Ocean of Influence

The impact glorification and the new wave of conditioned media has on the youths of today

Margaret Wilkerson, Staff Reporter

Do you feel the image you’ve created on social media accurately reflects who you are? If so, you’re one of many. Posting about our feelings, thoughts, and problems multiple times a day is almost commonplace nowadays, and a large percentage of teens use social media as an outlet for such things. However, the fact alone that social media allows for countless drafts, revisions, and edits upon what we post almost completely eliminates the possibility of genuine, unfiltered thought.

When we post on social media, we create an image of ourselves separate from our own. Every person with an Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat account is, in a way, living two separate lives. The lens of social media allows us to craft a glorified reflection of who we are down to the exact detail. We post only the things that we want others to see, and although we can present positive things to others in real life, the complete personalization a social media account allows the person behind it to cover up much more, tweaked to be exactly the way the user wants.

With such a big group of people having such a large presence on social media, it’s easy to get lost. Whether it be losing yourself, your esteem, or your rationality, the overwhelming amount of content and media at such easy access has a toxic effect on those that view it.

We’ve all had the experience of opening up Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, only to be bombarded by countless articles, photos, videos, and posts- all of which have been curated and nit-picked countless times in order to appeal to whoever might see, may it be a fanbase, audience, or just a group of friends.

Sometimes it feels as though you’re treading water- attempting to keep afloat as wave after wave overcomes you. Keeping your head above water gets harder and harder the more intertwined with the digital world we become.

What we see on the internet is by no means an accurate reflection of the real world, and although many seem to understand and accept this, a large portion of people continue to add to the problem.

Without realizing, posting what you believe to be authentic and real thoughts or feelings only contributes to the boiling pot of toxic idealism and sugar-coated media of today. We post our vacation photos glossed over with filters, selfies taken with the best possible lighting and expression, outfit photos with hundreds vetoed until the winner was chosen, until the real you feels less real than the one on screen. Posting is a dangerous game, and although social media can be used in a healthy and beneficial way, the idealistic tendencies of many aspects is a slippery slope.

Impressionability is a huge factor that mustn’t be ignored when it comes to media. The polished, perfect looks and seemingly flawless lives of Instagram models or celebrities captures the attention of many young teens, who are naturally impressionable and idealistic natures draw them towards these celebrities due to their own deep-rooted insecurities or need to be someone they’re not. The scrutinization of our own selves and everyone around us takes a toll, and the energy it takes to put up a farce in an attempt to deflect or avoid it is too large of a burden to carry for many young teens.

Although it may seem like there’s nothing we can do to stop this unhealthy glorification, there are actually many solutions. Even though you may not be able to stop what others do, you have full control over yourself, your image, and what you allow to influence you.

The easiest solution is simple: just step away. You’ve most likely heard this from nagging parents and countless others, but the sentiment still holds true. The dependency so many of us have on our phones and social media is without a doubt one of the most toxic and harmful things to our senses of self.

Keeping your head on straight and staying true to yourself, instead of the you that you want others to see, is essential. Taking time to yourself and allowing yourself to truly decompress and learn who you are is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental and emotional wellbeing.