9 things that Social Media has done to shape our everyday lives

in celebration of Social Media Day

Written By Ehimenim Agweh

As the world around us continues to morph through shifts in human interaction, the days of our lives have become increasingly complex, switching from the physical to the temporeal, our smart phones becoming just as important to our daily lives as our physical interactions. Here are some of the ways social media has incontrovertibly changed our lives.

The death of hard copy baby pictures

Millennials born in 90s and early 00s are going to experience the death of baby pictures. No, not baby pictures as a concept but time honoured studio shoot. Photography was expensive before the camera phone so the first official photoshoot a baby had was their first formal introduction into personhood, and as such had to be celebrated. Now, there are whole ‘birthing’ vidoes on Youtube, vajayjay included.  Going forward, pictures are just going to be JPEG, PNG and Gif. You can count on a framed photo becoming a matter of interior decor in the future.

A funnier world

The world’s filled with a lot more guffaws because of memes. Major life and international events have been condensed and archived into a set of funny pictures. It’s basically an art form. Just slap a picture with witty lines and voila! It’s one of the many markers of millennial living so, let’s look forward to a time when our history has been written in memedom.

Made relationships easier

A true mark of modern living. From WhatsApp to Snapchat, multiple streams of communication have made keeping in touch and maintaining relationships a breeze. We can’t slip in and out of each other’s radars when there’s a means of tracking down where we are and what we’re doing. Still, it’s unfortunate that we can’t avoid exes online.

…and made them much more difficult

Just had to do a pro/con situation here. Reality is now getting shaped by the public opinion. Online standards are set for how relationships should go as many perspectives are meshed to form a general view. More often than not, the view doesn’t take into individual experiences. The end result is a mess of lives trying to conform.

Easier to form opinions on things we haven’t experienced

Social media has blurred the lines between experience and perspective. It’s easier now to make up an experience which has been influenced largely by online perceptions of major events and trends. Associations aren’t being formed based on reality but on the general opinion shared on the screen.

Made it easier to concoct multiple virtual identities and attain digital godhood

With the ease of setting up an account comes the question of personality. Never has the reinvention of self been so easy. Some people don’t even wait to kill one personality before they start building the next one. And of course the phenomenon of ‘Catfishing’ so popular that MTV built an entire show around it. Sticking to the singular character we create used to be the norm. Now you can be you, every single variation of you, simultaneously. Anybody who doesn’t like it gets the block button.

High art and porn

The nudity argument is delicate but let’s face it: naked bodies are everywhere on Social Media. Nudity has jumped from porn and classical art into our cameras and screens on a daily basis in the name of self expression and ‘art’. We don’t have anything against it but let’s face it; gone are the days when the camel toe was something you only saw in person.

We’re all paranoid

Don’t want a photo leak? Go private! Don’t want to second guess yourself when posting or uploading? Go private! Privacy settings are no longer just for protecting your account. They’re now a failsafe against public ridicule. Our values take a backseat to what we want people to think of us online. So, we just suck it up and check who’s looking because frankly, everyone is.

It’s now gender politics and sex all the time

Money makes the world go round but sex comes before or after? The reason this ties together is the fact that the gender war is tied to financial wherewithal. Reality online and offline is now ruled by sexual tensions on all fronts. The struggle is now more real in a largely polarized world. What better way to show who you’re for than to put it up on social media for the world to see.

Feature Image Credit: Steve Cutts

A journalist by training, Ehimenim is a lover of history, good books and Game of Thrones. For her, the real world is just another Westeros and everyone is a supporting character. Read and repeat is her motto. Give her a wave on Twitter @EAgweh.

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