I have conflicting views on social media.
In order to describe my pro and cons of social media, it would have to reveal my age. I'm 3 weeks away from 32--meaning I was a college freshman in 2003 as I went straight through college, medical school and residency without any gaps.
Facebook was founded February of 2004. I was a college freshman. I remember signing up for it with my college roommate but back then, it was still very much in its early days. There was no photos to post. I don't even remember if there was a wall. I do remember "poking" people. Who knows what that even means?
Even though, it was still around, it really wasn't a huge part of our day to day college life. I believe by the time I started medical school come 2007 that it was when it became bigger and more promiment in our every day lives. I remember getting "friend requests," and thinking "wow, I haven't talked to that person in years!"
As I got older and became a mom, my take on social media has evolved. I do love its convenience. When I was busy with residency, I loved how accessible Facebook was for my relatives as well as my husband's relatives. We both have huge extended families as I still have a lot of family in Korea and he does in Taiwan. The last time we went to either country was before we had little C so it was a great way to share our lives with them. And of course, I would have never been a part of this wonderful MiM community without social media either!
However. as I got older, I find myself, posting less and occasionally going through my friends list and de-friending people that I really haven't spoken to in awhile.
I have a cousin who is 5 years younger than me, a sister in law who is 4 years younger than me and another cousin who is in high school. I look at their social media account and see how I got so lucky. I just missed the era of social media predominance during my childhood as well as my college experience, which I believe is the most vulnerable period in our lives. I believe, at least by grad school, you have a sense of who you are and what you want to be--in my case, I really wanted to be a physician and somehow along that path, I became a mom. It was still definitely a path of self-discovery but by that point, I think what other people posted on social media had less of an effect on me. I knew what I wanted and I was on my way of figuring that out. (Don't worry, I"m still human! It does bother at times too! Like for example, whenever I see photos of a mom postpartum looking like a runway model, it's like how does that even happen??)
However, I see the world of social media through their eyes and it kind of pains me a little. Because I have a little girl and I don't want her to feel this way. They look at Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and don't realize that these are just snippets of people's lives. They don't realize that nobody posts a bad photo. Nobody shows their bad days. If I spent my weekend at home with my parents in middle school, nobody knew about it and I also didn't know what everyone else was doing. I didn't log onto social media and see some other girls at school doing something fun and exciting. It could have just been a photo but a photo speaks a million words and can be misinterpreted and lead to feelings of loneliness and insecurity.
I see Instagram accounts of people that I know are home but yet, they'll post photos saved up from vacation to make it appear as if they are traveling and leading this exotic, adventurous life. I look at those photos and wonder if they actually enjoyed any time of their vacation if they were so busy, creating such staged, "instagram worthy" photos.
As I'm getting older, I feel like the inevitable is happening. I'm becoming more cautious, more worried and definitely more anxious of what's to come.
As little C gets older, I'm realizing I can't really protect her from everything especially in a world of social media but I can help her deal with its consequences. I'm going to do whatever is in my power to keep her my confident, opinionated, tomboy yet princess dress wearing little girl!