One of the best way to understand teens, learn their perspectives on various topics and what the current teen trends are is to ask them questions and to listen to them. This is a point I share frequently because it is the key to understanding teens and to building relationships with them. Occasionally I will share thoughts and quotes from teens in my post or even let a teen share their views and thoughts on certain topics to help us gain insight.
This week I read a blog post written by a teen talking about her perspectives and thoughts on Social Media. I thought this was a great opportunity to see Social Media from the perspective of a teen. So I asked if I could share their blog post with each of you.
Let me first tell you a little about my guest blogger. Allie is a 19 year- old freshmen at the University of Connecticut majoring in English. Her favorite App is either Twitter or Instagram and her favorite TV show is Suits on the USA network. You can check out Allie’s blog where she writes about life and the transition from being a kid to an adult.
For Your Eyes Only, written by Allie.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, whatever. I love social media. Sosososo much, in fact I spend 70% of my conscious time scrolling through various news feeds—in class, mid conversation, half asleep, I’m basically always online (except when you try to text me, you’ll probably get a response in 3 hours – 2 days). And after spending so much time this way, I’ve realized that a lot of people are misusing social media (or is everyone else doing it right and I’m LIKE TOTALLY using it wrong?!?!). But before I get into what I mean by that I’ll preface with an explanation.
In my opinion: sympathy sucks. I hate being babied, coddled, comforted, the works. Yes, even when I’m upset. Leave me alone. I don’t want or need the “I’m sorry’s” or “Are you okay” or “I’m here for you” especially the pitying looks that come along with it. In my opinion pity helps no one.
True authentic friendship and all that jazz is unspoken. I’ll come to you. Likewise, if you’re upset don’t assume I don’t care, I do, I’m giving you the space I know I’d want and sparing the awkward pity exchanges. Again, obviously if we’re friends call me, text me, I’m here. But only if you ask, I’m not going to intrude on your grief, it’s not about me and I don’t want to make it about me.
So what, does this have to do with social media? Ahhh great question, and so you shall see… Cue the transition!
On Facebook I have 700+ friends (after the post graduation purge), 120+ twitter followers (I only follow like 70 people, so I’m pretty popular OKAY), 80+ Instagram followers (okay so my pictures just suck), and like 4 people who snapchat me regularly. Basically the epitome of popularity, RIGHT? Anyways, my followings and friendships are considered small. But seriously, are there really more than 700 people who I can call my friend? Or that I take interest in the happenings of their lives? Heeeeellllllll naw. Let’s face it, if these pages actually reflected my close friendships there’d be about 10 people on each (maybe fewer).
But is that what social media is really about? Facebook is a place to make connections with old and new friends. It’s for sharing pictures, videos, little tiny snippets of our lives to the people we’ve encountered along the way. Twitter is even less of that, can you really form or upkeep bonds in 140 characters or less? Again, I repeat: heeeeellllllll naw. I follow comedians, celebrities, parody accounts, NYC_Blonde (<3333), and sure my friends too. Twitter is about laughs, tiny nuggets of information, and the sharing of non-problems like tripping in public or complaining about the weather. And the same goes for Instagram and snapchat. These are public forums, and most times open to anyone and everyone.
So the problem is, that people are using these places to air dirty laundry and to express serious problems. I am definitely not saying that you’re problems aren’t real or that what you’re going through isn’t tough. Not at all. But I am trying to be realistic. Realistically, how many of your 100+ followers actually care? How many of them will actually want to help you. Oh yeah, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of “keep your head up” replies or “stay strong” comments. But how many of them are invested enough in your life to share your pain? How many actually have your phone number and can call you to make sure you’re okay?
And believe you me that I do not want even a fraction of my followers to try to comfort me. I sleep easier knowing I have Madison on speed dial and that Taylor will run across campus to see me. And that my other close friends, no matter how far away will sit with me in silence on the phone until I want to talk. Moral of this too long story: you have real friends, use them. Because when Facebook and Twitter go the same way as MySpace, most of your ‘friends’ will disappear.