Why I Love Social Media
I know that there are issues that a lot of people have with social media – I get it, I do. I know it can get nasty and overwhelming. Negativity. Political. Complaining. The FOBO can get the best of us and make us feel worse than we did before we checked Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or Pinterest or Twitter… It goes on endlessly, or so it feels and seems sometimes. I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it is NOT my intention to convert social media haters or non-believers into fans. I’ve tried it – it is stupid.
What I do want to do is talk about why I love it, though, with the hopes that maybe some of the feels will rub off on the right people and maybe, just maybe, we can all be the catalyst for a movement and a shift where social media is being improved by our presence and ends up being a place we all want to be. Then no convincing is needed – people convert themselves, and that’s the only way to authentically change, don’t you think?
Firstly, I am going to tell you my story of Facebook. Please, refrain from chuckling over that last statement. Or, hell… go ahead and laugh out loud, I won’t hear it. Just don’t tell me you did. But yes, I have a Facebook story. And a romantic love affair with it. I actually give you full permission to laugh at that last one.
Facebook was created in 2004 by college kids. Myself, in 2005, was a sophomore in college at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and had heard the “buzz” around town. “Have you seen this Facebook?”, “Did you make your profile yet?”, “Did you add that hot guy from your statistics class or were you too chicken?” and on and on and on. When it was invented, it was specifically and STRICTLY for college kid use only. You had to have a .edu email address in order to register as a user. We all felt safe in our little bubble, protected from the eyes of our parents yet blasting our debauchery all over the interwebs without a care in the world.
We did dumb stuff like this screenshot below, which is from my ACTUAL Facebook page in 2005.
We invited each other to parties and lived carefree on our social media platform, having no idea what it would later become.
Then… things changed. In 2006, in a move that felt like a massive betrayal to us all, anyone with an email address could now register as a Facebook user. It’s true… and it was awful. The whole college campus, it felt, mourned the loss of our platform where we could be our young, stupid selves. Things have never been the same.
I’m not going to walk you through a Facebook history lesson, but I just needed to establish for you why I am so romantically entangled by Facebook. I have been with it since its toddlerhood. I’ve been a Facebook user for TWELVE YEARS. So yes, one of the very obvious reasons why I love social media is because of the history that I hold with its most well-known, highest user count and most active social media platform of Facebook. But I promise, there is more.
I was a psychology major in college, and the human mind paired with human behavior fascinates the hell out of me. Three years into my degree, I gave up on my ideas of being a therapist or a counselor but I finished my major, clinging hard to things like social, cognitive, and psychopathological psychology. To peer into the human spirit, intention, motivation, and behavior is an incredible force. To understand what drives people to make decisions is very powerful. And this is why I love social media.
It’s easy to be frustrated by the people who aren’t using it the way we want them to. We get drained by all the fighting and misunderstanding and differences of opinions. We are emotionally exhausted by people’s unkindness, lack of empathy, and judgment. We are intimidated by people’s picture perfect lives and feeling like we are constantly falling behind the Jones’s. So, people constantly want to bail or need literal breaks from the emotional rollercoaster of social media.
I get it. I swear I do. I work in it, people. Trust me, I get it.
But we are all capable of beautiful things. It’s Valentine’s day, and I will scroll down through my feed and see a bunch of people exclaiming their love for their significant others and kids and puppies and such. Maybe an engagement, or a wedding even.
And this is why I love social media.
Because even though I am not close with everyone on my friends list, I get to experience human emotion through my news feed. I learn about others by the content they share. I get to explore the interesting facets of human life with a swish of my thumb. And though I don’t agree with a lot of things, and get frustrated by a lot of things, I continue to focus on the kindness I do see, and spread it around. I might not like what everyone puts out there, but I appreciate the fact that we're all so different.
Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you want others to scroll past, ignore, and stop sharing bad content, vow to do the same. If you want others to stop engaging in pointless social media arguing, do the same. If you want to see more positivity and smiling faces, puppies who love their owners, hamsters throwing each other off of exercise wheels, and ladies cackling in Chewbacca masks, share the same. I am reminded by my seven-year-old walking around our place brushing her teeth, just like her mom always does, that we do what we see.
Not feeling the love from your social media? Be what you want to see.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!