Things we need to know about social media: Tilyan Aslam

The other day, I came across this teen girl – extremely disappointed and upset. I wanted to give her a shoulder, so I asked the reason behind her sadness, she went, “ I feel there’s nothing good in life anymore. I mean just look at everyone around; they are all travelling. Look at this picture, they are having fun. Have a glance here they are trying new food at this famous restaurant, this person is shopping branded clothes, new fancy shoes. That person has received this extraordinary award for her high accomplishments. That woman is so beautiful with zero flaws and blemishes on her face.”

She went on with this long rant about how everyone else is having fun, is much more prettier than her, is really well accomplished, is more talented than her, how everyone in the world seems to have a way better life, but her.

I wanted to go on with a long motivational speech too, to make her feel better about all of this, but I rather chose not to. Since I knew this is not only a single person’s problem, or one nation’s or even one country’s problem. It’s a problem with all this new generation of people who live anywhere and everywhere in the world. Mean while we were having this conversation, a few questions started popping in my head i.e; Why this girl thinks that way? How does she know that all these people are actually having fun? Has she met anyone of them in person, does she know them personally? I wanted to ask her all these questions, but I did not because I am sure it’s not only her who thinks all this. It’s all of us. That’s why I chose to write this piece of writing to let you all know that “All that glitters is not gold” or “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

We live in an era where mobile seems to be the most important thing in our lives if not ‘the most’ but at least ‘one fo the most’. Our generation of kids (even adults too) will not take a bit of food unless we don’t send a snap to our friends letting them know we had pizza today or I am upset so I’m not eating today either way it’s going to be a snap. We don’t know what ‘live in the moment’ means, we just know ‘capture the moment’ by taking one hundred pictures of moment, but not fully enjoying it.

We are super obsessed with how our social media feeds should look-like. It will be totally okay if we are not having fun, but people who follow me on Instagram should think I am happy and having a great time.

Fun fact; social media is the biggest scam that ever existed. We are all fools trying to make each other fool. “She has a flawless skin, no blemishes, no scars, no pimple, nothing.” Comparing our very casual and every day self to a social media influencer who might have applied a layer of make up just for this particular photoshoot with her high quality camera to take her pictures and might have later edited and filtered and then posted the picture/s. It’s so easy to understand yet so hard to get that inside our generation’s head.

Did I mention that one of the very reason that today’s generation has mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and superiority/inferiority complex is also social media. We get depressed over ‘not getting much likes on Instagram posts’ or ‘not as much likes as the other person got on his/her post’ either way we start this comparison of us with others. This reminds me of a story of a close person in my circle. She used to doubt herself a lot of times and went on this phase of existential crisis whenever she saw others of her age are doing extraordinary achievements. This seems interesting because of course nobody will share their failures, their struggles, their highs and lows on social media. We post the best things about our lives not our failures and hardships.

Social media has become our life; the center of our lives. Our generation no longer seems to interact with people in person anymore. Ironically, we will make facebook posts on meeting this person, but will not talk with this properly without getting disrupted by our phones.

My sister shares her story one day that she along with her friends went to an outing. When on the spot, her friend asked her to take a picture of her while they are all sitting. “ Let’s enjoy the moment fully”, my sister added to the conversation. The reply that shook me of this entire scenario she shared was what my sister’s friend said afterward. “ No one will know that we were here if we don’t take pictures.” No doubt, pictures capture memories, but our generation has to prove or tell everyone that if I didn’t take a picture of this particular event that basically means that never happened.

There’s no doubt that technology, social media, mobile phones and all the inventions have made our lives easier. We can chat with anyone in the world by just tapping the screen or attend an event without having to go out, one can shop online, run business online, do so many things beyond our imagination. There are hundreds and thousands of merits of the new technological world, but unfortunately the same technology has become the reason of most of the issues that today’s world is facing; crimes, theft, destruction and access to anyone’s privacy and many more.

I watched this documentary regarding social media – The Social Dilemma where the inventors of the facebook App said, “When we first invented the like button, we thought we are going to create more peace and love in the world. We had no idea the likes will measure a person’s worth or be a reason for many teens to get depressed.” Even the inventors and creators of many of these apps had zero idea of what the negative outcomes of technology will be.

The actual problem isn’t social media, or mobile phones or any of the technology but the excessive use of it. The addiction of social media is the biggest problem. Our generation needs to realise this, the sooner the better. Our lives should not only revolve around these apps. We need to know that there is a life out there apart from the screen which is full of joy and happiness. Our meals, moments, happiness, successes deserve to be captured, but not necessarily with a phone or an app. We can be happy without snapping it, we can create memories without sharing it on Instagram. Those facebook likes or Twitter retweets should not be a reason to feel worthless about ourselves. We need to stop comparing our lives to those we come across on social media; things are not what always they seem to be on social media. Let’s learn to cherish the moments, live in them before sharing them on social media. Technology was invented to make our lives uncomplicated with having access to all facilities, it should be used that way. We should be the masters of the technology, technology shouldn’t be the master of us and our lives.



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