Social Media Mirage

 Social Media Mirage

By Sean McVeigh

OK, bear with me here. I want to talk about social media. I know, what a fun topic to talk about and especially during a holiday week. Where to even begin?

This is a bit hard for me because, I don’t know if you know this, *brings voice down to a whisper* the Rockaway Times has a large social media presence. I like to think that we are using the platforms for their intended purposes. I am probably wrong and will probably sound like a hypocrite in the few paragraphs that follow, but here goes anyway.

I am not going to talk about one of social media’s great vices which is the unwanted sharing of information. I do think this is a big problem. I do hate that we have to be concerned about not just Nike knowing that I am a fan of their quarter zips, but also that the Chinese Communist Party might be checking in on my activities. That’s a tough pill to swallow. Not what I want to talk about though.

What I want to talk about is the unrealistic version of oneself that social media presents versus the real-life version.

On a personal note, I do not have any social media accounts. I don’t say that because I think all social media is bad — it’s not! I sometimes think that maybe I should go back. Download a couple of accounts and give it another go. I feel like I have lost touch with a few high school and college friends that I would’ve otherwise remained close with if I were on these platforms. That “pro” crosses my mind from time to time, and then I remember all the other “cons” that made me leave in the first place and I’m glad things are the way they are.

I once heard someone describe social media as everyone else’s highlight reel. No one posts the lows in their life—well, unless they are looking for attention—what you see is the highs. You go online and look at what everyone else is posting and you might be left thinking that you live the most boring life out there. That’s because, according to their social media pages, everyone you know has the craziest weekends and goes to the wildest parties and has the nicest cars and clothes. How are you supposed to appreciate what you have when all you see is how much more so and so has?

The other day I was reading an article and came across a quote that could have been written yesterday. It was not though. It was written over three hundred years ago. Montesquieu, the political philosopher who we have much to thank for inspiring our founding fathers to form the government we have today, said in 1721, “If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.”

I am not trying to convince you to go and delete your social media cold turkey (see what I did there?). If people want to post about their new this or their cool that, then I say go ahead. That’s their prerogative. I just hope other people will realize that comparing themselves to everything they see online is not realistic.

Thanksgiving is on Thursday. What a better time to take a break from all of the nonsense that we see on social media. Take a minute to think about all that you have and be thankful for it! For example, I’m thankful that you have read this far and haven’t turned the page. Thanks for reading always and have a great Thanksgiving!

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