Last week, I mentioned that social media isn’t real life. It isn't, BUT it is very much apart of many of our lives. According to an article from Constant Contact, in a lifetime, we will have spent an estimated five years and four months viewing various social media platforms. Read that again. Over five YEARS. I’m not gonna figure out how many hours that is because that involves math, but that’s A LOT of time.
Now, I’m not here to make you feel bad about your social media habits or to encourage you to change your ways. I am here, however, to encourage you to change your feed.
If we are really spending that much time viewing what other people post, why don’t we use that time for something positive, like breaking down barriers, expanding our world view, and becoming more comfortable with ourselves in the process?
Many of you have probably heard the term “confirmation bias” in regards to news and politics (where we either consciously or subconsciously search out information that agrees with our own views). We have the same tendency when it comes to social media.
Sure, we connect with our friends and family on social media, and few can resist liking baby/kitten photos (don’t get me started on baby with kitten photos), but social media has grown far beyond just connecting with our loved ones.
Look through your feed. Of the accounts you follow, how many feature people that look like you (or your “ideal” you)? How many of them come from a different background, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status? How many of them have a different political view or sexual orientation than you? How many of them are about the same age as you? (Want be inspired? Check out Tao Porchon-Lynch @taoporchonlynch, a smiley “99 year-young” yogi and ballroom dancer)
If you’re like most people, much of your feed will be full of people who either share your interests, represent your ideal, promote celebrity/status/etc., or who you think are super hot (no judgment…@hotdudesreading makes me happy).
As author, activist, and all around awesome person Jes Baker writes, “If we allow our media feeds to regulate themselves without actively seeking alternative, body-positive options, they are more than likely going to be filled with Taylor Swifts and Ashley Grahams for miles. Don't misunderstand, though... it’s not that their bodies are bad, it’s just that they don't represent the amazing diversity of bodies that exist in our world.
If we want our media feeds to represent real life (and ultimately show us that our body isn’t strange, weird, or awful) we need to go out and actively find diverse images for ourselves.”
Who you decide to follow is your business, but I want to open your eyes to the fact that you are probably only viewing a tiny slice of the world. There are lots of awesome people and accounts out there that can not only expose you to views, events, populations, customs, and bodies you haven’t seen before, but also may change how you view yourself.
Let your feed become a celebration of individuality and awesomeness!