The Problem With Social Media

Hiding Behind the Screen

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The Problem With Social Media

Logan Richman, Author

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If there’s one thing that every single person has on their phone, it’s social media. Social media has created an international network of ideas, creations, and personalities that have revolutionized the way humans communicate with each other.

However, there is a dark side to social media.

Social media gives people the opportunity to distort who they really are through what they post, and because of this many have represented themselves differently than who they actually are in real life. But these people can’t necessarily be blamed for what they do on social media. After all, they do have the freedom to do whatever they want.

All of the flagship social media platforms allow users to hold their content before they post it and do whatever they want with it, either editing a picture or video or waiting to come up with the “perfect caption.” Instead of people posting content that represents who they truly are, they post content that doesn’t represent their identity. Why? To change and benefit the way others think about them. People who make “fake” posts can also take the same mindset that they use for social media and use it in their real life, which blurs the lines for others between what the person shows on the outside and who they actually are.

People that follow fake accounts can believe that the person’s life they are seeing is 100% true when in reality it’s not, which is manipulative. Even worse, people who know/are friends with owners of fake accounts can feel even more displaced, because they see and interact with two different personalities: the social media side and the real-life side.

Two 8th grade students from Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, NJ, were asked their opinions on social media and people having fake personas online. Aaron Friedman said, “I feel like when you see [people with “fake” accounts] in real life, they are so different from what they show on their social media. I feel like people that are fake on social media can also be fake in real life, they aren’t interesting and you just don’t want to talk to them.” Matt Salerno said that “people who fake their lives on social media are trying to make their lives look better than they actually are.”

Many social media apps and websites allow the user to post whatever they want and edit it as much as they want, but there are a few out there that restrict that ability. For example, one social media app called Beme was based solely on this principle of users not changing what they are going to post. When a video would be recorded, the screen would turn black so the user could not see what they were shooting, and right after the video was finished recording it would instantly upload; there would be no opportunity for the content to be edited. Beme shut down recently because not many people were using it, which goes to show that people like to edit things before they are posted.

Social media does not come with a rulebook. Social media does not tell the user what to do. People are able to develop their own style. People are able to change who they are. People hiding behind the mirage of a fake account have only one goal: To reassure themselves that the life, friends, body, talents, and personality that exists on social media also exists in reality.


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