By Monica Sanchez
Work is done for the day; but while innocently sitting on the couch browsing through Facebook, yet another Millennial has assaulted your eyes and desecrated your down time with a post that simply shared too much.
Your palm can’t hit your face fast enough. And instead of a like button, you’re wishing for a dislike button or a TMI alert that you can send the person just to let them know they royally messed up. And you’re beside yourself racking your brain wondering if there is any information people consider personal or private anymore. But slow down on that avalanche of judgment before considering reasons as to why Millennials might feel the need to share everything.
Millennials aren’t the first group of people who have felt the urge to preserve snapshots of their life. People just love to hate Millennials. It’s become such a popular trend that even Millennials hate Millennials according to The Interrobang. There needs to be a scapegoat for the downfall of society, and Millennials provide that much needed service through their active presence on social media.
But social media is basically modern scrapbooking minus the glitter and glue creating an epic mess that no amount of chemicals or wipes can scrub off. A quick connection to WiFi makes it so incredibly easy to store records of dated images and look back at those memories whenever we’d like.
And isn’t scrapbooking viewed as a hobby some people enjoy? So why is there an aversion towards social media a.k.a modern scrapbooking? It seems only reasonable that people would opt for the cheaper version of this pastime than actually buying a scrapbook and all the materials needed to go along with it.
Being active, or sharing everything, on social media is viewed as attention seeking. But since social media is interactive, it’s difficult to understand why a willing and eager audience is constantly ready to condemn the show. After storing endless records of information, the interactive nature of social media is what people want because it allows them to view precious memories any time and not just during some random family party that has run out of its main source of entertainment.
Free Therapeutic Exercise
Sharing everything on social media has also replaced the practice of writing in a journal for Millennials. Journal writing is a free therapeutic exercise that allows us to release our anxiety and overcome inner obstacles. Bridget Murray from the American Psychological Association says that “By helping people manage and learn from negative experiences, writing strengthens their immune systems as well as their minds.” Writing about one’s experiences on social media can serve as daily reflections that may improve a person’s overall health.
For people who have no one to talk to or cannot afford therapy, venting on social media through written reflection may actually help them get over whatever issues are plaguing them at the moment. Obviously, writing about one’s problems on social media does not replace the assistance of actual medical professionals. But if it helps a few people get through their day, then what’s the harm?
A Need to Be Liked
Everyone wants to feel special and unique, even Millennials. Social media allows them to achieve that goal with minimal effort.
Recently, a popular comedian who made his career off of social media, Bo Burnham, condemned the very platform that gave him his success. In an article from Medium, Burnham is quoted as saying “Social media, it’s just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to perform. So the market said, ‘Here, perform everything to each other, all the time, for no reason.’ It’s prison. It’s horrific. It is performer and audience melded together.”
And yes, maybe we’re all trying to be performers. We demand attention through social media in order to feel special. But is that wrong? It’s perfectly normal to have this desire, to crave proof that our lives matter in the world.
While it may seem unfathomable as to why Millennials would crave love and affection, Dr. Fisher-Yoshida in Psychology Today explains how a lack of social acceptance can actually hurt us. She states that “emotional pain is both psychological and physical because it is processed in our brains [in the same ways] even though we may think these two types of pain are not connected.” So, Millennials share too much information on social media as an instinctive method of survival. It is safer for them, emotionally and physically, to be accepted socially than to be ostracized.
For those who have more trouble finding a sense a purpose, social media is also an open platform that allows them to feel as if they’ve achieved that. Because let’s face it, not everyone is going to find a fulfilling purpose in life. Life isn’t fair, and plans don’t always work out for everyone despite people working hard and trying their best. And if someone is just trying to make it through their day and feel some kind of joy and fulfillment, then just let them post a picture or two without griping about the stupid smile they get from receiving a few likes. In the end, excessive sharing on social media simply stems from a basic human desire: to be liked, to be wanted, to be loved.
Excessive sharing on social media is not a fad dominated solely by Millennials either. Your parents and grandparents can’t fight the urge to post family pictures nonstop or comment on the success or misguided choices of their loved ones. And if your grandma is like mine, she cannot contain her excitement when she prints her schedule to track the growth of her blueberries on Farmville. Social media has seeped into the trigger-happy fingertips and ever present thoughts of people in every generation. Millennials just get the most flack for it because youth, unfortunately, makes all people seem obnoxious and irritating to the rest of the world.
If there’s one thing Millennials can certainly be credited for, it’s that they’re not ashamed of everything that makes them who they are; thus follows the mentality to post, post, and share some more. Perhaps instead of griping and gossiping, it’s time to finally go to therapy or at least start some inner reflection. One way or another, those deep, personal issues that arise when scrolling past another millennial post flooded with too much information need to be addressed. Social media is only growing; so it’d be best to deal with those issues before heart palpitations arrive at the next click of a button.