Social media seems to be a staple in a teenager’s life. Tell somebody around your age that you do not have a Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter…and they will look at you sideways.
Confessing to a lack of an online presence could be considered brave in today’s world. One may ask how you communicate with others, stay up to date with the world, or express yourself. Some could not imagine a life without the occasional selfie post, while others indulge in the validation from friends and strangers that fill their comment section.
If you click on anybody’s Instagram page, more likely than not, you would find at least one photo of the person striking a pose in their best look. It’s human nature to want others to perceive you in a positive light. We want people, whether we know them or not, to see us as beautiful, confident, or unique. Even in the 15th century, people used self-portraits as a display of wealth, status, and beauty.
Now in the era of technology, we have modernized how to display ourselves the best we can through social media. This leads to the question: do we post on social media for others or ourselves? The answer is both.
Many studies have shown that our social media posts can either help or harm our self-esteem. When our posts do well, we get an instant hit of gratification. As we get more likes, comments, and followers, our brain releases more dopamine, which perpetuates one’s constant posting online.
As we yearn for more validation, our online posts become more performative than personal. Many young individuals only post pictures or videos that they feel will get the best response from others. This has caused social media to be less casual.
It is hard to predict if social media will ever become as casual as it was when it first began. We have created a culture of only posting perfection. Many want their feed to be curated and fit into an aesthetic rather than truly expressing themselves.
We must always remember that our self-worth is not determined by the number of likes we get or the number of followers we have. When you are on social media, don’t be afraid to just be your authentic self rather than an image of who you think people want to see.