Social media is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing for those who know how to use it and curse for those who don’t.

It is a necessary tool for those of us who run businesses and need it as a marketing platform. It’s a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and family…..but when used for reasons other than that…well, it can get pretty damn unhealthy.

I’ll assume that most of you reading this grew up without any form of social media…can’t imagine my readers are young enough to not know what it was like to live life outside of a screen and “likes”!

We had it so easy growing up in comparison to kids today.  No online bullying, no comparing ourselves to triple filtered photoshopped images.  Not assailed by online advertising for Botox and fillers and every face and body modification procedure under the sun.  No DMs. No selfies.

But this is the norm now.  A norm that affects even the most logical and grounded of us.  Almost impossible to check into social media without checking out of life. Real life.  

It’s become a beast to wrestle with and even when we take a little trip down into our black mirrors with the sole intent of watching a few cute kitten videos, signing a petition, or seeing how our high school BFF’s life is going….the inevitable happens.  

We end up being sucked into ads selling us things for problems we didn’t even realize we had.  We get depressed comparing our lives to those of others…..”oh wow here I am struggling to pay the bills while the Joneses are off on another Tahitian adventure”…..”shit, my kids are being punks but look at the Smith kids in their perfectly ironed linen suits smiling for the camera on their way to church”….and on and on and on.

The reality is….social media is fake news. ALL OF IT.

No one wants to post about their drama…..well, almost no one.  What we see is a cavalcade of happiness, prosperity, and the facade of perfect lives.  Which  is great. We all want our loved ones to have happy lives….but we have to realize that everyone deals with demons. Some larger than others.

We don’t see what goes on behind those pictures and closed doors…and only a brave few openly admit that two seconds after taking their pictures they got into a fight over whose fault all the credit card debt is, the kids got violent volcanic diarrhea, and that cute fluffy puppy bit someone in the face.  

Shit happens. All. The. Time. But social media tends to make us think it doesn’t.

Then there’s the barrage of “perfect” faces and bodies. Those men and women we end up comparing ourselves too….all of them are filtered and photoshopped.  

Even the 20 year olds.  

Bodies are reshaped with a liquify tool, as are faces.  Butts, breasts, and even cheekbones get added, waists made thinner….eyes made to look larger, noses smaller, and skin made to look poreless and plastic.  

How is it that we are looking at these faux images and feeling insecure about ourselves in the process?  Do I get caught up in the comparisons?  Sometimes. I’m human…..but I’ve worked as a professional model for over 15 years and know what goes behind the illusion of these pictures which I think grounds me….on most days.  

That being said, the retouching that took place then was always for the odd pimple or scar…none of this crazy dysmorphic filtering.  And is this what kids growing up with social media will find normal?  Will no one be able to look back at dorky, acne ridden pictures of themselves in high school because it’s all been filtered out?  That’s crazy. It’s a right of passage to have horrible pictures of yourself.  But I digress….

Using social media as a tool and as a form of communicating with people is fantastic ….yet it’s been perverted into a form of self glorification and delusion.  

It breaks down our social skills to the point where complete strangers find it ok to DM each other with lewd photos and demands.  It makes it difficult for others to mind their business while keeping tabs on perfect strangers in a new-age type of voyeurism.  

It feeds narcissism and has created a generation of people who can hashtag themselves into any profession they think they are a part of.  Displaying a hashtag and your wares on social media does not earn you titles.  Hard work, and often luck of the draw earns you those rights.  

I hear kids talk now about how they want to be the next social media sensation more than I hear them talk about how they want to grow up to be doctors or firefighters….or even dinosaurs.  This mania hasn’t hit my kids yet, but I fear for the day it does.

So, do I feel like a hypocrite for writing this?  Yeah. A little.  I do use social media after all.  I’m not always immune to its nefarious side, but I am aware of that. I abhor taking selfies, but do so now and then under the recommendation of my managers….because in our social media age, selfies make you and your business “valid”….a forced narcissistic tool for relevance.  

I use these platforms to promote my work, and this blog.   I use it to keep in touch with friends and family who live across the globe.  I watch them get married, have kids, and become adults.  We share stories of our days modeling around the world, or our high school and college years.  

I use it to find out the latest news sometimes and as a research tool.  I use it to share things I find interesting, poignant or amusing. I use it for a good laugh….and for that I love social media.  It has its use and it has its place.  

Anything outside of that is pointless and destructive.  It might be time to get back to these platforms being “social media” and not “social ME media”…..take the ego out of things and life gets easier.  Even your online life.

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