Where ever I find myself, I can’t help but notice the amount of people plugged into outlets or their cellphone. Most of these people are people around my age. My generation truly is dependent on their devices. Everyone seems to be scrolling Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or sending some Snapchats. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love social media and my devices as much as the next person. I use them to help me benefit my life. I don’t however, make them a game of popularity.
I’ve started to notice in the last several months how much people are basing their social ranking off of social media. People without social media profiles seem to be “uncool”. If someone doesn’t get x amount of likes on their post, they’re not cool or what they did wasn’t noteworthy. It seems that the more followers someone has, the cooler they are.
Before I get too ahead of myself, i’ll admit that I love having followers and likes. It does make me feel accomplished. It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that what i’m doing is funny, exciting or that I make a life for myself that people are interested in following. Damn straight i’m a interesting person, and if you don’t agree with me, feel free to unfollow, unlike or ignore. I won’t be upset.
I was recently confronted by a girl after unfollowing her on a social media platform. I unfollowed her because I wasn’t interested in her pictures and we hardly ever interacted. I would still talk to her if I saw her at school and still consider her a friend. I simply unfollowed because I didn’t see the need to stay connected. Now the only way she would have known I unfollowed her within a few hours of me hitting her with the unfollow train, would be a special app. There are apps these days that will tell you who unfollowed you, and give you the option to unfollow them as well. Quite frankly, who gives a damn?
If someone follows someone only because they follow them, what’s the reason for following? Yes, it can be a mutual sign of respect. But did you really care about them before this? No. The reason these “followbacks” or unfollows happen are for popularity. People want as many followers as possible. They need it to show the world that they’re popular and cool, so they can get more followers and thus the vicious cycle ensues. Unfollowing someone because the unfollowed you just seems immature to me.
The more followers you have, the more likes you’ll get. Likes seem to be social media’s holy grail. A friend of mine told a story he had on a train headed to SLC. He overheard a couple girls high school to college aged talking about instagram. They said that if they don’t get a lot of likes instantly, they’ll remove the picture and repost it later. Reposting it later doesn’t change what your picture was. It doesn’t change how special it was to you. All you’re doing is trying to show off to people you most likely don’t even talk to on a weekly basis of how cool you are with all your likes. Swag.
A trend I noticed in Utah since being here is photo-shoots. Everyone seems to be a photographer. No disrespect intended for those who use photography as an art and enjoy it. But the people who are photographers for their friends so they can have a sick new Instagram post make me sick. Girls mainly, seem to be shelling out nearly $100 for a photo-shoot with these so-called photographers for the main purpose of pictures to post to social media. What happened to the days when the only reason you would have professional pictures taken was for special events or monumental moments in your life? You’re not fooling anybody. The only person you model for is Instagram.
These same girls will often go do activities so they can have “adventurous” pictures to post so they won’t look basic like the rest of their friends. Several times I’ve seen girls go to the lake or hiking for example and not get in the water or hike more than 100 yards. They take 20 pictures and then leave. Shout out to the girls who break a sweat or get their hair wet on a “lake day”. How fabricated are our lives becoming?
A girl recently did a project where she told her friends and family she was going on a 2 week vacation somewhere exotic. For two weeks she posted pictures of her swimming, hiking, eating exotic foods and of landscapes. The catch was, she never left her apartment. With the help of her boyfriend, she photoshopped and over edited nearly every picture she posted. She did it to prove how fake we can make our lives if we really want to.
Am I the last one who posts pictures and tweets updates on my life as way to stay in contact with my friends? Am I the only who at the end of the day doesn’t care if someone unfollowed me? I don’t do cool things to take cool pictures. I do cool things to do cool things. Now I do love filming my activities because one of my hobbies is film making. Getting cool footage is often a motivating factor to really do something cool. However, I don’t go out and plaster the videos on social media. I’ll tweet a quick link about what I was doing and that’s the end.
We need to start doing things because WE enjoy them and because WE appreciate it. Post a picture that you like. Tweet what you want to tweet. Follow whoever you find interesting. Unfollow someone because you really don’t give a damn. There are bigger things in life to worry about than someone unfollowing you. Set yourself free from the social media popularity contest.
Now, to those of you saying i’m a hypocrite or that i’m only saying this because I have a substantial amount of followers, I don’t really care. The reason I only follow 20 something people on twitter, and maybe 100 on Instagram is because that’s the amount of people I find significant and interesting enough to follow their, every move. I don’t do it because I want to look cool. If I follow someone, I want it to show to them that I really dig them. They’re interesting and to keep on doing what they’re doing. If I don’t follow you, don’t take it personal. We just aren’t good enough friends yet. O
Do not worry if your Instagram picture only got 40 likes and your friend got 400 on hers. Chances are she’s a basic and you’re better than her. Don’t worry about someone unfollowing you. If a girl has more followers than you that doesn’t make her any more popular, attractive, wealthy or smarter than you. Well, she’s probably hot. But maybe you’re hot too. Who knows.
People would do good to step back from social media. Stop making it a popularity contest. Follow, post and like things and people you actually like. Do you. Social media was created as a tool to stay connected with those you care about. I’m pretty sure the person who follows thousands of people and has thousands of people doesn’t care about you. He wants your follow to add to his pile. You have a connection with loved ones, old and current friends at your finger tips. Use it to benefit and build relationships. Not as a popularity contest. Ten years from now, nobody is going to care or remember how many likes you got on your “I love the changing seasons” selfie you posted on Instagram. Use these gifts we have to broadcast your real, authentic and unfiltered life to your friends.