Seeing is believing…
…except when it’s on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook.
Social Media, generally, is toxic. I accept, it can have benefits, but more often than not, it is both a distraction and almost entirely fake. Personally, I’ve found myself using it less and less over the past two years; I almost never check facebook or messenger, I check Instagram and snapchat twice a day, and that’s pretty much it. The only media I still use often is LinkedIn, which is probably the only social media beneficial to you as a person.
But the poisonous and fomo-ing nature of social media is another story for another post. Today I want to pick up on a smaller point I just made – that more often than not, social media is fake – or at least heavily curated. Even I’ll admit I’m guilty of this – carefully selecting the best parts of my life, laden with editing and filters, posted to my media at the correct times. Scrolling through my feeds, you’d think I’m living the life. And to be honest, it’s kind of common knowledge that we all do this now – we’re at a point when we know and we see through it and move on with our lives.
However, there is one situation where we all find it rather hard to do this. A type of situation where it’s not quite FOMO, but almost something worse. Let’s call it FOND; Fear Of Not Doing.
It’s when people begin to share their work or revision on social media. Suddenly you’re struck by this empty and sinking feeling – and not in a motivational way. Suddenly you feel bad for being out or having a good time – and if you’re having a good time… well you’re not anymore.
And these types of posts can be anywhere and everywhere – people posting their beautifully crafted and incredibly detailed notes on Instagram. People showing you that they were up to 3 am studying on snapchat. It fills you with this sense of invalidation and the question of whether you’re doing enough. If they can do it, so can you, right? If they’re doing so much work, you should too right, right?!
No… well not necessarily.
Somehow, when seeing these types of posts online, we forget that media is curated. That everything posted online by others has been carefully thought out to present a certain image and coax particular reactions or emotion. The people posting these images may be doing what they say they are – or they may not. They’ve had the time to post it and you haven’t – so maybe they’re not quite as studious are they’re making out.
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. Maybe they are working more than you – but maybe they need to. So what if you’ve chosen to go out for a day trip and they’re sat at home revising. Everyone has different abilities and some people need to work harder than others. Just because they’re doing something does not mean you need to be doing it too. They are them and you are you.
And then you have the worst case scenario; I don’t really like to assume negatively of people or see ‘bad’ attributes in one, but in the real world some people are not your friend. There are some people out there who get a kick out of posting these things on media, solely to make you feel bad that you’re not doing something and that they are. To make themselves feel superior for studying X amount – so please remember this. And also feel bad for these people – because they have to get esteem and satisfaction from making other people feel bad. Remember that it’s the quality of your studying, not the quantity – and if these people really want to play the superiority game, then they should really be focusing on having the best end result and not sharing their journey to get there.
So next time you see something like this on social media, don’t feel bad or FOND, and don’t let yourself give into this unspoken competition that someone is trying to start with you. You know you – you know what you need to do and when, and you also know that everything on social media is selected and curated. There’s even a chance that what you’re seeing is not true.
When using Social media it is so easy to let other people’s lives consumes you – especially when it comes to studying – and you can’t let it. If anything you have to do the opposite and pull away entirely, focussing on yourself, you’re goals and the journey to need to take to achieve them.
For me, this means that during the exam season I usually deactivate most of my media and delete the apps – for two reasons. 1, I don’t need any distraction in these vital times and 2, I don’t want to see what other people doing or studying – I need to be studying myself.
So I’d just say, that when revision and exam season pulls around, just bear these things in mind, remember that media is curated, and most importantly, do not feel bad. Look away, focus on yourself, and get on with your life.