Almost everyone from our generation uses social media. According to Illusionsoft, 90% of millennials use social media. A question we should ask ourselves could be: do we care more about our physical relationships, the ones in person, or how “popular” we are on social media. We all know the euphoric feeling of when a new post gets a ton of likes, or when someone new and creative follows your Instagram account. This feeling can become addictive, and we can start to falsify our realities to get people to like us more.
Many people curate their photos that they post to show the “best” them they can be. The exciting places they go, the great food they eat, their friends they go out with and social gatherings. This isn’t people’s every day lives. People are even guilty of “throw back Thursday” because their current events aren’t as interesting as the Mexico trip from 2 years ago. I, myself, am no exception to this trap that has been shaped in the latest generation. I was an early adopter of Instagram downloading it after the first few months it was created when I was a junior in high school, 5 years later and I am more active than ever on that same account.
This is important because it is changing the relationships of the people around us. On an episode of Black Mirror, Season 3 episode 1, they created a dystopia where you were judged by the “rating” you got from your social circle. People can see what your rating is and if for example you are under a 4.0, you aren’t allowed in certain areas like first class on a flight. Could this dystopia actually be what our society is coming to? Ratings and likes becoming more important than the actual relationships we have between people. It is certainly influencing the job market. Professionals can look at a potential new hire and look into their public posts on social media, and if they feel that candidate isn’t a “good fit” even if their interviews were stellar and experiences on par; they can bag that person if they see a post that doesn’t represent them as a company.
Advertisers hopped on this bandwagon faster than anyone because it opened entire job sectors in social media. Consumers have doubled their advertising exposure just from the access to twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This has created a numbing effect to the consumer and often over stimulates the minds of our youth.
Another question may be; should we as a society, embrace this change, or recognize it and try to stop it. In my personal opinion, this is what life inevitably will come to. Like in the movie Wall-e, the people on the ship interact with each other via face timing verses in person conversations. They rely on technology to generate social interactions. We may be a long way from this extremist point of view, but it may not be as far off as most people believe.
It isn’t all-bad though, social media allows us to connect with people on a wider range than ever before. If you need to find someone that you never got their number for but you know their name, you can usually find them on social media. This is something that wasn’t present 20 years ago when you had to have a phone book just to find the person you were looking for.
I am not against social media in any way. In fact, I want my career to be market research for the new media. But it is interesting to look into how it affects our pop culture, how influential the influencers actually are and what they can get their followers to do unconsciously. Maybe this is the way it’ll be and we should accept it, only time will tell.