I recently reached out to those following The Intentionality Project on Instagram asking if anyone would like to volunteer to participate in an email interview to continue this segment on the topic of social media. I was blown away at the response. The next several entries are going to be interviews with people I have never met before, this is my interview with Lauren.
Name/Age: Lauren, 23
How long have you been using social media?
"I’ve probably been using social media since I was 13 or 14. I remember making a MySpace account with my cousin, and having to hide it from my parents."
How has social media benefitted you, and how has it negatively affected you?
"I love social media, probably a little too much! Recently I moved from Illinois to Colorado with my husband and social media has helped me stay “connected” to all my friends and family back home. Unfortunately, that prevents me from maybe reaching out to those friends. Sometimes I substitute meaningful conversation with those friends with liking all their Instagram photos. It’s honestly not a great friendship model. In addition, at times it can give me pretty bad 'FOMO' (fear of missing out)! I see cool, fun things my friends are doing and I look at my own life and say 'why am I watching tv when my friends are out doing _____', when in reality, my life is filled to the brim with fun things to do & those moments of rest need to be cherished!"
Have you experienced insecurity in your life? If so, in what ways? Has social media helped heal those insecurities, or has it enabled them?
"Definitely! I struggle with anxiety, pretty severely so pretty much insecure about everything. I think social media can negatively affect someone because they see all the 'good' parts of other people’s lives without any negative! You see a couple on Facebook who always posts about how much they love each other. We don’t see their fights, their closet-skeletons, their real ness. But then I look at my own marriage and say 'wow, so and so’s marriage must be better than mine, they always look so happy in their selfies. I bet her husband doesn’t grumble every time she wants to take a picture.'"
Why do people love social media so much?
"I think it provides a sense of importance. If you post a photo and you get lots of 'likes', it can make you feel important & validated. It gives you an open platform to post about your religion and political stance, to remind people about how great your marriage and vacation are. But it’s also a great place to stay connected to friends and family whom you may not get to see every day."
What would life look like if social media didn't exist? How do you think people would react if it suddenly crashed and ceased to exist today?
"I think it would be really, really hard.... at first. But it hasn’t always existed and we did just fine! I would hope more people would spend more time reading books and staying up to date on current events and getting coffee with friends. In reality, we’ll probably find another dumb, mindless thing to do. But one can dream! I think that having less social media would be unfortunate for a lot of social activist groups, though. Through social media is how they let people know about their cause, plan strikes/marches/whatever and raise money. That is one aspect I would miss. I would miss the availability to begin a major change."