02 June 2015

The generation of comparison - social media's hidden agenda

A Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist (and psychology professor) once said, “Social media is basically social comparison on steroids.” 

Another favorite of mine, Brene Brown, said “Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.” 

An author, Barara Kingsolver said, “That’s why everybody wants Internet friends. You can find people exactly like you. Screw your neighbors and your family, too messy.” 

Daniel J. Levitin said, “Each time we check… Facebook… we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure… not the higher-level thought centers in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake… Facebook checking constitutes a neural addiction.” 

Pete Cashmere said, “Privacy is dead, and social media holds the smoking gun.”

David Levithan said, “I have a friend request from some stranger on facebook and I delete it without looking at the profile because that doesn’t seem natural… Friendship should not be as easy as that. It’s like people believe all you need to do is like the same bands in order to be soulmates.”

Robert A. Heinlein said, “Most neuroses and some psychoses can be traced to the unnecessary and unhealthy habit of daily wallowing in the troubles and sins of five billion strangers.”

Charles Bukowski said, “Now it’s computers and more computers and soon everybody will have one, 3-year-olds will have computers and everybody will know everything about everybody else long before they meet them. Nobody will want to meet anybody else ever again…”

Alexa Chung said, “Often I long for a simpler time when break ups weren’t made a trillion times worse by photo tagging, and rather than spelling it out for people you could be irritated by something and not feel as though you had to voice your gripe with convenient hashtags…”

Brooke Hauser said, “Facebook is the perfect place to try on different identities until she finds one that sticks.”

Joshua Ferris said, “…Liking and digging and bookmarking and posting and tweeting all those things, and feeling more disconnected than ever? Where does this idea of greater connection come from? I’ve never in my life felt more disconnected…”

What I have to say is this: 
Don’t give in. 

Don’t compare your first chapter 
to someone’s chapter 12. 
Don’t type things you wouldn’t 
feel comfortable vocalizing face-to-face. 
Don’t hurt others through a lit-screen because 
it’s easier than hurting people in person. 
Food doesn’t have to look pretty, 
it just has to be eaten. 
Your former roommate who travels the world
isn’t a single plane-ticket better than you are. 
Filters should not be the means to making friends. 
Status updates aren’t nearly as satisfying as 
savoring the moment with technology-free hands. 
When that beautiful sunset is screaming, 
“take my picture and instagram me” 
close your eyes and take a mental picture. 
This is your moment. 
This is your individual, precious moment. 
Nobody else needs to comment on it. 

To my friend who got dumped, listen closely: searching your ex’s name on facebook and seeing newly-tagged pictures with him and that girl you took an English class with last semester will in no way improve your life, your sanity, your self-esteem, or your sense of being. To my thirteen-year-old cousin who follows fitness models on instagram, listen closely: each time you search #victoriasecretmodels you are in no way doing a service to yourself, or the millions of other thirteen-year-old girls who are struggling just like you to find value, acceptance, and the kind of love that truly matters. To the generation who is sucked into this sick notion of comparison, listen closely:

Don’t give in. 

Your life is beautiful and meaningful 
exactly the way that it is. 

(Inspiration for post found here
and here)