“Never before has a generation so diligently recorded themselves accomplishing so little.” – Anonymous
We’re witnessing the first generation of “digital natives”. They are experiencing more of their lives online than any generation preceding them, particularly through ‘social networks’. ‘They’ are the ‘Millennials’. Millennials are the new generation of highly indebted narcissist playing the role of pseudo – Kardarshians, with little or no privacy as they share everything online in the hyper-connected and tech-savvy social media world. Social media has permeated our lives so much that unconsciously our happiness and sense of achievement has become dependent on the validation we get from our ‘followers’, ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’.
Youth’s unconscious minds have started to gather the impression that having social media accounts is a norm. Our generation lives in a world driven by social media. We spend our days constantly refreshing Instagram and Facebook thus losing all focus on ourselves. The generation today is highly dependent and relies on the satisfaction of ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ for accepting themselves as a part of the society. The urge to be accepted, to be liked and to belong lies within the fingertips of friends and followers. Despite the benefits of sharing ideas, photos and experiences world-wide, social media brings us false self-esteem, lack of independence and fallaciously mimics the real world.
When a millennial shares a picture online and does not get as many likes and comments as expected, depression sets in. Question like “Am I not cool or popular enough?” take over their mind and raises self-doubt. Hence, over the course of time, the opinion of their followers on social media, many of whom they don’t even know in person, becomes the yardstick to measure their own competence. We have trained ourselves to always be presenting ourselves to the world through a well-thought out post, alluring caption or a recent beautified picture of us to make sure our thousands of social media contacts know how happening our lives are. Thai Government Psychiatrist Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn long ago warned that young people who don’t get approval on social media risk destabilizing the society.
Narcissism brought on by social media has drastically increased with millennials being absolutely engulfed in everything related to social media. An even more narcissistic society achieved through excessive social media use is a direct indication that our desire to be accepted and liked is being taken to extremes. The need for validation by faceless audiences has gone so far that millennials now live on “Fake it till you make it” mantra. The end-result is that their lives are mostly fake. They have very few real relationships or real friends. In their quest to keep up the obsession, they compromise on their morals, cut-off ties and seek acceptance from an audience who isn’t even bothered about their existence.
Social media platforms are witnessing millennials become more concerned about the accomplishment of others than trying to secure their own happiness. Being a member of the social media means we feed on social approval. Social media is making it difficult for us to accept ourselves leading to depression and anxiety. The generation is growing up with lower self-esteem as compared to any of the previous generations. In this world of internet, everything you seek, you can have instantaneously, except for the two essentials of life – genuine relationships and emotional satisfaction. In the quest of keeping up with the world surrounding us, have we lost the ability to love and accept ourselves and not be defined by any other person? It’s time to wake up and realize that self-love is far more superior to notifications on phone.