Social Media is not something I grew up with.
I remember working at a software start-up in 1996 where I first heard of the ‘World Wide Web’ or the ‘Internet.’ This thing was cool! The fact that our company could be discovered online was phenomenal. A website suddenly became a sign your business was legitimate! You needed to have a web presence. Why? Because, anyone with access to this Internet of things would find you and business was sure to follow.
Fast forward to 2014. Social Media has that Jagger Swagger feel about it. It’s the voice of the self-assured. A place where bravado and one’s social media stature, make a novice like me feel inferior.
Social Media. The new silent killer of self-esteem. My inadequacies abound. There is so much to feel inferior about when you engage in a social media world.
I wasn’t raised ‘digital’. Actually my kids weren’t even raised ‘digital’. Instant messaging was new to the world when they were teens. I remember telling them to get off msn and pick up the phone to have a real conversation. Their cell phones weren’t even SMART back then.
My step kids are ‘digital’. The 12 year old especially. He has developed his sense of humour through YouTube videos. He chats with friends on google hangouts. He doesn’t play outside much anymore. I watch him and think; this is normal? Plugged into a YouTube channel, an online game with friends, or just hanging out in a video chat. It’s what all the kids do, right?
When I was young, being social was playing outside with other kids. Joining the street wide ballgame. Anything really, as long as we were with friends. The most social of us kids, tied up the family phone all night (me). And yes, this was before call waiting, so the phone really was tied up !
Sometimes you compared your social status with your peers, by your clothes, interests, hobbies. It happened on a scale defined by your closest friendships. You were never really “out of your league.” Today I compare myself to peers on social media. I really AM out of my league! Social Media has led me to believe there are far more interesting & talented people than I ever knew growing up.
Facebook – you are either actively engaged or not. Do I post? Is it newsworthy or noise? If you are like me, your everyday habits aren’t worth sharing. Does anyone care what my dinner looked like ? True, my daughter in Australia might like to know …
Then there is Instagram – where do people find the time, and how did they become so creative with their pictures and captions?
Everybody is a digital photographer – fabulous pictures fill my friends facebook albums or their flickr pages. Suddenly my pictures are mediocre at best!
When I discovered Pinterest and Etsy last year, I was hooked .. Now I wallow in self-doubt. There are so many crafty, organized, creative women out there doing it all. I thought I was creative till last year. Yet, another blow to my esteem !!
At first I shared the good ideas I learned. Like how to tie your shoes the proper way – a TEDtalk no less. Now I want to claim these things as original to me. Décor, recipes, anything clever. I got some great bachelorette gag gift ideas from Pinterest this summer. They were a hit, until I admitted they weren’t all mine! I’m left with that nagging feeling I could always be better.
Maybe that is part of the human condition? The more we aspire to perfection, the more we feel we don’t make the grade.
Surely this same social media, which has prompted my sense of inadequacy in so many ways, will inspire me to share honestly, in the comfort of community. Starting today. Who knows – some good may come from engaging in social media. Maybe there is a place for the inferior here ?
Does social media ever leave you feeling inferior ? I’d love to know !