The Reality Behind the Highlight Reel

social mediaSocial media is a great way to stay connected to your friends and family whom you may not see every day. We have the opportunity to interact with their daily lives by keeping up-to-date on what they are doing, whether it’s through a Facebook status update announcing a life event, a Snapchat of them drinking coffee with a friend, or an Instagram of their fun adventures at a sporting event.

However, social media can create this comparison trap of feeling like everyone has their life together except for you. Especially for consultants who are living alone in a new city, it can be very difficult to see that your best friends are spending time together at home. I have even decided recently to take two weeks off from being on Instagram and Facebook. It can be good for your mental health to take a step back from seeing everyone’s highlight reels on a feed. There is a task of recognizing that their lives are not perfect, which can be difficult. So on those Friday nights when you are binge-watching the new season of Stranger Things by yourself, you need to remind yourself that your friends who are at a concert or an NBA game don’t have a perfect life. It can be very easy to assume that you are the only one sitting alone at home when others are on crazy adventures, but that is not a reality. We have no ability to see what others are struggling with.

Social media platforms were created to be a fun way to interact with one another, but now they have evolved into a stressful competition. Working with college students constantly reaffirms this, because I have seen them stressed out over the number of likes they received on a post.

Social media adds additional pressure because it is basically a second resume. Employers look through their potential employees’ social media accounts diligently because they don’t want to hire someone who may be a risk. It has become a priority to keep your networks appealing and appropriate. For a lot of college students, that can be difficult.

During an informal chapter meeting a few weeks ago, I was able to present our personal branding workshop provided by national headquarters. Over the summer, this workshop was presented to the leadership consultants during training and I thought this was very interesting and beneficial. Essentially this workshop is all about creating your own personal brand and how to put your best foot (or face) forward. During my time presenting this workshop, I was able to remind the women of the chapter about how the internet creates a permanent timeline of your life through all your posts from the different platforms. By the end of the workshop, many of the women were looking through their accounts for images or posts that need to be erased or archived.

My generation and the generations below me have grown up with practically our whole lives on the internet, which can be overwhelming. My challenge to the person reading this is to take a break from your social media platforms and ask yourself: what value are my posts adding to the online world? If you do not feel like you are adding any value, then take a two-week hiatus from social media and find your purpose.

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