Social Media creates a superficial world which is untouchable as it cannot be a physical space. This non-physical space allows for one to be able to recreate themselves into whomever they want to be perceived as in the ‘world’’. Moving away from being ‘human’ into this second self, that can be classified as data or the digital self.

Social media is a powerful tool that is used to collect information from us without the slightest realisation; it has the power to alter our emotions, mislead and create misunderstanding between parties. A tool that was meant to bring us “closer” together has separated us even further apart and broken the very idea it was built upon; being interactive with one another without borders.

The information we give out to strangers without realising that in can be used against us in the future. If you think about it, why do you always feel like they know what you want and feel at certain times in terms of the ads that pop up? Do you not think it’s the personal information we give out for free? According to Simon Sinek, a simple ‘like’ on Facebook, Instagram or a text can trigger your brain to release a chemical called dopamine. We’ve become so accustomed to counting likes on Facebook and Instagram because it makes us feel good about ourselves – an affirmation on self. That’s part of the reasons we’re addicted to these superficial spaces, because it validates who you want to be seen as. We can put social media on the same plane as drugs, the amount of likes you receive on these platforms become your fixes, and without these fixes, you in turn do whatever you can to get your fix. We’re fiends for social media; we continuously check our phones for updates and likes for that hit of that Dopamine. Dopamine is a highly addictive chemical that we release when we smoke or drink, a feel good chemical.

This superficial world has consumed us, and many of us do not realise that it is not REAL, it’s just data. This alternate reality has created false relationships and friendships because at the end of the day, do we ‘really’ know these people we interact with? According to The Royal Society Public Health, the level of depression has risen since the inception of social media. The mental health and wellbeing of almost 1500+ teens and young adults suffer from depression, anxiety, bullying and FOMO (fear of missing out). There is this non spoken competition taking place among social media users, who is living the most perfect and lavish life, who has the most and who is the living the ‘’#blessed’’ life; social media has become a platform for one to show off even though you are battling with depression or low self-esteem. A platform created to connect people that are a million miles away has become a showing off tool or a cause of mental illness.

Perfect vacation locations and the best restaurants to eat at, a far cry from their everyday lives, and you have people trying to keep up with this façade when they can barely afford to. However, there are hundreds to millions of other users becoming extremely depressed because they cannot attain this flashy life, instead of being happy with your own life you constantly want to compare yourself with people with different journeys and struggles from your own. Some use social media to fill voids in themselves and whenever they encounter real life stress they are unable to handle it and they turn to their devices for solace instead of seeking help from professional.

A “world” where friends are just numbers and love is just emoji’s has put pressure on the youth and it pushes them to the extremities to fit in. Young women dating older men for the vacations to ‘fancy’ places and documenting it with loads of pictures to show off without realising none of it is real. This superficial space grants instant success and friendship; send a friendship request, then voila you are automatically friends. On social media you can be whoever you want to be.

A person can easily portray themselves as someone else and make millions of people believe in that identity. Catfishing is an example of this, catfishers steal people’s identity in order to speak to others so that they can make themselves feel better about who they are. They lack confidence in themselves to be their authentic selves. This superficial space has created its own standard of what is considered beautiful and thus the level of self-esteem among social media users has dropped immensely. Social media allows you to filter out anything that you don’t want as a representation of who you’re trying to be.

One can argue that social media is an escape from reality, however, one can also argue that social media has taken over our minds and the ideas of self, subconsciously and consciously. Social media has the power to manipulate and feed your subconscious without you realising it. What we see or read ultimately influences us subconsciously. This mind hijack makes you believe that you are in control of your own thoughts and the choices you make, it makes you feel like you are part of something greater. Social media is like the new age god, well a new age god with superficial standards that everyone tries to attain. Being loyal by checking and updating just to keep up. Don’t forget there’s a hierarchy in this superficial world; social media as the god, social media celebrities as the second in command or the masters and then there are worshippers, who we call flowers.

Those who are trying to get attention of the masters and are willing to go an extent of losing their self just to be recognized by those masters of this superficial space. When one gets noticed by the master, it’s celebrated as if it is some sort of an achievement. It’s paraded around the platform for others to see that they were seen or recognised by the masters. Social media makes you feel like you need to check other people’s lives and pay no attention to your own, it becomes addictive to constantly check what others are doing. Comparing your life to others becomes constant as well as wishing your life was different. Social media is a distraction; keeps our minds occupied by things that have no substance instead of focusing on what really matters.

Knowing who you are is one of the best ways not to be influenced by social media; you know what you stand for and what’s real. When you know who you are you gain confidence in yourself, you gain self-love and it’s a boost in your self-esteem.

There’s more to life than what you see on social media, don’t be caught up in the Matrix.