I'm not the first person to write about the social media craze and won't be the last. Growing up with social media means I've had the ability to follow every waking moment of someone I met eight years ago. You know the saying, "people come into your life and are usually passing through"? Well, living in the digital age sort of prevents that. If I choose to I can stay up to date on a friend's highlighted moments -- road trips, engagements, marriages, job promotions down to their personal hobbies, "outfit of the day," and throwbacks to their childhood. Over the past couple months I've thought about what it means for my generation to live life and share almost 85 percent of it to the world -- a scary and amazing concept. Here are a couple things I've learned about letting go of a past that is still searchable on Google:
1. Everyone's got an opinion yet everyone's life situation is different.
Take a walk in your neighbor's shoes. It's so much easier to share your opinion online than in person. I can be whomever I want when I'm typing. On Facebook and Twitter you can find articles about obvious signs your significant other is good for you, whether or not it's appropriate to wear leggings in public and "7 Ways To Use Your Waffle Iron For Foods Other Than Waffles" (this one is my personal favorite). In a flood of quick fix recoveries and debates on life choices, you can also form a stance based off my take on social media. We have the freedom to believe what we believe, choose whom we are friends with and decide how we react to life's high and low points. It's a balance between realizing you aren't the only one who feels the same way about a subject while knowing what you stand for and how to realistically apply those ideas to your life.
2. Get out of your own head and look up.
I don't hate it when I go to an event and I'm asked to turn in my phone. I remember what it's like to focus on other people and what they are saying without shifting my eyes around. I can't check the time, incoming messages or SnapChat. Last week I went to an album release party where the artist asked all attendees to turn in their phones. The entire night consisted of socializing and listening to his new record. At the end of the night, we put on headphones and watched him record a track live -- no fear of buzzing phones or flash photography. We lived in the moment and focused on the art of the song rather than the art of our Instagram filter.
3. There is joy in being happy for someone else's happiness.
Social media is good for joining in the congrats and being a No. 1 fan. You'll always have that good friend who's the first to like your moments. Wouldn't you agree?
4. Can I be content without having all the answers?
It's easy to want confirmations and answers about what's to come when you're being fed with updates on everyone else's life. You just got to let life flow and adapt to the changing seasons. I'm not saying become passive and let opportunities pass you by; I'm talking about our desire to control every outcome -- forced relationships, expectations of what life should look like and keeping tabs on what I want and what I don't have.
5. In-person communication versus telecommunication.
I still enjoy the casual coffee date and face-to-face interaction with another human. I'm guilty of sending an email to my coworker and walking next door to let them know I sent an email. Social media posts provide great conversation starters but nothing will beat getting to know a person without decoding emoticons and ellipses!
And with that, I'm going to go post this on social media!