Viewpoint: Don’t let social media steal your joy

We’ve all experienced the life evaluation that occasionally follows after checking social media. That girl ran a half-marathon this morning? I haven’t gotten out of bed yet. He landed an impressive accounting internship? I can’t even remember to pay my rent on time.

One of my favorite quotes is Theodore Roosevelt’s “comparison is the thief of joy.” I think if Teddy were alive today, he might even say that as a result, social media is the thief of joy.

I don’t have a Twitter. I know, I know. If I don’t have a Twitter bio, will people know which sorority I’m in or that I love Jesus and coffee? This is a risk I’m willing to take.

This often surprises people, leading them to ask, “How can I tag you? #twitterlessAmanda?” Then, they follow this with a request for an explanation of why I would choose to avoid one of the most popular forms of social media. Most simply put, I think it steals some of my joy, for the reason Roosevelt so wisely shared many years ago.

(Side note: I had an account in middle school and have since deleted it so no one has to read my tweets about the Jonas Brothers.)

To clarify, I don’t think Twitter or any other social media is inherently bad. These services allow people to stay connected in a way they never have before. My mom is able to get in touch with high school and college friends through Facebook, and my older sister talks to her husband in Afghanistan regularly thanks to Skype. I recognize these benefits and simply want to encourage others to use discretion in their usage.

For some, moderation may mean limiting the number of times you check your iPhone each hour. For others, it may just be about adjusting your perspective. For me, this includes abstaining from Twitter, even if my roommates call me “Grandma” when I’m unaware of the latest lingo.

As a student in the communications department, we are often taught the importance of social media in the workforce. We are urged to embrace technology, or we might fall behind. There are some aspects of today’s online culture, however, that I just don’t mind falling behind in. Social media can be a helpful source of information or entertainment, but a line must be drawn somewhere.

Newsfeeds are filled with happy friendships, announcements of engagements and job offers. Instead of viewing these successes as a personal failure, I would challenge everyone to simply celebrate for them. Much like celebrities, sometimes it feels like you know someone solely based off their online persona. In reality, no one is going to post about their recent breakup, a failed midterm or a quarter-life crisis.

This point is clearly shown in Baylor’s Ring by Spring culture. Each weekend, some couple posts a photo shoot from their fairytale proposal. This elicits a range of responses from the average college-aged girl. It begins with excitement, maybe some shock or envy, and ultimately ends with someone half-joking about being forever alone.

The average age to get married in Texas is 25.7 for females, and 27.5 for males, according to the estimates of 2008-2012 data from the Census Bureau. Therefore, ladies, you are not an old maid at 21 years old.
So keep scrolling through your news feed while waiting in the Starbucks line or taking a study break. If it’s stealing your joy, however, then you may want to consider altering your social media routine.

Amanda Hayes is a junior film and digital media major from Coppell. She is a reporter and regular columnist for the Lariat.