Social Media versus Social Distancing

The world has become a bit topsy-turvy. Like many, I was subjected to online schooling and limited contact with the outside world. Without in-person education or extracurriculars, my schedule cleared up quickly. Invigorated by my newfound free time, I did what my generation does best: browse the neverending content on every social media platform imaginable!

I spent hours sifting through tweets from my favorite celebrities, Instagram posts detailing the daily lives of my peers and the Facebook statuses of my co-workers. As my physical contact with people declined, I found comfort in these small updates. This little slice of humanity let me remember the faces behind the screens. However, the same could not be said for others.

Social media allows us to create a finely framed image of our lives. When we start to push the importance of our online persona, it can be easy to lose one’s self to vanity and narcissism. Personally, I started to notice this trend among my peers, and likely, you have too.

Likes and comments have driven a lot of us to ask the questions: how can I get more attention? How can I give my profile more of an aesthetic? What can I do to be more like them? Seemingly trivial questions have distorted the minds of social media users more than ever before. These thoughts set unrealistic expectations and pointless goals. These platforms should be connecting us but only continue to push us apart. 

If aesthetics weren’t dangerous enough, social media has been a strong catalyst for discourse. While conversation can be incredibly enlightening, social media platforms are arguably one of the worst forums to use. COVID-19 deniers are upset when they see posts or threads stressing the importance of masks. Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement are enraged by others attempting to disprove black oppression. Sharing your opinion is not a crime, but not creating an open dialogue to discuss opinions should be.

The search for human connection has become increasingly futile, and social media is a less than ideal fix. To all those looking to fill that social void, please take this time for self-discovery and to educate yourself on the issues that are plaguing our society. We cannot make national progress without personal progress.

Jacob Thompson ’24 is from Fremont, IN.