The Social Media Blackhole

I love social media. I spend a lot of time by myself, so it makes me feel like I’m ‘talking’ to or interacting with people. I also like being nosey at everyone’s lives, if I’m 100% honest!

On a bad day, it makes whatever emotional roller coaster I’m on worse. Except, I know for sure it’s not just me and my endocrine-challenged mind which feels like that, other people must have similar thoughts. I have to remind myself that it’s a snapshot of people’s lives- everyone puts things on social media for some type of reaction, otherwise, what’s the point in it? I should point out that any examples I use are made up, generic (exaggerated) examples, I’m not actually subtly ‘having a go’ (which is what some people do on social media, let’s face it), or suggesting people’s posting habits are to blame. On a bad day:

It makes me feel like a failure in society. My newsfeed is full of pregnancy scans, babies, engagements, career moves, achievements… Do I begrudge anyone their happy photos or posts? No, I quite like seeing them. But once you see a few of those posts in a row and start comparing them with yourself, it’s so easy to get into a spiral of how you’re not living up to society’s expectations. Can I do anything about my place in society at the moment? No, I’ve done well if I get dressed that day, but it’s not Facebook worthy. However, it’s gone beyond people sharing their happiness, it’s now become a kind of competition with challenges and chain posts and games which ‘dare’ you to get involved and say you’re ‘no fun’ if you don’t. It’s a little bit school-playground-ish sometimes. The worst one, which doesn’t actually apply to me but still makes me cross, is the motherhood challenge where you have to post photos of what makes you feel proud to be a mother and tag other ‘good’ mothers. What happens if someone takes a few days to get tagged, or worse, never gets tagged, does that make them a bad mother?! There is nothing challenging about putting photos of you and your child up, people do that anyway and they shouldn’t feel like they need a Facebook challenge to do so. So what is the purpose of the challenge?

I feel like I’m wasting my life. Someone spent the day climbing the Grand Canyon. Or travelled to 2 places for work this week. Or went out to 2 parties last week. What did I achieve this week? I got dressed every day and didn’t have to go to the hospital *hi-five*! People have countdowns to things. What am I counting down to? Nothing. Which makes me feel like I should be counting down to something… And the spiral starts again.

I start to stress about the state of my house/garden. It was a bank holiday yesterday so lots of people were posting their gardening achievements. Ours still looks like a jungle. How do they have time to keep on top of their house and garden, still go to 3 BBQs and travel to Thailand via Australia this weekend, as well as having quality time with their kids?!

I hate my body image. Fitness and diet goals are the ‘thing’ at the moment as people try to get ‘beach ready’. Whoever came up with that phrase needs to be shot, if everyone just went to the beach as ‘them’, there wouldn’t be a definition of ‘beach ready’. By all means, be healthy and have a body which shows that, but why do we put ourselves under so much pressure?

I get paranoid that people’s vague, passive aggressive posts about how much someone has annoyed them is somehow something to do with me. How silly. 90% of the time I probably haven’t talked to that person in 24 hours so it can’t be me. Or is that why they’ve posted it, *because* I haven’t spoken to them?! ‘Seriously, how arrogant is that, thinking it’s about you’, chimes up another voice. And so the spiral starts…

That said, some people do use it as a way to make people feel bad. As in, they’ll post photos of their amazing trip or picnic or whatever with all your mutual friends there, but you weren’t invited. What’s that about? Well, people who do that aren’t worth my Facebook stalking, so I unfollow them or unfriend them. Petty? Yes, but they probably won’t notice anyway.

It’s a snapshot. I have to keep reminding myself of this on a bad day. And there are two reasons people post things:
1) Because they’re genuinely feeling something (happiness, sadness) and want to share;
2) They want to give off the impression that everything is brilliant in their life, for example, and posting on social media eases their insecurities.

 Both are legitimate reasons, we’ve all done it. This video sums it up well 😉

So the best thing to do on bad days is to turn it off. People aren’t acting any differently from usual, it’s how I react to it that is the problem. It’ll still be there when I’m in a better place mentally to deal with it. And it minimises the risk of getting sucked into the social media blackhole and wasting hours online in a clicking circle, when I could be spending them on doing something productive (and then posting about it on social media afterwards)!

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Banner Photo: Google Image

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