The Boundless blog is a collection of unique voices addressing the issues young adults care about right now – everything from dating and faith to current events.
I had several people comment to me this week about how the upcoming generation relies too heavily on social media. Young adults are becoming self-consumed by platforms that allow them to share every detail of their lives. I've even seen jokes on Pinterest about how when children grow up, they won't have any useful skills, but they will know how to take a great selfie in the bathroom mirror.
As young adults, we can help set an example for the following generation and combat the selfie culture. Here's how:
1. Use social media selflessly. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow us to share minute details of our lives that we wouldn't think twice about keeping to ourselves otherwise. Instead of posting pictures of ourselves with our coffee or in the bathroom mirror so the world can see our bad (or good) hair day, we can still post about things we love while taking the attention off ourselves. Use social media to post information that is beneficial to other people or to spread word about a good cause.
Instead of posting a picture of ourselves making a silly face we think everyone really wants to see, why don't we post a picture of ourselves with a group of friends having fun? That way, we can move the focus toward friendship and the activity we're doing together instead of asking people to comment on our looks. We can do the same when we try new food at a restaurant. People don't want to see us — they want to see the food we're raving about! Post a picture of it and comment on how good it is or why it's good.
2. Spend more time talking with friends in person or over the phone than online — and make it genuine. The less time you spend talking with friends online, the less you'll be tempted to post random comments about tiny details in your life. You won't have to post a picture of yourself in your favorite outfit; you can wear it to meet friends and receive real compliments.
All too often (and I'm guilty of this myself) we meet up with friends for a meal or coffee and end up leaving our phones on the table. Any time they light up, we reach for them. We do it even if the other person is still talking. Unless you plan to take a photo with the other person, forget about social media while you are in community with other people. Whatever you're tempted to post can wait until you get home — if it's even important enough to remember once you get there.
3. Practice short media fasts. I am a huge fan of technology and social media, but I notice a difference in my attitude when I stop using it for a while. I am able to focus better on other people, and I become less distracted. I know we struggle with feelings of missing out on something when we refrain from social media, but the posts will still be there. And if something is important or urgent, there are other ways for people to contact you and let you know.
It's important for our generation and those following to be able to pull away from the self-centered tendencies social media creates. We should be able to function without updating Instagram or Facebook every couple of hours or even every day. I'm not saying a selfie is always bad, but we should think twice about our motives and how often we post pictures of ourselves just for attention. An occasional selfie is just fine, but when it starts becoming a habit, we need to take an intentional step back. We should be able to find other things to do and other ways to occupy our time.
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--I love this post Amy! Although i do believe there's a time and place for everything, if I see another selfie I'm going to scream! Lol, that being said, I definitely need to work on spending less time chatting with friends online. I mean it's easier but I definitely enjoy the in-person interactions more. With regards to a technology fast, I think that's something that Christians especially should do more often. Guess I'll start with myself ;-)
--I log in to FaceBook a few times each day, and it would be nice to read fewer personal stories about each detail of life and to see fewer pictures of everything that my friends are doing. I don't feel the need to share every piece of information that goes through my day. One thing in particular that bothers me the most is seeing my friends with children posting pictures of every stage of their kids' development and sharing the details of the situation. These kids may be too young to care now, but someday it will be extremely embarrassing to see these pictures of their younger selves floating around on the Web. On a more positive note, I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who would like to see less of this sort of thing.
--It seems your examples for #1 still exhibit dome delusions and narcissism. Who wants to see you with a group of friends? Why would you feel the need to post that? Why do you think anyone wants to see your food? Generations wee able to live without little devices that brought images of other people's foodvto them. How coukd they have had decent lives at all? Is there anyone who needs to get a clue and grow up more than foodie hipsters?
Further, if you want to use social media selflessly, make your posts about things, not you. Not "here i am standing by thid thing." But there is this thing that is neat and you should know." Don't use "I". You arren't that important. If you don't have a constant stream of useful things to write about, then maybe you should close the social media accounts and find something to do with your life. Not just fast, but cut it out entirely. I got rid of television over a year ago. It can be done.
You aren't the center of the world and you don't have to do everything just to post online. Maybe young people today would be better served to develop something other than narcissistic exhibitionism.
--The great thing about Facebook is that what you see is optional. If you don't like what a certain friend posts (I'm looking at you, Joel Osteen quote sharer), you can hide them without defriending them. If a friend posts an album of a bunch of photos you don't care about, you can scroll right on by. Things get really annoying though when they decide to post an album's worth of pictures individually. I don't have a problem with you posting pictures of your kids since that's a great way for family and far away friends to keep up, but no one wants to see 30 pictures of your kid's first day of school appear on their feed.
Really, my posts are almost entirely links to articles that I find interesting or bands that I just discovered. The friends who do the same tend to get me to read their posts more, and the discussion on a controversial article is usually way more stimulating than the comments that show up on a, "My professor said something mean to me," or, "Hey look guys, I promise I'm a Christian because I took a picture of a page in the Bible and underlined a verse. SO GOOD!"
Also, I never got why the phone was seen as only a slight step down from speaking in person but is so much better than every other form of not-in-person communication. If we're not together, it's pretty much all the same.
--I too think posting photos of you having fun and all the great food you ate is still self-centered. What if someone else on your friend's list is feeling really isolated?
I am guilty of doing both though. Since I'm living abroad it's so hard NOT to post photos of interesting things I see. And my family and close friends keep asking for more >
--...internet ate my post.
I wanted to finish by saying, I think FB is a great tool for me to stay in touch with people back home, but I think it also gives me more opprotunities to sin: to compare myself to others, to brag, to complain, to waste time, etc...not good.
--For me, it's not the posting pics of yourself. Or telling me what you ate. Or what funny thing your kid said. Or pics of the fun get together you had with friends.
It's doing all of those
Several times a day.
Again and again.
And yet again.
And telling me often how utterly blessed you are because you have all these kids or this husband or you get to do all these amazing adventures........yes, I can see you have much to be thankful for. Just like everyone else, actually. Who also have the best kids/husband/adventures. Just for the record.
I'm on FB to keep up with your life. I like seeing how you're doing, what you're up to. I don't mind seeing pics of your vacations or your newborn. He's adorable and that waterfall is fantastic.
I just don't need 500 pics of something a DAY when one or two would suffice. And I know what you look like. Another selfie is not going to make me more familiar. Especially when you're puckering your lips like a fish (I'm sorry, I don't get that. I don't mean to be unkind, it just makes no sense to me why you'd want to look like that in public. Whatever happened to a pleasant smile?).
My one request is simply this: Know when enough is plenty. Tell me about your life. Your family. Your travels. But don't put the record on repeat and leave it there.
I try to keep my posts at least entertaining. I don't really begrudge other people what they post, and I kind of like seeing people post about how they love their family or their kids. ;) I, too, am not a fan of the Joel Osteen Post Sharer (also "Proverbs 31 Wife" sharer). ;) but I don't have to see it if I don't want to.
I think the most important thing is to realize that as much emphasis as there has been on cyber bullying, the internet can also be a powerful force for good. I probably post positive or funny comments on other people's posts much more than I post on my own wall, and though I try to be transparent, I also don't try to be openly pessimistic, narcissistic or post passive agressive "cry for help" type posts.
But as far as peoplet thinking that posting picture of yourself with friends, or your family because you love them is narcissistic? Eh. Haters gonna hate. I love my friends, I love my family, and I'm going to post pictures of them because they're awesome. :P psh.
Facebook is a lot like high school. You can choose to check out of the clique groups and be selfless but then you aren't going to have any friends. I'm just trying to be honest. Facebook thrives on people just liking each other's nonsense. If you want to post something meaningful or interesting no one is going to "like" it. I'm not saying don't be selfless on social media. Do express yourself selflessly but be aware of the consequences for doing so.
--Facebook and social media are great for helping the NSA and Homeland Security and potential employers keep track of you, learn why you should be on some watch list or other, or learn reasons why you shouldn't be employed.
--I've noticed quite a few people my age can be really rude with their phone use. A group will be eating together, then a couple of people will get bored with the conversation, so they start texting and ignoring everyone. One time everyone was engrossed in playing phone games with each other, and I didn't have my phone so I was just sitting there. I've also seen people texting while a speaker was sharing a personal story. Then there's the people who text every five minutes. It's all completely ridiculous.
--Honestly, there's no way to make Facebook "selfless." It is what it is. If we let it consume too much of our time, energy, and emotions, that's our bad, not our friends'. We can block their posts if we don't want them in our news feed. They can unsubscribe from us if we start annoying them with our junk.
Really the main thing to worry about is "if I post this, will it come back to haunt me?" – would it dissuade a possible boss from hiring me? Could it damage a relationship or hurt someone? Or finally, do I really want every random acquaintance of mine to be informed of this part of my day/life/moment?
made with ♥ by Boundless