Pressures for Californian College-Bound Students
By Lola Hadley
Amid the constant influence of social media and everything involving it, I have refrained from joining in with the madness. Mostly.
I know no one wants to read another article about the negative causes and effects of social media, and why kids shouldn’t have it, or contrarily, why they should have it. However, the influence that these apps in a little glass box have on us are persuasive and powerful for a reason.
Humans are inherently influential creatures. It’s simply in our nature. And social media is just the place to be influenced. It is no coincidence that the people with higher reputations and popularity are called “influencers.”
Parents are known for asking, if their child’s friend did something questionable: “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you?” Harsh, but fair. Speaking in a social media sense, that could be rephrased to ask: “If your friend posted something that is questionable, would you?”
Being influenced or persuaded by people we know — more often, people we don’t know — via social media has the potential to be a very powerful thing. It connects to the rising draw and appeal of social media because of constant comparisons between the lives of the users and the influencers they follow.
When I was younger, my parents would not let me have social media. That was a hard no. Now, however, in my sophomore year of high school, I don’t feel the pressing need to have it — other than the fact that (apparently) people are only “accepted” into teenage society if they have Instagram, TikTok, and the other apps that fill up time.
Societal “ins” and the hidden needs for acceptance are things that many people have dealt with at least once in their lives. This just adds another layer and proves the basics of human nature. So, this is my only drawback: societal acceptance. It is absurd. Social media is still influencing me when I don’t even have it.
Social media only serves to amplify these things in a sense. To me, broadcasting one’s life to the entire world feels obtrusive or like an imposition. As a generally private person myself, this intensifies the deterrence I feel for socials.
Celebrities and famous people sharing their extraordinary and extravagant lives: What isn’t interesting about that? Obviously, it will always be interesting to see what Taylor Swift is doing in her day-to-day life. But is that really the extent of it? Honestly, what really comes from social media? Besides the many studies that pick apart every small detail about it and our guesses about why these apps are consuming our time and thoughts for so many hours a day.
Attention spans, behavior, moods, and just about a million other things have to do with the reason that I don’t want to be involved with this. However, sometimes — more often than I would like to admit — a friend will send me a link from Instagram. One click away is the world that I work so hard to stay out of, but I am still drawn in. Click. And I am brought into the world of overstimulation and endless scrolling.
Being set and very adamant about not wanting to indulge in any way has nothing to do with the part that I am actually very interested in — the inner workings and goings on of social media. I don’t like the effect it has on people in general. Including me.
It is concerning that something that is supposed to be positive is actually so negative. I don’t want to indulge in something that doesn’t do anything to better me as a human being. To me, it simply portrays as merely a competition of lives. No two people are the same. And no two lives are the same. So why should we ever be led to compare them?