Social media. Can’t live with it. Can’t live without it. Even though this saying is cliché, it definitely applies for social platforms. I have found some really inspirational things and met some really nice people through different social apps and websites. Yet sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by social media. Especially on Facebook. As an introvert, it is already hard for me to interact with others on a regular basis. And how I am in person carries over into my online presence. I admit that I am not as social as I would like to be. Would I like to be more interactive? Yes. But I’m always stuck in between oversharing and never sharing enough. As if that isn’t bad enough, nearly all social media platforms have algorithms. Meaning you have to be active on a regular basis before you are seen by other users. It makes sense, but it certainly doesn’t help someone who is socially awkward both online and in person.
I have tried to convince myself that I need Facebook and all of my other social media accounts to interact with others, but yet I still struggle with “reaching my audiences.” At some point during any given log in time on Facebook, I don’t even have a set goal that I am trying to reach. I’m just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Liking posts every few seconds, commenting when I see fit to see if the algorithm will pick me up in case I do decide to post something. Someone is getting married. Like. Someone is having a baby. Like. That’s my way of saying, “Congratulations. I’m happy for you.” These moments are to be celebrated. Don’t get me wrong. But when it’s a day-to-day thing on Facebook, it gets exhausting. I know that people are getting older and that they’re trying to live their best lives and become their best selves. And I’m rooting for them. I really am. But I wonder, how can anyone be so happy all the time? There are a few answers. 1. Everyone experiences life differently. 2. Some people didn’t experience some of the traumatic things that I did. 3. They aren’t actually happy all the time. They just don’t show when they aren’t. I am the type of person to express myself openly, regardless of how I feel. Sometimes I will post some not-so-good feelings, and of course there are people who want to invalidate them. Facebook is a place for happy people. And if you’re anything other than that, then it’s not the place for you.
Over time, social media has taken over my life, whether I wanted it to or not. I remember in high school, I would breeze through 500 page books in two days. But that was before I had Facebook. Then, everything changed. I found it hard to stay off Facebook when I first made my profile, and I would frequent the website almost every day. As I got older, I learned to manage my time more wisely and I learned how to prioritize. Yet Facebook was something necessary in everyday life. Every time I graduated from a school institution of some sort, rather it be high school, a community college, or a four-year university, I updated my profile accordingly. The same if I changed jobs. Because that’s what everyone did on Facebook. Sometime between high school and college, my interactions on Facebook slowed down. I would only log in on occasion. I’m just not one of those people who posts every day or even every week. Or every month for that matter. Maybe if something was really bothering me or something special happened. Or I felt like posting a pic or two. But because I am not a regular poster, I don’t get many likes or comments. I just don’t feel the need to post every detail of my life. More than that, if I make a post about a topic that everyone is talking about, what makes me any different?
No matter how long I have been on Facebook, it still makes me question my self-worth. Yes, I graduated from a four-year university, but that was only the beginning. I would see people on Facebook who had gone to grad school, and it made me wonder if I should go. It took me over 3 years after college to find a job relative to my career path. I’m glad to finally be doing something I like. However, I am still faced with the problems of my past: comparing my life to others on social media. Finding the job I want is only part of it. I still want to make friends and fall in love. I know that everything will happen when it is supposed to. I just have to trust the process.
My need for validation has decreased somewhat. I know that I am different from everyone else. That everyone isn’t going to think like me or look like me, or even understand my existence. And that is okay. My worth is not defined by another person, let alone by the number of likes and comments that I get on a post. Whenever I post something, it is for me, not anyone else. And should I feel overwhelmed by interacting on social media, I’ll just log out. Gladly.