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Social Media: A New Way To Communicate

© Shutterstock / Raisa Kanareva

© Shutterstock / Raisa Kanareva

Alessia Bicknese, Opinion Editor

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Want to know what catches the millennial’s eye? Follows, likes, and retweets.

The newest iPhone glued to perfectly manicured hands, a 17-year-old posing on Instagram in risqué ensembles, and filters that seamlessly accentuate flirty eyes and puckered lips. These are the traits of a flawless monster: the millennial.

Millennials have discovered a new way to communicate— if you want to call it that. Now, communication is making certain that a public post reaches a specific number of followers to cement a user’s reputation. Whether a post gains popularity after a short period of time will guarantee acceptance for a teen in society.   

Through the use of social media, the opportunity to construct an online presence is too easy. Post a picture, be it a #TBT to last week, or an adolescent posing, while her hair effortlessly flows in the wind, and then, wait for the post to gain attention. If the post is online for more than five minutes and gains an inadequate amount of likes, the common notion of teens is to remove the photo to spare their dignity. What is seen in the distinctive youth’s Instagram is nothing more than the remnants of what survived the delete button. Gaining “likes” is the race, and having the utmost is the reward. This is the new age of socializing.

In an article by Rachel Ehmke, How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers, Ehmke said “kids today are getting actual polling data on how much people like them or their appearance via things like ‘likes.’”

Communication is transferred through double tapping a photo to like it. A like is equivalent to a hello, and not liking someone’s photo is equivalent to a punch in the gut.

Erica Marschke, a 16-year-old Instagram user, said, “I always post around 7-9 [p.m.] because I feel like that’s when the most people are on to see my post.” Marschke also claims she has a handful of friends who delete their photos if they don’t exceed a certain amount of likes in order to save themselves from humiliation.  

Confidence is chipped away at when admiration is not offered via followers, leading to the removal of a post. It’s a generation that depends on its followers to enthuse their composure and worthiness, because they are unable to do so on their own.

Marschke said that she takes a “long time” to pick out the perfect filter because “she wants it to suit the picture well,” which will ultimately lead to more likes.

Going unnoticed, especially in adolescence, promotes a decrease in self-assurance, and the desire for a difference in appearance – hence the façade millennia create on social media.

According to Childmind.org, Dr. Steiner-Adair said, “Girls are socialized more to compare themselves to other people, girls in particular, to develop their identities, so it makes them more vulnerable to the downside of all this.”

Parents no longer worry about dropping their child off. Today, parents should worry about their child’s personal corner of their universe – their social media accounts. Not only are youths free to create Snapchat and Instagram accounts without parental permission, they are free to post the content they please through pictures and inept comments.

Teenagers are growing up in a world where the need for likes and popularity is considered essential in creating a name as an adolescent. This is teenage culture. Is this what the future really holds?

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Social Media: A New Way To Communicate