It’s not that difficult to find a millennial who has given up social media for whatever reason. Now, I’m not taking away from the dangers of social media. I’ve sometimes found myself getting depressed because that guy is traveling overseas AGAIN, that one girl posted the best selfie, that one couple just got engaged and and and… But, surely a platform like social media isn’t inherently the problem at hand?
A few months ago, I came to the realisation that my social media persona was not someone I recognised.
@adi_macmaster looked skinny, her face had no pimples or imperfections, all her friends were models and her life seemed all together. The actual me was struggling in university, questioning her identity and actually had no money. I remember scrolling through my social media counting likes and comments and then getting so fed up with myself for allowing my life to drift so far from who I was on Instagram.
In that moment I realised two things. I could either change everything about myself to become who I was on Instagram. Or I could change who I portrayed on Instagram. The latter option seemed easier so I ventured out into a social media rebranding.
I didn’t do anything nearly as dramatic as Taylor Swift but I simply started uploading Instagram stories of me doing absolutely nothing of significance. I would post a story of me not exercising in my gym clothes or various stories about birds (only now while writing this have I noticed that I’ve had multiple Instagram compilations of birds. Like pigeons). To my surprise, changing who I portrayed on social media lifted a lot of pressure off who I was trying to be because for the first time, I wasn’t trying to match up to who the world viewed me as. For the first time, who I was on social media reflected who I actually am. I wasn’t chasing perfection. I was chasing authenticity.
Like I said, social media can be dangerous. But sometimes it’s only as dangerous as you allow it to be. I put in boundaries on my social media activity. The biggest boundary being that I wasn’t allowed to obsessively stalk insta-famous normal people. Specifically girls who I had no prospects of becoming. I realised that it was better to grow self control on social media than cut it out of my life completely. Additionally, I decided that everything I put out on social media needed to inspire hope and love, make people laugh and was not allowed to be edited beyond who I actually am. Social media grows in the power you give it.
You could use it to make a few people jealous with only putting out the best version of you. Or you can inspire a whole lot of people through it. It is your choice.