Social media has become a great way for us to keep up with and connect with people. Once made to find people from the university you attended or share a picture with your relatives, social media is now an hourly update of what people are doing everyday.
While social media is great for connecting with people, some say it has become a place where teens can alter reality, and put forth their “best self” instead of who they really are.
Math and physical education teacher Bill Huffman has strong opinions on how social media has evolved to the present day.
“I do think it’s nice that you can share things, like pictures of your family, your children, things like that even with close friends and family, so I do think that has some benefit, I appreciate that stuff […] but social media became too much information,” Huffman said. “I don’t need to know what you’re making for dinner every single night, I don’t need to know whenever you’re sitting on a bus going to work, or what the person next to you smells like. I think it’s getting to the point where it’s too much information.”
Research from the Washington Post shows that many teens use social media as a tool for representing how many friends they have and how great their life is. It says that social media is meant to represent the users real self, “Yet social media is a place where users present their ideal self, not their whole human self. That trip to Iceland? Shared. Stepping in dog poop with your new shoes? Nope.”
— John Athayde (@boboroshi) September 13, 2013
Senior Blake Silva believes that people are not true to who they really are on social media, and try to appear to have more interesting lives.
Image Crafting, or altering your social media in order to make people think of you the way they want them to, has been a tool that some teens use in order to make themselves appear more fun, cool, and popular.
“I think I judge people by what their profile looks like, even though I probably shouldn’t, but it is them putting up what they think,” freshman Gabby Sones said. “I think people put on their profile what they want people to think of them, even if that’s not who they really are and I think everyone judges everyone by what their profile looks like, even if that’s not who they are.”
Many teens also feel stressed that they have to appear in a certain way, or gain a specific number of “friends” or “followers.”
“I think definitely everyone looks at higher standards, tries to be like other people and wants to fit in. And people do post things out of range of who they are to look better,” junior Anika Hernandez said.
Research from NBC has shown that most humans can count their close friends on one hand. Yet the average Facebook user has 130 “friends.”
“You think, ‘Ok, I have four profiles on different networks to uphold’ and there’s all that pressure like ‘How many followers do I have there?’ , ‘How many are there?’ , ‘Who’s seeing this?’, ‘What should I post today?’” Silva said. “So there’s definitely stress and it’s kind of stupid actually to walk around and be like ‘What am I going to Instagram today?’ and you think about it and so it is stressful in that way.”