Undoubtedly, interactive social media platforms serve as an escape hub and somewhat “safe” haven for a lot of youths (which are majority of the users). We can all be in our closets and act out whatever we choose to, right? Social media deals both benefits and detriments, but it can be arguably said that the latter is predominant. While some users explore the responsible use of these platforms for securing good networks, a host of others are handed yardsticks to measure their successes in comparison with others.
The youth age bracket is a sensitive one grossly characterized by social identity pressure. It is a time where an individual makes the most crucial decisions and choices- who they want to be, how they intend to be it amongst others. The social identity theory by Tajfel postulates that a person’s sense of who they are is based on their group membership (the social status they choose to align with). This projects a psychological position that may frequently oppose the reality. An average 21st century youth wants to level up with the social standards of his/her peers. The main thing is to ‘belong’ right?
People from diverse backgrounds all converge to converse on a common ground- social media; but what differentiates them into social status cadres is the content of their posts. The ‘haves’ harmlessly or intentionally showcase their luxurious day-to-day lives and some ‘have nots’ honestly flaunt their average lives. While the former effortlessly receives colossal acceptance through followership, the latter needs a little more effort to call the shots. Now here is the nexus- there is a constantly evolving group of social media users whose social identity has been greatly altered based on this obvious lacuna between those with considerably ‘chilled’ lifestyles and others. Heard of ‘wanna be’?
A lot of youths have become engulfed by the obsession of gaining social media acceptance and thus projecting a lifestyle which is completely the opposite of their realities. Staying in trend does come with a lot of sacrifice, especially when it is naturally unaffordable! If you want to be a social media VIP, then the pressure on how to stay relevant is inevitable, especially in a society where success and respect is measured and awarded based on the outward appearance. The motivational chants “be yourself; let people accept you for who you are” is constantly shaded by the celebrations of some awkwardly surprising successes. Then do we totally blame an average youth who feels the need to “double his/her hustle”?
It is pertinent that youths should understand that the social media is like a stage curtain- the audience only gets to see what is displayed on the stage and most times are totally obscure of what happens behind the scenes. Social media platforms should be used responsibly to achieve healthy goals. Youths should identify more keenly with their social realities and carve out a positive niche from it. IMPACT DOES MATTER MOST!
This article was written by Gbala Ifeoluwa Deborah; connect with her on IG here