Social apps could be the closest we will ever come to physically manifesting the ego. They are alternate universes and virtual worlds that exist in our minds where we can put our best foot forward publicly to show the most perfect version of ourselves. It has become a realm, which takes us out of the moment, and into a virtual fantasy domain to exist as something else on another plane. The more we participate with our app of choice the more it creates the need to continue feeding the ego, as if we are feeding and recreating the need to be heard, loved, and cared for. If I don't check my apps or post, do I still exist? Am I still relevant? For all these things mentioned above, I am guilty, and it is only through my own self-evaluation into my own narcissistic observations that I have witnessed this behavior.
Social apps like Facebook and Instagram have become places where we get to create an avatar of ourselves. The images we post are accurate pictures of oneself, but we only show half the story of our lives for the obvious reasons that we post the best picture, and it's like playing dress up for the stories of our lives. If everyone is posting the best image, the greatest vacation, and the most fantastic job, then the playing rules have changed. There is nothing wrong or inhuman about this behavior, because what it really says is, I want to be liked, I want to be respected...I want to be loved. Love. This is the root at which most behaviors stem from, an internal and unconscious desire to be loved. This is a beautiful and sad notion, but the problem we are having is that this social app trap doesn't fill the void we are silently seeking, but it is only creating a larger gap in the center of our beings. Not only do these social apps make us feel less than, because it's impossible to compare our true authentic nature to the avatars we have created or the avatars of others, but it has also introduced this insatiable desire to be famous. The rise in Instagram stars has given birth to the notion that anyone can be Insta-famous. This new platform for what 'The Urban Dictionary' defines as 'celebritism' creates competition amongst us. Do my friends have more Instagram followers than I, if so, how come? This kind of thinking only brings us back down the road of compare and despair.
Psychologists have stated the many negative side effects that these apps have upon us, and the addictive quality they can bring about. Who doesn't like to get a like? Doesn't it make you feel good, almost like the reward from a chemical drug? What happens when that feeling fades? We only want more of it!
These apps were made with good intentions, to communicate better with our own race, but are we communicating better? It seems as if the apps created to communicate have only hidden our authentic selves and allowed us to communicate from a place without many consequences. People can safely comment on a stranger's picture without actually showing face, and they are hidden from the reality of having to say anything in person, which gave birth to cyberbullying. If you really feel this way about me, come say it to my face! But many of us can't, and shouldn't, because we know better. There is something inside of us that morally stops us from doing this, but in the virtual app world, people feel completely free of this guilt. Yet we hold the power to unfriend or block; however, our minds tend to grow concerned with, "What is now being said about me now that I do not see?" We almost develop a level clinical schizophrenia because we then think we are being talked about in a negative light to this person's audience of friends. So instead of we roll with the punches, at times making a passive aggressive reply to the negative commentator. Yet, now we are left over analyzing why someone said this about me; what did I do to make them say such nasty things? This is yet another side effect of us portraying our perfect lives to our audience.
The Id, is the part of our personality that allows us to get our basic needs met, and Freud believed the Id is based on our pleasure principles. The Id wants to feel good all the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. If Freud's believes are correct then it seems the Id is in control of the social app mind. The Ego can be thought of as the idea of who we think we are or who we want to be. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be seen in the best and brightest light. Personally, my own social apps are filled to the brim with shirtless photos, extravagant vacations, magazine articles that promote my book Acrobaddict, and I ask myself, "Why?" I have my own rational behind this behavior, probably like many out there because we all have our own stories to tell. For me, I was a competitive gymnast who became a homeless heroin addict. I used to have track marks on my arms, and I don't anymore. I have worked endlessly on my recovery, and repairing my body to the damage my abuse has done, and I'm proud of this. I am proud of the person I have become because of recovery and I want to share this with my friends and family because they had seen the decent in me. This means that other people are proud of their accomplishments too, and they should be, and it's good to share with others, but I have noticed my own reactions and feelings, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, thinking to myself, "God, I'm never going to look like that. I will never be able to afford that or get to get to travel to that part of the world." This begins in what seems like an endless cycle of compare and despair and by the end of this cycle I'm Googling my exes and start to feel worse.
As a race, it seems we will always try to find new ways to communicate and understand each other, because somewhere at the core of our beings, we are often left feeling misunderstood. I won't say our social apps are bad, but they are definitely sending a clear message in a world with so many new opportunities to communicate. We all, just want to be loved, liked, admired, appreciated, and seen, but will this have new consequences to come...it just might, but time will tell.
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