Open Snapchat. Close Snapchat and open Instagram. Scroll through Instagram, close and open Facebook. Scroll through Facebook, close and open Snapchat again. Repeat.
If still not satisfied, scroll through transactions on Venmo — a “virtual wallet” app that is used to exchange money.
Millennials, who were born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, grew up while mobile technology evolved. As we, the millennial generation, aged, we traded in our Razr phones for the iPhone 3. We were some of the first to use Snapchat and Instagram.
We also are often criticized for our constant use of social media and technology.
Our lives have been intertwined with the evolution of technology and social media in such a way that it seems strange to think of living a life without the ability to post a photo or status about anything we so desire.
It is even stranger that our professors did not know how to use Snapchat.
Through Snapchat and other social media platforms, we have the ability to connect with people around the world and keep in touch with old friends in distant places. We are living in a globalized world with the ability to receive updates with the tap of our thumb. Our generation has learned how to use #hashtags to connect with others in a way that was not possible before.
This ability to connect with others, however, seems to seep into every aspect of our lives.
While we are Snapchatting, our professors and those in older generations are doing whatever it is they do with their time because they don’t use Snapchat.
If there is a puppy on the front lawn, you are sure to see it Snapchatted by several different people from several different angles.
You may also see a few Instagram photos of it as well as Facebook post and a tweet.
Millennials are the generation that grew up while social media developed, and we have fully embraced it as a normal part of our daily lives. It has changed not only the way we interact, but also the way we think about life events.
Humans have been interacting with each other since the beginning of time, not just since Chris Messina invented the hashtag in 2007.
Our parents passed notes in class. Now we iMessage on our laptops. We as a generation have come to fully embrace social media and sharing on multiple platforms, but we sometimes allow it to consume our lives.
A meal at Sal’s cannot be consumed without first snapping a few photos.
A sunset cannot be enjoyed without a photo posted on Instagram.
Mobile devices have also become a comfort that can even inhibit genuine, unfiltered human interaction. It seems that too often we cling to our phones and mindlessly check social media instead of engaging with those sitting next to us or across from us.
If posting on social media makes you happy, go for it. The issue comes in when we, often subconsciously, allow social media to have a profound impact on both our experiences and our mental state.
In 2012, Facebook manipulated the feeds of 689,003 users to flood their feeds with either only positive images or only negative images.
Facebook then studied the posts made by users who were exposed to these polarizing images. Not surprisingly, those who were exposed to pleasant photos were more likely to post pleasant statuses. Those who saw negative images were more likely to post negative statuses and in turn see the world through a negative light.
We know social media has an impact on us, but we sometimes ignore that in favor of giving in to our need to be constantly connected. This need, however, may have more of a negative impact than we would like to admit.
FOMO, or fear of missing out, existed before social media, but it seems it is a feeling experienced by millennials more than any other group. Instead of consciously consuming specific information on social media, we mindlessly scroll through our feeds.
Instead, we click though the photos from everyone else’s lives. In the process of this, we can sometimes forget to live our own life.
It can be freeing to do something without taking a photo of it. Save the moment for yourself.
Open Snapchat. Close Snapchat. Put down your device and do something without documenting it on social media or looking to see what other people are documenting.