Social Media: The conclusion to all symptoms of the restless affliction pervading mankind; the casual cancer spreading through the web of humanity for half a decade; the I–am-not-one-of-those sewage we are irrevocably trying to wash-off.
Once a deified human invention, social media is being defiled, defamed and dissed. Sure, it has its downsides – plenty, but one particular cause for this vilification is a result of our inability to accept our fundamental human issues. One of the issues at the forefront of social-media-mea-culpa is insecurity.
The 24-year-old with a Harvard admit. The guy that looks like the work of a sculptor. The gal that looks like she’s been drawn to scale. The entrepreneur – whose birth year you tracked down, falls after yours – with one arm over his new BMW. A Linkedin page that is a list of achievements that spans the length of a novella. And finally, the vapid status message with more likes than all your status messages over the last five years, combined.
Do you have to lose something to feel like a loser?
You went from feeling pretty good about yourself to feeling like a colossal failure in under 2 minutes. That’s a new record. You decide: what’s the point of trying to be successful when everyone is ahead of you already! You get frustrated every time, but continue to watch the social media series called: “the astonishingly incredible lives of people who are not you.”
Do you remember a time when you hurt yourself bad? You are crying and screaming and staring into your wound and then comes the admonishment: Stop talking about the wound – stop seeing the wound – and you won’t feel the pain – here: a band-aid! Then, social media came along – saw your pained expression that said: “I am in pain, but can’t talk about it and that’s more painful than the pain I am in” – felt bad for you – gave you friends to talk to – and then when you were not looking, it ripped the band-aid off. You had forgotten all about the wound, and – in a sickening way – social media exposed it. Instead of feeling the pain, letting the wound heal, and then poking on it like a hero, you ran off looking for another band-aid.
The wounds of insecurity social media exposed us to needs a lot more than the band-aid. Because, the band-aid is going to be ripped off again and exposed and the pain is going to be worse. Social media doesn’t breed insecurity. It brings it to the surface. And in a way it’s great because, now, it’s easy to spot. All those band aided wounds are craving for some air in their pus-induced messy state. Let the wounds open. Because after a point you will be okay. You will realize that half the people you are insecure about – you don’t want to be like and the other half – well, the other half is just as insecure. Those are signs of the wounds drying up in an emotionless pit.
None of this is the result of social media alone. Insecurity has always been there. It will be for generations to come. Time was the air that healed the wounds for the previous generations. That’s why you’ll hear the earlier generations talk about how – over time, they realized how seldom other people thought of them and they eventually stopped feeling agonizingly conscious about – well – embarrassing you!
But, I don’t have that kind of time. It’s been two days! How long can I feel like a loser already? So, yeah, the Harvard guy was a case of dumb-luck, the sculpted guy is on steroids, and that Linkedin bio guy is full of crap. By god, that feels so much better. Calls for a status update.
We get thrown off by insignificant minutiae of comparison – get hurt – and reach out for a band-aid. The insecurity that social media so easily exposed is being covered up by a relentless band-aided need to feel like you aren’t a pathetic loser, which you aren’t. Instead of treating the wound gently, you let it become this huge gaping scar everyone can see.
Social media may not have been the greatest human invention. But, in a way, it is very human: it’s nowhere close to perfect and it has brought this weird sense of togetherness. This was supposed to be a defense for insecurity, but it has turned out to be a defense for social media. And in a way, I think one cannot be achieved without the other. This is not a post to advocate social media. I have very little presence on any social media myself. Insecure, I guess. But, if you inevitably happen to visit, a band aid will be ripped off. It’s okay to look at the wound and even scream a little. The wound is not a reflection on your life. Because if someone else’s success is a reflection of your failure, you will always feel like a failure. Even in the success that comes along your way, you only see the failure to dream someone else’s dream, to succeed someone else’s success.
There is no Audi. I like uber way too much. Even if there was one and I choose to make it this huge profile pic, the absence of an Audi from your life should be no measure of your presence. Because, in the end, you are only going to remember the long walks.