We live in an internet world, there is no denying it. Whether we are swiping, clicking or scrolling, we are constantly surfing. It’s a world that we are fully submerged in, and yet – a world which is so new that we haven’t finished exploring. Social media is perhaps the capital of this large and new world, the place we visit the most and the place we love to hate.
Taking myself as an example, I currently use Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I watch videos on YouTube and I browse various forums to pass the time. In the past I have also used social media to find romance, with Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, Hornet, Badoo and Bumble. Every single time I open my phone, I am faced with a barrage of notifications, ranging from likes on my latest Instagram post to a married father of three on Grindr who wants to pay me £20 for my worn socks. News breaks quicker on Twitter than it does on the DailyMail, and everybody is looking for that next viral post. We have become a society of self-made celebrities as we cancel those who have fallen below our ever increasing standards.
To put it bluntly, the world of social media is shit.
As somebody who is 26 years old, has returned to living with his parents, limited in his social circle and approximately five stone overweight, I am nothing special. I am more than okay with being nothing special in the real world. In fact, I quite like being just an average Joe with his average life. Yes, my blog is now award winning and my online profile is increasing, but offline I am a friend, an uncle, a brother and a son. I work a normal job and I like to spend my afternoons playing with my puppy in the garden. I read books and spend my days off in my pyjamas. But online, outside the bubble of reality, my average life is constantly compared to those who are above the threshold. Every single day, I see sculpted bodies being adored by the masses on Twitter. I see people with the stereotypical perfect body use their assets to set up OnlyFans, and earn more in a day than I do in a year by being their own porn star. Scrolling through Instagram, I am met with videos and memes more funny than I could ever be, a couple of more scrolls and I see boyfriends who just got engaged after three years of a perfect romance, whilst I sit in bed in my oversized hoodie eating one week old Pringles.
Social media has also removed the middle step between our brain thinking something and our mouths saying it. We have lost that filter online because we have the security of a screen, we feel like we can say what we want and it won’t have any sort of impact because it is just a screen. It works in our favour sometimes, like when it comes to uniting as a community and speaking our against Brunei and their disgusting treatment of the LGBT community. But lately, we seem to be gathering as a mass and setting our sights on the infamous cancel culture. Old tweets resurface, words are taken out of contexts and receipts are printed incorrectly. It is becoming a trend to cancel an influencer or drag someone in the public eye because we don’t agree with them, and whilst we are entitled to have differentiating opinions, are we entitled to wish somebody dead? Does wishing death upon somebody because they did something wrong make us any better than them?
Last year, I was target online by somebody who told me I was fat. Let’s not lie here, I am fat. I am overweight and whilst I am choosing to do something about that currently, it is still my decision how I present myself to the world. If I want to put on weight, lose weight or even get liposuction, it is completely my decision and nobody else can speak for me. This person realised that calling me fat was pushing no buttons and so decided to go lower. They brought the suicide of my boyfriend up and told me how they were going to dig up his corpse and sexually assault it. I took time away from social media whilst I calmed down and got over the distraught that had brought to my life. But the scars remained. For months I was terrified to upload a picture to any of my platforms, incase the troll would return. But more than that, the words of a faceless profile had stripped me of my confidence and made me more vulnerable than I ever have been. It is something that still hurts me to this day. Somebody took something that is so personal to me, and something that I try to use to increase awareness of mental health for all of you, and threw it at me in order to see me suffer. For no reason at all.
Social media has become such a toxic playground of body image and mental health, and yet we are all still wanting to play. My ideology of what is considered perfect has warped my view on myself. Away from the screen, I think I’m pretty fun and I guess easy on the eye. On screen however, I feel like I am constantly competing to be noticed by people. Not in the fame-hungry manner, but the ‘I don’t want to be the kid sat on his own at lunch’ type of way. The way in which I view myself has become so toxic that I am scared I will never be considered good enough for anybody. It is tragic, to be honest with you, that we as a generation don’t consider ourselves good enough because we have set our own standards too high thanks to social media.
We are all good enough. We all matter. Those with the bodies that have been sculpted from the finest cheese, and those who, like me, prefer to eat the cheese are all beautiful. Comparing ourselves to others will never change that fact, it will only make us feel isolated and lonely.
On a more serious note, the world is already so full of toxicity, hatred and trolls who want to hide behind a screen that we don’t need to bring any more negativity into our lives. I have introduced a new day into my life, where I stay away from Twitter and Instagram once a week, muting the notifications and focusing on myself and what really matters in the real world. Because social media isn’t real. Peoples lives always look better online than they do in real life, and we need to stop basing our happiness on social media posts.
Log off from Twitter and log in to the real world, for the sake of yourself.
TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | SNAPCHAT