Social media spawns harmful self-obsession

The all-about-me mentality social media is creating is detrimental to the development of personality.

Many people now live for social media. Instead of trying to live in the real world, they live for their phone screens and the approval of others on sites such as Twitter, VSCO, Facebook, and Instagram.

Social media can be seen as a window into someone’s life. From it, you can see who they hang out with the most, where they recently went, their likes and interests, and even what they just ate for dinner, but when did social media start to become people’s entire life?

The first problem with modern social media is the amount that people are on it. Social media by itself is not bad. Having an addiction to it is bad. And judging by the numbers it can be said that a lot of people do have an addiction.

People are constantly taking pictures and posting online. According to Buzzfeed, 208,300 photos are uploaded to Facebook and 278,000 tweets are sent every minute,

As a society, we have become obsessed with capturing our moments through pictures and writing. From this obsession, monumental events are being missed first hand because we’d rather see them through a phone screen while taking pictures, or tell other people what is about to happen instead of just waiting until after. Recently on Twitter, a moving image of an old woman watching the Pope surfaced. The image was not moving because of the way she looked at the pope, it was because she was the only one without a phone screen blocking her face to get a picture of the event.

Simply taking all of these pictures is not enough. Filters are added, edits have to be made, things have to be cropped out before something can be posted. And why is this? Isn’t sharing the experience enough? According to a poll conducted by The Patriot on Nov. 30, the answer is no. Seventy-two percent of students said that they need more than fifty likes to feel confident with their posts on Instagram.

This need for people liking our things leads to a second major problem of false personalities online. What people do is being influenced by social media. The phrases “Do it for the Vine,” or “Let me take a video of it” have an immediate reaction and causes a lot of people to act different than if the lense was not in front of them. People act as if they are braver and tougher when they know they are being videotaped which can lead to seriously dangerous situations.

That is a prime example of social media changing the way people act. Although this phenomenon can be seriously harmful to people who it motivates to act foolishly, some idiot doing a stupid stunt is not all that serious in the grand scheme of things. It is, however, a prime example of the huge influence social media can have on the way people act which can create serious problems.

Social media makes people obsessively compare themselves to impossible standards online. It also allows people to say or post things about people they wouldn’t say or do in person. This is seen time and again when the stories of people committing suicide due to online harassment surface on the news.

I’m not saying social media is all bad. I use it frequently myself. But when it stops being an update on life and starts being your whole life, the line has to be drawn.

Mitch Hopkins is a Multimedia Editor for the Patriot and