I have been one of the worst of our generation when it comes to social media. Since my first Bebo account in 2005, I have spent over ten years far more concerned with what was going on online than what was going on in real life.
It is true that today, social media is crucial in the functioning of our world. Whether it is keeping you updated on if your next choir or lacrosse rehearsal is cancelled, or the President revealing his reaction to a recent global event — the world today would not cope without it.
So, this Christmas season I have decided to rid myself of the burden. I came to the realisation that it really doesn’t matter what other people are doing every single day. You probably haven’t seen them since Upper Sixth and you didn’t even like them that much then. It only leads to stress and worry. An old theory of mine was: “Even if you don’t look it’s still happening, so at least by checking you’re in the know” — but that is ludicrous, because as mentioned above: you know nothing.
You have seen your old boyfriend in a club photo and he has definitely kissed all seven girls surrounding him. You see those friends you really don’t speak to much anymore in a photo at the pub and they are bound to have spoken about their distaste for you. You see your best friends having a girls chill day, and you are hurt as to why you weren’t considered. But it is not real life. Those seven girls could be his sisters (unlikely, but possible), and no one at the pub even gave you a thought that day, and the girls chill day was arranged last minute when they knew you weren’t free anyway.
But it is not only about not seeing what other people are doing with their lives — it is just as much about others not seeing what you are doing with your life. Such anonymity is something alien to us, having grown up with so many having access to our every move. It is a bizarre thing when, immediately after Instagramming your presents, you sit there concerning yourself over whether others enjoyed and appreciated them, and not whether you enjoyed them yourself.
If you think about it, a lot of the time — without the internet connection so gracefully swooping round your head and sending lightsaber-ish beams through your house — I am clearly well educated on the topic — it is just you. You are sat there, there is a bunch of inanimate objects around you, and were your internet to fail whole-heartedly, you would suddenly feel very alone. And that is no way to be on Christmas.
I know there are benefits to social media, and I genuinely love the idea of people being able to share lovely, or beautiful, or life-changing moments with the world, if it makes them happy. But this Christmas, try putting your phone away. Time with your family is too precious to waste worrying about someone else’s. Your grandparents are not getting any younger and, before you know it, you may be spending Christmases with another family. Your experiences are not lessened and your presents are still as ace if they are not seen by others — if you are not comparing them to your friends’, they might even be better.
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