The Love-Hate Relationship With Social Media

by SA Sneha

It is 2 am. My eyes are tired and dragging themselves to shut down, but I push them to stay open for a few more minutes. I promise myself this will be the last reel I will see. Fifteen minutes later, I am still scrolling relentlessly through Bo Burnham’s “Jeff Bezos,” ‘Touch it,’ and many other songs whose video I know as soon as the first beat drops. 

I think to myself, why am I even doing this? But I ignore the thought and continue to scroll. Finally, my eyes give up. They stop following my instructions and shut themselves down until it’s the following day. It’s 8 am when I wake up and first reach out to my phone. I open Twitter to get in the ‘latest’ scoops of the day. 

Every day, I make a resolution – No social media today! But, a few minutes later, I am reading a post about how a cute baby sleeps with its pet dog. And now I am trapped in the same loop yet again. At this point, it is a mere reflex rather than a conscious decision. 

Today, I thought to myself, why do I still go back to it every day. I don’t actively have any pleasure from scrolling aimlessly through the screen and getting nothing in return. It is just exhausting and draining to see the same things repetitively. 

One recurring emotion that comes back every time is a sense of hollowness, a persistent feeling each time I am on social media. And, I despise that feeling with all my heart. I don’t want to feel the way I do. But, well, as you know already, I cannot stop myself either. 

As I see it, everyone puts so much effort into doing something that seems frivolous. What is it that these people are chasing, though, I ask myself? Maybe I am inadequate in understanding.

When I see a similar dance routine, I am not interested in the steps anymore. The beats and the lyrics fall; it’s just another constant noise bursting in my ears. Instead, my eyes look at the aesthetics and see the beautiful room behind, the closet, curtains, everything put together with care. I tell myself, maybe, you need an aesthetically pleasing room to create these. I turn around and see my books scattered on my table—the not-so-Instagramable color of the room, and all I can produce is a sigh of discontent. 

By then, the video is over, and the next one is up. This time I notice how beautiful the people in it are. Their features are picture-perfect, and they are the easiest to notice. I don’t know if it’s reality, but I hope it is. 

My double chin pops up instinctively as I casually open my camera. I close it right away; unable to see myself this way, I plan to move on to another platform. Maybe, read something on Quora or Twitter. 

As I get into it, there are so many thoughts that pop up. Some are witty, some funny. Chuckling at them and dropping a few likes, I move ahead. Someone has posted an outright offensive statement; as I scroll through the comments, I see people cheering for it. I wonder, do they know the opinion is problematic, or are they as insensitive as they seem to be. I rethink my thought process, question myself if that’s right or not. A sense of confusion kicks in. I am too tired to face an existential crisis. 

I come across a powerful quote. The creator has worked on this and thought this through, I note. I reassure their effort and like it to let them know that I appreciate it. While I pass through many such posts and comment sections under my explore page, I realize I also have the same opinions. I sincerely want to counterattack statements that make no sense. But then I don’t find the use of doing so. 

As this keeps happening, I think to myself, “Am I just too scared to put this up? Or, Am I not ready to face backlash for things I stand by? Am I just making myself believe that I am disinterested?” It overwhelms me. I close the app and put it down. 

I keep the phone away. But, many thoughts that popped up a while ago race in my mind. I cannot switch them off. I think, am I not good-looking enough? Is it just my insecurity dismissing the efforts someone makes on social media? Is this why I hate these social media?

You are too harsh on this medium; it has given good too, I tell myself. I think of the many writing opportunities then came my way through it. I think about that one creator who always makes me laugh. I am reminded of the page that gives quick history scoops/info in a minute. I ask myself, how would that be possible if social media was not there?

I smile widely now. Shaking my head, I reassure myself. I wouldn’t have found my best friend if not for these apps. 

Then again, there is a question. Do I love social media or hate them? 

This feels like a lot for me to process. I distract myself. You ask me how? I open a different app! 

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