I deleted my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter four years ago this spring. I still remember the last few posts I had on Facebook and Instagram–walking along the lakefront in Chicago, attending an art gallery at UIC and taking goofy pictures with a portrait that looked awkwardly like me with big teeth and red hair.
Four years and a few funny things:
I still love taking pictures–I always have. Now, I just take a ton of pictures on my phone that don’t go anywhere other than copiously sent to my mother, my boyfriends mother, my brothers, my dad, my friends… I’m always SHARING a picture to keep people up with my life. And to be honest, it’s not just that–there’s an inherent ‘cool’ factor about sending pictures of yourself doing cool shit to even your family. I don’t send my brother pictures of me at a festival or a parade or whatever because I want him to look at my face all the time. I low-key want to make him jealous, which is the ENTIRE PURPOSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA.
When I studied abroad in college it was shocking how much fucking time other students spent nestled up in the Swedish McDonald’s trying to get WiFi to upload a shit-ton of pictures for the same purpose. And I can’t help but think if I had done the same it would only be for two reasons: I enjoy the aesthetic that a collection of memories in formation makes (always have, I adore collecting pictures over months) and to think in the back of my head, ‘oh, that ex-boyfriend from the 10th grade or that shitty old friend I haven’t talked to in years will see THESE pictures of ME in Russia and THEY will get SO jealous and OMFG I am BETTER than THEM!!!!!”
Anyone that tells you the purpose of social media is not to make others jealous and feel better about yourself–or worse about yourself–is full of shit. Yeah, I’m glad I’m not spending an hour before posting a picture thinking about a witty caption to get Likes but I am writing a blog with pictures from said crappy cell phone camera with random rants about shit hoping that someone reads it and likes it, even if I won’t share pictures of my new haircut with friends from high school on Facebook.
I think twenty-somethings are too far gone to ever fully detach from the world of instant gratification. Maybe this is going in a sad direction with a negative take. But hey… Documentation is key, right?