I have 397 followers on Instagram, 227 followers on Twitter and 869 friends on Facebook. To some of you, I'm the most popular girl you know and to others, I'm extremely lame. But I do not value my life's worth on the amount of friends or followers I have on social media, while a majority of my generation does.
On Sept. 11, I worked in the World Financial Center and passed by where the Twin Towers once stood. Thousands of tourists and New Yorkers were standing, staring and remembering the horrible attack that happened 13 years ago. Family and friends of those who died came to remember and to pay their respect. It was an emotional day all over New York and the United States in general.
After my long shift had ended, I walked outside to see thousands still standing outside as two lights shone where the towers once stood. I passed by, got on the subway and pulled up my Instagram where pictures or posts of the Twin Towers, the Ground Zero Memorial, or other American-themed images flooded my newsfeed. The same thing happened when I clicked on to my Facebook and Twitter. Not only did these pictures receive more than the average number of likes, but comments telling the poster that they were "so respectful."
Respectful for posting a picture just to obtain more likes? To feel popular? To feel good about oneself? Did we forget what happened on this devastating day 13 years ago? 2,753 people lost their lives and instead of respectfully remembering this day and the innocent people who died, individuals try to make this day about themselves.
The idea of using a tragedy or sad life event for social popularity is not limited to Sept. 11. When a family member is extremely sick, I've seen selfies posted with that member in their hospital bed. When a death occurs in someone's family, people post pictures from the memorial service or cemetery. What ever happened to privacy and being there when someone is ill just for the good of it? Those life events are not for others to get attention for how they're "such a good person."
Less dramatic are the "Happy Birthday" posts to friends, the "Happy Mother's/Father's Day" to parents and the "Happy 70th Anniversary" posts to your grandparents -- some who don't even have social media accounts. How do you expect them to get your good wishes if they can't even see your post? But have no fear, your hundreds other followers can see, like, or comment on them letting you know how "thoughtful" you are.
Maybe I'm just a 19-year-old living in the social media mindset of a 60-year-old. But next time you think about posting a photo just to get more likes than your last post, consider your intentions behind that photo.