Emma Havighorst/Instagram

In Defense Of Social Media-Obsessed Teenagers Like Me

Social media isn't rotting our brains or turning us into robots. In fact, most of my friends are more real on social media than they are to strangers in face-to-face situations.

Pictured above is a real tweet posted by a real teen. (The real teen being me.)

This tweet was made as a joke, during a lil' fit of saltiness when I was sick of not being Internet-famous. Because, really, I have so many amusing tweets, cute Instas, and insightful blog posts to offer the world, but there aren't enough people around to appreciate them, you know?

If you're an avid user of social media, I'm hoping you can relate. I don't think I'm the only one who wishes they were famous sometimes. I hope I'm not. (If I am, this article is about to get very awkward very quickly.)

After tweeting said tweet, and noticing that people seemed to relate, I realized something very, very important and deep (that's sarcasm, obviously). The Internet is not about becoming famous. I do what I do because I love it. I spend hours keeping a pretty Instagram feed, queuing posts on Tumblr, writing fire tweets, and interacting with awesome humans online for so many hours of every day of every week of every month, solely because I love doing it. This isn't for money, or fame, or recognition. I spend my time on social media because it makes me happy. In fact, you could say that it makes me Internet-happy. And I'm pretty darn proud of that.

Lately, so many people — adults and teens alike — have emphasized the negative cases of social media, like viral phenom Essena O'Neill. But focusing on instances like those lacks the perspective needed in reporting on these situations.

I can see how someone could get caught up in the fame and monetization of social media as Essena claimed, but that isn’t always the case. There is more to life and, of course, to social media than attention and numbers. It’s unfortunate when one person gets so caught up in it that they feel their only option is to quit entirely, but it also serves as a reminder to everyone that when the only things that matter to you are "likes" and followers, you’re doing social media wrong.

Sure, there are always extreme cases like Essena’s, but it's important to remember that they are outliers. Social media isn't rotting our brains, turning us into robots, making us vain, or even making us more insecure. In fact, I think that most of my friends are more real on social media than they are to strangers in face-to-face situations. Social media gives rise to communities, which allow people to interact with those they relate to. We turn to these communities for support — they are where we find friends and make connections. People are more willing to open up and be honest on social media than with strangers in real life, because they know that they have a whole network of people ready to back them up, always there for support if it's needed.

The point of this scattered spiel is this: At the end of the day, you'll never be Internet-happy if your only goal is to be Internet-famous. Use social media because you want to use social media, not because you want "likes," followers, or retweets.

* Also, if you haven't seen Alexa Losey's YouTube video about being Instagram famous, it is right below this run-on sentence and you should click and watch it because it is a preach moment and also prime satire.

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