As much as growing up in the digital era has offered us an array of benefits, I can’t help but wonder what our lives would be like right now without it.
Would you be sent a bunch of flowers instead of being sent a meme? Maybe you wouldn’t have a boyfriend right now because without the Instagram DM function, how else would he have slid into your life? It’s sort of like imagining a world without coffee, or any other of your dependencies. Would setting yourself free from them be liberating? Or would we be completely lost?
There is no doubt that social media has added a lot to our lives. But has it truly added to the quality of our living?
A report from the University of Glasgow on digital trends found that those who were overactive and emotionally invested in their digital lives reported worse sleep quality, lower self-esteem and higher instances of anxiety and depression when compared to their peers who cared less, or at least spent less time on mainstream social media sites.
Our beloved internet has facilitated international communication, provided us with infinite access to information resources, driven e-commerce and on the adversity side of the coin, an endless number of ways to trigger anxiety.
The group chat is blowing up and you feel pressured to reply or be saddled with 200 unread messages later. TRIGGERED. Leaving your mate on seen because you were running to the toilet to take a shit, only for them to message you the next day saying, “I hope it was worth it.” TRIGGERED. Not getting 20 likes in 10 minutes. TRIGGERED. Your Instagram grid doesn’t look like a beautifully curated art gallery. TRIGGERED. And if this all happens at once? Well let’s pray that apocalyptic event never comes.
Thanks to this addiction we’ve fostered, juicing isn’t the only cleanse we can attempt to heal our souls with. Now we’re going on social media cleanses so that we can disconnect from all of our digital obligations. But there’s still some who have not turned to the dark side. They are a rare minority, they are the one’s who how you say, “don’t have Insta.”
Aidan McNamara, 21, Melbourne University Science student doesn’t have an account on Instagram (yes, he is a real person) and he can assure you he never will. “I don’t need other people ‘liking’ my photos for me to feel good about myself.”
“I use Facebook to copy other people’s uni assignments, to talk to boo and to look at funny memes/videos. All the important stuff, you know.”
As the digital landscape expands and continues to saturate essentially every industry you can name, I can’t help but feel like I’m being lured right into a trap.
I hop on LinkedIn (because where else am I going to find job listings other than on the internet) and am immediately bombarded with the most recent prospects. Social media coordinator. Social media manager. Social media specialist.
Should I be feeling over the moon that I could earn a salary for hashtagging posts on Instagram? Something that has become so second nature to me, I could just drop out of university right now and never look back. I imagine a life that revolves around newsfeeds and it makes my head spin. And that’s something I only like cigarettes doing.
If this is where our world is going, shouldn’t we be trying to make peace with social media instead of temporarily blocking it out? We need to make the (digital sphere) world a nicer place to coexist with. What don’t you like about social media? What would you change?
Words by Amber De Luca – Tao
IG – @amber_wintour
Art by Bella Conlan
IG – @cella.bonglan