of Social Media

Published on 14th July 2017

I try to refrain from spewing my truest personal opinions where they are not formally invited but, what the hell-this is my blog; the exception to the rule (for today). Let’s talk about how the desire to be social media famous is destroying today’s youth. Personally, I am all for the emergence and evolution of the world of digital media. There is this relationship that we can now share on a massive global scale with cultures that span the world. We talk with them. We work with them. We indulge in their consumer market and vice versa. Digital media has taken a large society, and made it small-the size of our handheld phones, Blackberries, blueberries, iPads, laptops, raindrops, drop-tops…lol, okay, I went another direction with that. (You know you’re singing it now.)

As a 29 year-old dubbed “millennial”, I have experienced the best of many worlds. I learned how to write in cursive in second grade writing class. I learned how to type in seventh grade keyboarding class. And today I am so snowflake that if I can’t do it online, I might not ever do it. Okay, I’m not 100% snowflake but where there is technology involved-so be it. 

This is where today’s youth makes its grand entrance: “The youth is the hope of our future!” Cue the pomp and circumstance while tweenagers twerk for Snapchat views. When social media made its debut, we were so excited to show the world OUR world. From our MySpace background, to our “top friends” list (extra points if we were on their “top friends” list too), and naturally, our incredibly glorified, most favored, digital camera profile photo. This entire movement was fueled by our desire to explore this grandiose world among our likeminded associates…plus the ability to be nosy as hell. I am sure that women and men have always had the ability to investigate at the caliber of an unofficial FBI agent, but social media and the evolution of the internet made it much easier, faster, and more fun. 

BLANKET STATEMENT: Perhaps, that is the culprit of the destruction of youth and the infamy of social media. A generational culture and a desire that begs for instant gratification. What a better way to fuel it than the instantaneous connection we gain from social media?

If you were to talk to nearly every adult in my family you’d hear much of the same: A soapbox monologue about how today’s youth are too entitled, too lazy, too sensitive, too liberal, and too damn distracted by their phones to notice if their heads are actually in or out of their asses. Hindsight is always 20/20 and in the realm of being “social media famous”, it’s no wonder the generation of our youth is flawed.

Research published by Child Mind Institute explains that social media has become so integral to teenage life that these kids are entirely missing out on essential opportunities to experiment with social skills, tons of real-time interactions, and social cues. Teens form standards of peer acceptance through an incessant system of polling data-AKA-“Look at all these LIKES my post got!” Through habitual social media connections, teens attempt to prune an ideal image online and project it to the world they live in (Ehmke, n.d.) What happens when their profile does not accurately represent the person that they feel like they are on the inside? Chaos is added to the already brewing shit-storm that is, adolescence.

So, how is the desire to be social media famous destroying today’s youth? I think the answer boils down to: Social media provides fuel that feeds an artificial source of self-esteem. Through this type of hyper-connectivity, teens are never really alone. In order to have our needs met in real life, we need to relate to real people. Think about it, our species’ primary means of communication is talking. While the youth of our future is hiding behind screens and Facebook likes, we are breeding this generation of future adults who are anxious about...communicating in real life! It’s crazy! The future generation that will run our country is juggling multiple identities and feeding off of screen-time with their peers…and when the screen goes blank, mass hysteria and anxiety will rip them to shreds and leave them wondering, “What did I do wrong?”.

In short: The youth of today is entirely co-dependent on social media approval ratings, and the evolution of social media is catering to their every little insecurity. Instant gratification on a perpetually spinning mouse wheel. Social media: The infamous empire that was originally created to connect people...The irony is so real!

Ehmke, R. (n.d.). How using social media effects teenagers. Child Mind Institute. Retrieved from  https://childmind.org/article/...