Is Social Media really making us more connected?

As Isenberg Marketing Students, we are taught how to be world-class marketers, which includes being excellent at marketing products, as well as ourselves. We are told to consider ourselves a brand and a lot of us use social media to show people who we are. In the past decade social media use has grown tremendously, it currently dominates the lives of a massive percent of millennials. Social Medias pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat were created to help us stay connected with friends by posting life updates. However, lately every time I hit that “Share” button I can not help, but feel more disconnected.

I find myself always checking my i-phone for “likes” instead of interacting and engaging with the living humans around me. With over 1000 followers half of whom I don’t even know in person, I live for the likes. I live for posting an excellent picture of my lobster roll dinner, or a waterfront sunset as if I am getting some time of approval from the notification. I find myself even putting on a façade on social media editing pictures and purposely portraying myself in an attractive way. It is so easy today for people to portray reality and experience in whatever way they want. When you are looking at a photo of something, it is not necessarily what is actually going on. People are constantly posting all of the “fake” experiences that they are having but why? Is showing everyone what we are doing at all times really connecting us?

Feelings of loneliness started happening to me this summer when I left Umass and was separated from my friends. Even though, I wasn’t constantly communicating with my people, I was constantly being bombarded with social media posts. I couldn’t help but compare my life at home to the lives of my friends. Having this false depiction of what exactly my friends were doing made me less appreciative of my own reality. This lead me to a complete social media detox. Yes, that’s right, me, the girl that was constantly glued to her phone gave up everything. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, YikYak, Tinder, you name it. At first it was a huge challenge, I didn’t even realize my dependence on these apps until they were gone. I found myself always searching for the apps wanting to share. Eventually, I replaced these apps with Yahoo Finance, CNN, and other news related apps so that instead of following up on my friends I could follow real world issues. I found everything in my life changed for the better. I wasn’t constantly anxious about my friends and what everyone was doing, I was able to me completely at the moment and actually connected and enjoy the humans around me.

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