Just what kind of effect has social media and reality TV played on our lives? Scientifically, I cannot answer that. I’m sure there are plenty of incredible studies out there with pretty pie charts showing just how bad or good they’ve been. But… that’s not what you’re going to get here.
Now, I completely understand you the high likelihood you probably came here by way of social media. Maybe it was a Facebook post? Or a twitter post? I don’t really know. I do find it ironic to write about the toxicity of social media and reality TV knowing you probably used one of those platforms to get here.
So, why make a somewhat bold statement? Well… since you asked.
I was listening to the Hands and Daylight podcast the other day and they had Dakota Meyer on as a guest. He made a few statements that brought some clarity to this particular topic that I just had yet to put into words.
Dakota had first made mention that many of societies problem today point back to MTV’s original reality show called The Real World. And then, he began talking about how social media gives people the illusion that there are filters in life.
I think we can all agree with him in that there are NO life filters.
I’d like to expand on this idea for just a bit.
Let’s start with The Real World.
At the time of the MTV show, it was both groundbreaking and controversial. Mostly for the same reasons. Sadly, I don’t think the creators and producers of the show realized the impact it would bring. It gave us normal people a look into the lives of others. However candid of a look it was, admittedly, people were drawn to it. Why? Simple. People are nosy!
We want to know what other people do. We want to see how they act behind closed doors. We want to know how other people live their lives. The show was a real-life example of psychology at play.
Now, lest we forget, the show was scripted. Much like the reality shows of today, it’s all scripted. There’s an agenda from the producers to put out a show that brings people back. They want to show drama. They don’t care if people are damaged by the end product. It’s their job to deliver the sale.
By now you’re probably wondering how this plays into social media?
Well… as much as people are nosy, they are followers of observation.
When people see how other people do and act, they imitate. Social media is just a tool for them to do so.
Those filters Dakota Meyer was talking about? Much like Instagram and Snapchat filters can turn bad pictures into works of art, people use these filters in real life. They use them to try and portray something they aren’t.
People go out and rent fancy cars, take a picture, post it on social media, and give the image that they’ve got all their stuff together in life and they’re making millions. The reality is that they are flat broke and don’t honestly have a real job. I’m not saying all of them are that way, but the majority of them are.
Now we get people who follow those people and try and chase a lie. They’ll do whatever they have to do now to get there in life. Beg, borrow, or steal. People just don’t care. They want what they want and will do almost anything to get it.
People also tend to forget that there’s a real person on the other end of heir social media. Twitter, for instance, is just a nasty, vile place. People just don’t care what they say. And, they’re completely stuck in their thoughts and ideas. They don’t want to look objectively at someone else’s opinion. They just don’t care. It’s not only a sick way of handling yourself but an unhealthy one for those being interacted with.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of it. We’ve all allowed ourselves to be duped by these filters people are using. We’ve all been led to think this is how the other people actually live.
Take it for whatever you wish, but this is why I say social media and reality TV is toxic.