Prepare yourselves for a blog post that’s going to make me sound 100 years old.
Growing up we had MySpace & Bebo. MSN was all the rage and Facebook was a new phenomenon nobody thought would last. Instagram wasn’t on anyones mind and the thought of Snapchat was laughable. Let’s be real, we were lucky if we had a 1 megapixel camera on our flip phones. Fast forward just a few years and we’ve seen both MySpace & Bebo dye a tragic death, MSN went down in flames and through its scandals, Facebook has come out on top now owning Instagram, becoming the largest social media platform ever known. Snapchat is showing its resilience and well, the youth of today live their entire lives on social media. If you didn’t insta story it, did it even happen?
What am I getting at here? Let me explain. Since being in New Zealand the age range of my friendship group has drastically changed. It’s gone from everyone being the same age as me, to ranging from 16-26. Especially since working at the restaurant, most people are younger than me and let me tell you, it truely has been an eye opener to hang around with the younger generation. At times yes, I feel like the dad of the group but at all times, I’m forever blown away at how massively different our upbringings were.
For me, I went to an all boys school back home in the UK. It was a sports college and I absolutely did not fit in. Being the ‘only’ gay in the school and hating sports, I kind of stood out like a sore thumb. As with every school throughout the decades, there were groups. The Populars, The Sports, The Geeks… and for me, The Gays. Or I should rephrase that last one, The Creatives. I was in a group of friends, who some studied drama, some studied art, some studied media. We were the gays of the school. And you know what, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I had friends, I had lots of friends. I was popular. Not through what I had, not through social climbing and not because I was the Blair Walforf of the school and paid people to be my friend, but through my personality. I didn’t care what other people thought of me, there was no social status’ at school, people were friends with people for who they were… not what they had.
I speak with my friends now, who are still at/ recently left school and all it sounds like is school is one big social climbing game. They’re friends with certain girls because of who they’re friends with. They date certain boys because of what sports team they’re on. They’re not friends with people because they’re too intelligent and it’s not cool to be smart. What happens at school is never left at school. It carries over to Instagram and Facebook. The youth of today have new favourite words… they are Anxiety & Depression. This is by no means belittling those who do suffer with their mental health, but it’s as though everyone and their friends have got anxiety or depression. The pressures to fit in, to have the best phone or to be wearing the latest tend clothing is higher than ever. If you don’t drink every weekend, smoke or take weed, you’re weak. Driving drunk is cool and spreading rumours is the norm. It’s a vicious world for the younger generation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit here and blame everything on social media. Who am I to talk, I’m a blogger with a heavy investment in social media. But I really believe I grew up in the perfect era. I had a childhood free from social media, I had a school life where nobody knew what social media really was and all we had to worry about was what theme we were going to have on our Bebo page. Going home from school, flicking on the dial-up and sitting there on MSN to your friends was as close to social media as you were going to get. Believe it or not, we actually spoke. Nowadays it seems everything is done via social media. Everyone is trying to be the most popular, trying to make people jealous by posting pictures with someone else’s boyfriend. Every conversation is had via Messenger that people aren’t communicating in real life. The younger generation aren’t anxious or depressed, they’re stunted. Social media has stunted the social development of the younger generation to the point where they don’t want to have real conversations, they don’t know how to communicate and they struggle with the basic etiquette of real life. I can honestly say I am so glad I didn’t grow up on Instagram.
In short I’m kind of blaming social media but also blaming the world we live in. Celebrities are so accessible, reality stars are popping up here, there and everywhere. We have a new wave of influencers and lives online are being confused with real life. People are aspiring to a life so unobtainable, they go to extreme lengths to get there. I dread to think in another 10 years time, what the younger generation will be like. I don’t want to sound preachy or like I said at the start, 100 years old but If I could give one piece of advice to anyone it would be “Take everything with a pinch of salt“. Do not take life, yourself and especially social media, too seriously. Enjoy it, stop worrying and just be you.
|By Harrison |