How Social Media Changed My Social LifeBy Xavier Ahern
April 7, 2020
If you were like me as a kid, you know that having a social life takes work, which means you don’t have much of one. In college there was something known as the Two-Thirds Triangle. Each corner of the triangle was something you tried to have as a full-time college student. You could have a healthy diet and sleep schedule, good grades, or a social life. Everyone tries to make all three work. It never does. I finally gave up on having a social life, because when I wasn’t studying or working, I was trying to squeeze in a balanced meal or a nap.
The only reason I was able to make lasting friends in college was because English majors tend to hang out and do the same things together: drink tea or coffee, listen to records, and read or write/study at the local hipster café where all the baristas where plaid and wire-rimmed glasses. What do college students do at cafés? They take pictures of their drinks and post them on Facebook or Instagram. You want to know how to get Instagram likes? Slap a nice grainy filter over a Frappuccino. Or buy them.
Social media changed my social life because it made me realize I wanted one, and once I started trading in naps for time spent with friends and going to events, I started to come out of my shell more. You know how to get Instagram followers? Slap a nostalgic filter over a group of college girls wearing ugly Christmas sweaters on a group residential hall date to Chik-Fil-A. If that alone doesn’t get you a bunch of followers, try buying some to give it a boost.
Social media helped me realize that I wanted to do more with my time than just do homework and take naps between salads and coffee breaks. Granted, I was tired throughout the entirety of my new social life, but I was having so much fun that I didn’t care. At one point before I started making an effort to join in on residential hall activities, my suite mate burst into my room. “I watched a documentary about a lady who never got off her couch!” she cried. “Five years later, they tried to surgically remove her from her sofa and she just died instead! I thought of you!”
Okay, I thought. If the girls on my hall realize I’m always in my room, I should maybe get out a little more. Watching everyone’s college experiences unfold through Facebook and Instagram helped me make the decision to make new friends and allow myself to have fun despite the hard work I was doing. I now feel that doing so in college has made me a more comfortable and outgoing person in general. If I had been isolated in my dorm room with no window to the outside world, the kind of window that social media provided, I wouldn’t be who I am today.