Self-Actualization Through Social Media

I'm getting tired of social media.

Language is as slippery as a greased weasel, so perhaps I should make myself clearer: I'm getting tired of the way we use social media.

What is the purpose of social media? What is its essence, its core, its reason for being? What need does it fulfill? What broken piece of our collective humanity does it fix? In theory, it should be the connective tissue of a connected world, the ultimate channel through which we direct our ideas, the great highway of information exchange that bridges time and space, linking us and challenging us and forcing us to take a long hard look at ourselves, who we are, and what we believe. If exposure to different ideas, different cultures, different worlds is supposed to expand our consciousness and nurture our souls, then social media should be a gateway unlocking our greater potential. It should be a fluid, provocative, participatory medium capable of challenging beliefs and changing them. It should help us understand who we are and who we could be.

But it doesn't. We don't let it. Instead, we use it not as an opportunity to expand our knowledge, but as a megaphone to make ourselves heard. We all scream loudly into the digital aether, desperately shoving our poorly-framed and filtered photographs and our pithy, self-indulgant utterances in the faces of anyone who dares to try to connect with us. We're all guilty of it. Instead of showing the best side of ourselves, we show the worst, and we do it publicly in the eyes of the world. We don't seek out people who disagree with us. We don't look for new ideas. We don't try to grow or change. Instead, we look for meaningless and empty validation. We look for people to tell us how great we are. We look for faceless friends on the other side of the world to massage our egos and justify our idiosyncrasies. 

Social media isn't a time-waster. We are social media-wasters. Hell, some us even claim to be experts at it.

We can be better than this, and it's not hard. All we have to do is slow down and think. What are we saying to the world with every tweet, with every post? What are we saying about ourselves? What are we inviting in return? And is that brief ego boost, that rush of adrenaline, that momentary glee that comes with our self-indulgence - is that it worth it?

We're doing it wrong. Let's fix it.