“Wait, stop! I need to take a picture of this!”
“Totally VSCO worthy.”
“This would make such a cute Insta!”
“I have the perfect caption!”
These are phrases we’ve heard commonly among teenagers today and is something I find particularly interesting. Taking and posting photos to social media has become a staple in many students’ identities, especially in recent years. Looking “trendy” online and showing others what you’re doing, to some, is a high priority.
To many teenagers right now, appearance on social media is everything–and if not everything, it’s certainly something. I’ve witnessed on many accounts an absurd amount of time being spent on getting the right angle, pose, lighting, or background that they often miss the event going on right in front of them. Going to concerts is more often than not filled with phones in front of the audience’s faces (a video they will most likely never watch again, might I add). This idea intrigues me due to the rise of importance of being on social media. The phrase “pics or it didn’t happen” has become quite literal. If you didn’t post a picture at Lollapalooza, how will people know you went? Or what you wore? That is where the problem lies.
We are so concerned with getting the perfect picture to show how great of a time we had that it often ends up with the response of, “it was okay.” Many would have a hard time going through a day of significance without pulling out phones to document each passing mpomet. Snapchat has definitely encouraged us to take out our phones for every little occurrence and snap a quick picture or a video; it’s typical to think everyone who watches our story will be captivated by our experiences when, in reality, they’re most likely just clicking through it without a second thought. Self-worth or social status is often attributed with the amount of activity one gets on their post, something I personally think is damaging–especially to high schoolers susceptible to confidence issues– and should change.
I admit, I am guilty of being sucked into the web that is social media. I am an avid Instagrammer and cannot deny the prevalence it has in my life. It’s addicting to stay updated on others lives, especially those you don’t even know personally (celebrities, athletes, friends of friends.) It gives the illusion of actually knowing that person without ever meeting them. On the flip side, the feeling of others being engrossed in your life is invigorating. It makes us feel important and well-liked, something a lot of high schoolers consider crucial. It’s easy to put up a front of what we want people to know about us—exotic vacations, concert-going, dances, birthdays, etc. Essentially, a lens into the idealized version of yourself.
While I understand social media has become an almost unavoidable part of our lives, I urge the student body, and myself, to actually live in those moments you’re posting. Don’t stop a good time by pulling out your phone for another picture to get lost in your camera roll or feed. I’m not saying we should stop taking photos all together, they’re a great tool for memories in the right place and the right time. When those memories start and end with the lens of an iPhone, though, is where it becomes problematic. Honestly, all I’m saying here is your eyes will do that concert, food, or sunset much better justice than a camera ever will.