At a scroll of our fingertips we can see what all our peers and everyone is going to be up to this upcoming spring break. Some students have trips planned to different states, countries, or may have some “cool” activities planned. What about the rest of us who maybe just staying home relaxing, working, and kicking our feet back to a good ole Netflix movie? Is that enough or do some of us feel inadequate because we are comparing ourselves to our peer’s and all things they are posting up and doing?
In the era of social media there may be a pressure to live up to the “standards” we perceive online. We live in an age where at any moment we can be plugged into what anyone is doing at any time. Florida A&M University psychology student Saintil Romelus explained how he got caught up in the world of what called “highlight – reels”.
“I feel like everyone is trying to keep up with something, like we all look up to, I can’t even say God, but we idolize the people we see on social media,” Romelus said.” They become our Gods in a way, we want to follow what they do and do what they do. Even though we claim that we don’t want to but some part of what we are seeing influences us subconsciously.”
Romelus went on to mention his frequent presence on social media caused him to feel like he wasn’t doing enough when concerning his own passions and endeavors. After realizing the negative effects social media had on his mental health and self-esteem, he decided to take a break. He noted he has since realized how much of a clear mind he now has.
FAMU African-Media psychology lab professor, Brian Carey Sims, has his students explore the depths that the media and digital space has on young people and adults. Sims noted he has observed the shift in the effects of human connection, connection with one’s own self and how personal relationships have been negatively impacted by social media.
“Social media or media in general goes a long way in influencing how we see and or define ourselves,” Sims said.
For some students, feeling like the odd one out makes them feel the need to be a part of social media. Though these students consciously choose not to follow societal norms, social media still has some effect on their life.
Prior to getting on social media, Tallahassee Community College undecided student Emma Warton, felt the pressure of not being on there and feeling left out. Warton expressed her experience of recently just joining the social media space and how she valued face-to-face communication.
“[My friends say] ‘Oh did you see this, did you read this, or watch this’ and my response is no ‘I haven’t’ and they all are laughing, joking making these comments and relating to each other and I’m outside of that circle,” Warton said. “That in itself is that pressure of should I be involved this.”
As college students and adults, how we choose to interact with social media directly impacts us in ways that we can either be conscience to or not be. However, this spring break no matter what you’re doing or not doing, enjoy relaxing, put down your phone and appreciate whatever space or location that you’re in.
Social media is only what people choose to show us. It’s not their bad days, their bank accounts, or for a lot of people who they really are. Pressures are all around us and if social media so happens to be one of yours, maybe unplugging from it for a bit wouldn’t hurt.