I wanted to write a post about the negative side of social media because I have been left feeling bad about myself during lockdown, something I attributed to social media use. However, following the increase of online activism in the wake of the resurgence of visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I felt like I would almost be betraying the impact social media has had in educating and promoting the movement. My blog post was to reflect my own head space, however following the benefits of social media the past few weeks, my mindset has changed. My perception of social media was a reflection of the content I was being shown. Something that has been changed recently, Miss Sarahtonin saw me slipping and caught me.
I went through a horrible mental health dip last year in which I found myself opening my social media apps only to see everyone else around me living their best life. At a time where it felt like I couldn’t do the same. So I deleted any apps that were making me feel bad about myself. This included Facebook, Snapchat and the ultimate highlight reel Instagram. The break I took from social media was well needed, but it wasn’t the apps that were making me feel bad about myself. It was my own thoughts and feelings, but I was projecting my own insecurities onto others who were using social media, as a way of coping. I was almost blaming other people for enjoying their lives when it seemed as if mine was crumbling down around me. I’m not however denying there exists a toxic environment on social media when people post for the approval of others and the entirety of so-called influencers profiting off of the insecurity of others. Thats a whole other essay girl and I need to spread out my content— I have like 4 ideas and I can’t do them all at once. I wish I could say I re-downloaded my socials due to my personal growth and development that allowed me to post without fear. No, I re-downloaded because, as much as I try to dispute it, I’m nosey. I need to see what that one girl who randomly followed me 4 years ago graduate, I wanted to see if the person I was talking to months ago was going to like a picture I posted. Curiosity can be a wonderful thing when applied productively, I however use it to fill my brain with distractions. Sitting with myself and my thoughts was too much for me, I needed to know everyone else’s life to live my own. And now writing it down I can see it for what it really is, a toxic mentality.
Enter Miss Sarahtonin
This bitch did not want me to live my life through a phone screen or through other people. I stopped following people who made me unhappy. As much as I try to convince myself I owe people a follow, in which I never like their posts and skip their stories, I don’t owe anyone anything. An inactive follower is more impressive than a non follower right? WRONG. Why should I feel empty seeing other people happy when there are people who genuinely want to share that happiness with them? I can’t feel guilty for not liking something, just as I can’t blame someone else for not liking what I post. At a buffet does the salmon jump up and cause a scene over the tuna that was chosen by someone else? Bitch no, it’s a dead fish. It is also not to everyones taste and that salmon can’t change that. But you know what, I like salmon, and so do lots of other people. I like salmon spiced, or poached or baked with lemon, I will consume salmon almost every way. Some people like their salmon spiced and not poached but they still like salmon! Just because someone likes you doesn’t mean they have to like you every way you’re presented. They’re only here for the taste that they want. And that is OKAY. It is time for another commandment of Miss Sarahtonin
“Thou shall not let another persons social media dictate how I see myself”
Writing this out it seems silly that I am so concerned by someones online life in comparison to my own but unfortunately myself and my peers use social media in a way which has had an impact on society. Many people live their experiences in real life just to post on their social media, which is entirely up to them and power to them. Others use social media for communication and contact and finding like minded people which can’t be found outside of a web page. I too found myself existing to solely create content for my online pages, because that’s all we see of most people. This is particularly relevant during a world in which we are confined to our homes during lockdown. Cause of y’know the whole pandemic thing (something I still can’t process as happening, it’s just so MAD).
The social media sphere is like an entirely different world to real life. People can be who they want to be, but it’s dangerous to forget the value of the life that exists outside of our phones. I try to combat social media standards in different ways, including creating accounts that only a select few people can follow. A change in the content I post, not just pictures of me because I’m too scared to try and make larger audiences laugh, even if that’s what I’d love to do— Miss Sarahtonin here and I just want to make it known that we are working on this, I promise xx
For example, I have a funny story I want to share with my friends. I saw a trick on Tiktok that is supposed to show you what you would look like with a nose job, and me being me, I try it. I really hope it isn’t accurate because I look like I’m applying for citizenship to ‘Whoville’ with Cindy Lou Who being my sponsor. Anyway, I record myself doing the trick, and decide to send it to people who I think will like it. I have a private story on Snapchat so why not just add it there and people can interact if they like instead of forcing people to acknowledge it? It’s called showbiz baby, the content isn’t good enough for me to broadcast on my private story but only my close friends will appreciate it. Even though the point of a private story is that I select the few people who actually see it. I have a private story and a fake instagram account (finsta for short) so I can post what I want and not care what other people think. Well, that’s what I told myself when I created the platforms. Posting anything gives me a different form of anxiety that is hard to explain. The expectation for private stories and finstas is an unfiltered view of your life, especially the funny and embarrassing sections. Which of course means I have created an extra layer of pressure to myself to make sure I only post funny things here instead of being myself. I’ve heard of people posting videos of them crying on their private stories, that could never be me.
Anyway, what I’m saying is that the culture we’ve created for our own platforms forces us to only post the things we think people will like and not— are you ready for it— WHAT WE LIKE. Some people have got this down, and I will get there I promise. But for now, its baby steps.
(Soon to be Miss Sarahtonin)