This article was originally written on my personal blog. If you woud like to read more, go to www.adriannafreedman.wordpress.com/blog.
Last night, I was on the phone with a close friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a while due to her studying for the MCAT. As we were catching up, she casually mentioned that she deactivated her Facebook account so that she could focus on her practice exams. “It’s so liberating to not have to worry about who’s liking your status or picture,” she said.
She got me thinking about something that crosses my mind periodically. Growing up in the early 2000s (yupp — that just made me feel pretty old), the world of social media didn’t exist. We didn’t get cell phones — which were flip phones — until we were in middle school, and iPhones only became popular when I was a freshman in high school. Everyone was more concerned about enjoying the moment than posing for an Instagram picture with filters. We relished in running outside to play than trying to find wifi so that we can keep up with what our friends are doing. We actually saw people rather than their social media pages.
I don’t know about you, but it bothers me that no one is taking in the moment without Snapchatting it or making sure the picture is perfect to post to Facebook and Instagram. I experienced this about a month ago when I went on a road trip with some friends. My best friend from childhood kept stopping and making my best friend from college (I’m really lucky that they got along) take photos for her so that she can post them to her Instagram account later. She then started to ask us what the best captions would be so that she can get the most likes. It irritated me so much — why was she not taking in the scenery around her? Why did it matter what someone else thinks? At one point, I had half a mind to take away her phone so that she can just “stop and smell the roses.” (it’s a good thing I didn’t, because that would’ve not gone well)
Is it just me who thinks like this?
Now don’t get me wrong — there are times when I want to have a lot of likes. A new Facebook profile picture, a status on a piece I wrote, etc. But most of the time, it really doesn’t bother me how many people like my lastest Facebook status or tweet. Although I use hashtags for my sporadic Instagram posts, I don’t get annoyed when I don’t see as many likes on my photos. It took a while, but by learning not to care what strangers think, there’s something liberating about it — just like what my friend said when she deactivated her Facebook account.
I think we live in a society that lets social media take over their lives. Everyone needs to make the rest of the world believe that we’re much cooler than we are. Everyone tries too hard to give off the impression that they’re more cultured or more traveled than their peers.
My question to you is this: who cares?
Who cares what everyone thinks? What matters more — what strangers (or even friends) think about you or what you think about you? What if you post something because you want to say it? What if you want to take a picture because you want the memory?
We need to stop letting the world dictate for us what is important. Posting that photo or status shouldn’t be for the rest of the world to see — it should be for us because we happen to like it. If everyone else likes it too, then great. But if they don’t like it, then we shouldn’t care.
It’s important to be independent of the world’s pressures. It’s time to be ourselves.