Social Media- What makes it toxic

The photo above was taken by my husband while we were on one of the beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico. We were visiting his family at the time and I think anyone would take a look at this photo and long to be on the beach. Some may have felt excitement and happy for me while others, may have felt jealousy and resentment for not having the ability to go on vacation. This is one thing that’s toxic about social media; no matter what source. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. the pictures that we take, including selfies, pictures of vacation, a new outfit, or an expensive dinner date; they’re just a snapshot of a brief moment and while some may be extravagant and beautiful, they’re unrealistic. We post on social media what we want others to see. Above, you see a beautiful photo of me on the beach but what you don’t see are the tears shed on that same beach due to feelings of judgement and insecurity. You don’t see that this photo was taken on May, 13th 2016, the anniversary date of my mother’s death. I posted beautiful photos during that whole vacation on different social media sources and I was having the worst time of my life.

Whether we like it or not, everything we post on social media is for the attention of others. “Look at me”; “look what I’m doing”, “look how pretty I am”, “look how cute my outfit is”, “look how great my relationship is”, “tell me how bad you feel for me”,” look how talented I am”, “look at the meme I found”, or “tell me how great my kids are.” It’s all to receive likes, friends, or followers. However, you don’t see the arguments or tears during someone’s family vacation, you don’t see the hours of time put into makeup for “that perfect selfie.” People don’t show you the amount of debt they’re in, the hurt they’re feeling, or the battles they’re fighting.

When we post on social media, a lot of people don’t realize how their posts impact others. While you post about having fun at a Christmas or New Years Eve party with all your friends and family, someone else might be spending it alone. While you post pictures of your newborn baby, another woman may be struggling with infertility. Some post vacation photos or pictures of their new Apple watch, while another follower or friend can barely afford gas to get to work. Some people crave that attention or envy from others, but if my readers are anything like me, they wouldn’t want anyone to feel irrelevant or inferior.

Social media sources can damage self-esteem and self worth especially for those who are going through a difficult time. When you’re struggling with depression, grief, insecurity, low self-esteem, financial issues, etc. it can be difficult if every time you log onto a social media source and you get bombarded with the best moments in everyone’s lives. It can make anyone feel inferior and discouraged. This is especially for media sources that involve “followers” like Instagram or Twitter. The term “follower” just sounds degrading. People who have less followers than someone else may leave them feeling inferior or irrelevant. Sometimes there are situations where someone follows someone else expecting that person to reciprocate and they don’t. There are other times when someone does follow back but only for one sided reasons; to get more attention, likes, and to overall boost their fragile self-esteem. People like this usually avoid liking other posts or neglect replying back to comments. It’s become an “I’m better than you” mentality. When in reality, it’s due to extreme insecurity and an inflated self- esteem. (Inflated self-esteem for those who aren’t in this field, is a feeling of superiority that tends to make a person believe that they’re better than others.) Anyone who feels the need to step on someone else to feel on top, are extremely insecure.

There are people that post about others on Facebook or you get “sub-tweeting” on Twitter. On these social media forms, it can be easy to post a meme that you see or create a vague status/tweet that is targeted towards one of your friends or family members. It’s important if someone has an issue with another person, not to post about them on social media, give them them the silent treatment, or talk about them behind their back. That’s cowardly, immature, and hurtful. Using direct communication is a sign of someone’s maturity and character. If the person you have an issue with is not mature enough for direct communication and is too toxic, distancing or removing yourself from their social media would be a wise thing to do.

All media forms are full of trolls, insecure people, controversial posts, arguments, and drama. These are some examples of the toxicity I see on media sources. Social media can be a great way to keep in contact with family and friends who live in different countries or states, help promote a business, or blog (like this one). However, most media sources sell our data and make money off of us while we argue, hate, and envy one another. It’s not worth it. I hope this post gives insight to others and if someone reading this right now is feeling jealous, inferior, or irrelevant to other people’s lives, I hope you remember everything is for the attention of others and posts are snapshots of what people want others to see rather than the reality they’re truly living. We’re all human and have our own struggles and pain. Each and every one of us are relevant, have our own talents, dreams, and goals. It’s important not to compare yourself to others because we are all equally blessed, just in different areas. If you find a social media source is too toxic for you, I would encourage removing yourself, focusing on yourself and your own life goals.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW ARE HAVING THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE, PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE AT 1-800-273-8255 FOR SUPPORT OR IMMEDIATELY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN/ NEAREST HOSPITAL

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