Every morning I wake up and there is a nagging yet fulfilling task that I am forced to complete: I must check each of my social media platforms. Not only do I need to see what new updates took place while I was sleeping, but I wish for a new notification. I unplug my baby blue iPhone 5 from its charger and get to scrolling.
Facebook is the social media platform that takes up most of my time. It is a great place to connect with others and feel close to people you may not necessarily get the chance to see in real life. I scroll through my news feed every day to see what my friends and family have to offer. A new selfie! Family vacation photos! My friend’s daughter just took her first step!
Instead of going to your friend’s houses to flip through their photo albums, Facebook grants me instant digital access to their images. It is so easy to connect with people and organizations through Facebook. My main audience on Facebook is family, old classmates, past and present coworkers, and friends I have made throughout my 22 years of life.
One of my strengths on Facebook is making statuses that grab the attention of my audience. When the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was virally taking over news feeds, I made a status to poke fun at the situation. I jokingly said, “You have 24 hours to pour boiling hot water all over yourself, or you must donate $20 to my checking account.” I received a lot of likes on this status. However, some people aren’t aware of my sense of humor and took offense to my statement.
A consequence of social media is the ongoing need for a new notification. This longing can be mentally draining. After I post a status or photo, I find myself incessantly reloading my home screen, impatiently waiting for a notification. It can be quite discouraging when only a miniscule amount of “friends” like what you have posted. As I take a more objective look at social media as a whole, I realize that my dependence on new notifications is detrimental.
This yearning for internet approval can subconsciously affect self-esteem in a negative way. I personally worry for my young nephews that a lack of attention on social media will harm their self-esteem. My youngest nephew has an Instagram account and I can’t help but notice all of the effort he puts in to getting ‘likes’. He, like many other internet users, take part in “Like For Like” exchanges. These covenants highlight the dire need for a new notification. Dependence on internet attention is a huge mistake that many people make. However, we can’t be blamed. It is natural to want attention.