Why Social Media Kinda Sucks Sometimes



I used to wish that I lived in the ’90s. Everything I cherished, adored, and stanned for were from the ’90s: Ghost World, My So-Called Life, Sex and the City, Before Sunrise, Degrassi, plaid. Everything. Of course, my romanticized vision of that decade was influenced by the multitude of ’90s television shows, movies, and pop culture I consumed throughout my teenage years. In the media I consumed, everything seemed so much better, easier, simpler. But, the main thing that attracted me to the ’90s, aside from the fact that all my pop culture faves existed in that decade, was that social media did not exist.

I was talking to my sister recently and she asked me if I would attend my high school reunion. I immediately replied “no” because…what for? It wouldn’t be like in the ’90s where you’d spot Ashley at the mall, then squeal and hug each other because you hadn’t seen her since graduation 20 years ago. I still see my peers. On Facebook. On Twitter. On Instagram. What would we talk about that we already didn’t know from social media? I mean, I know what post-secondary school they attend, what job they have, and even what they had for lunch the other day.

And it’s this sense of hyper-connection, this sense of being plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that I wanted to escape from in my teenage years when I longed to live in the 1990s. I wanted to travel back to a time where you could meet a stranger on a train and instead of having your eyes glued to a screen, you’d strike a conversation, bond over shared interests and then wander the streets of Vienna talking about life. But as I’ve grown and matured, I realize that this yearning was a result of a very romanticized and narrow picture of the 1990s. These movies and shows only showed a facet of life. And these glimpses are questionable because, as we all know, the media does not have the best track record when it comes to depicting reality. Also, most of these media that I consumed were from the perspective of white, middle-class people. My experiences would definitely be a lot different in the 1990s as a black woman.

But… I have to admit, I still long for simpler times. Not necessarily the ’90s, or any other decade for that matter—I just long for a time when social media isn’t such a dominant part of my life. I’m constantly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube—you name it. And it’s not always just for fun. Sometimes I need social media to interact with classmates about a group project or to communicate with colleagues for work purposes. It’s not just social media (although the majority of the time I spend on the computer is dedicated to it), it’s the Internet as a whole. I live on the Internet. My life is the Internet. In some ways, I love these spaces. These spaces have broadened and continue to broaden my social awareness and consciousness. I love being part of a community of feminists and womanists on Tumblr. I love reading my Twitter timeline on Thursday nights when Scandal is on television. I love that I can keep up with things that matter to me through my page feed on Facebook. And I love that YouTube introduced me to a variety of quality web series that feature people who look like me.

But social media, for all its perks and benefits, can also be very isolating. Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook can trick you into thinking that everyone is off in Hawaii living a fabulous life while you, the loser, sit in a darkly dimmed room watching them have the time of their lives on a 5” by 2” screen. In my daily life, I probably communicate with human beings 80% through social media and 20% through face-to-face interaction. This places me in a weird space where I feel as if I don’t have any authentic connections with people because our connections only exist in a “superficial” realm situated in the World Wide Web. And this creates, for me at least, a false sense of closeness, which can be very lonely and depressing.

I no longer wish to live in the ’90s but man, I sure love how Angela could just meet up with Rayanne and Rickie without having a million conversations about it beforehand on Facebook.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just a loser. But I can’t be the only one that feels this way… Right?

My Time Machine

Sarah Boodram

Something happened recently that brightened my mood yet made me feel really old and nostalgic.  I’m not talking about finding my Pokemon collection from the third grade or listening to the Spice Girls.  I’m talking about television.  Yes…television.  It seems that with our busy schedules, we don’t have the time to watch TV, or at least shows, from this traditional medium.  Instead, we hop on the Internet to catch up on episodes if we missed its original air date. Or, if we still watch TV shows on television, many of us record selected shows on the PVR to view on our own schedule. 

I found myself, surprisingly, watching TV a couple of days ago and noticed that MTV has became my new go-to channel.  Why?  Because MTV now airs re-runs of shows like Clueless, Malcolm in the Middle, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Saved by the Bell, and Student Bodies…a.k.a. TV shows from the 1990s…a.k.a. TV shows from my childhood.


Though I’ve been watching Daria, Breaker High, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for some time now, the rebirth of these TV shows seemed quite fitting since I recently decided to re-watch (and re-obsess over) My So-Called Life, another television show from the 90s that’s filled with teen drama, grunge music, fashion, and Jared Leto.

I’ve realized how much time has gone by.  It’s no longer “the 90’s…just the other day,” it’s “the 90’s…two whole decades ago!”  Watching these TV shows make me remember a simpler time when my day didn’t revolve around non-stop “career-driven” activities, but about wondering whether Cher (from Clueless) will get home before her curfew.  Living in the past?  I think not, because sometimes it’s good to add a little nostalgia to life to make you appreciate the present.  So, will I stop watching my favourite 90’s shows because of how old it makes me seem?


Television Ruined My Life

I blame television for my false expectations of university.

Remember shows like Beverley Hills, 90210 (Donna Martin graduates!), Saved By The Bell, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World, The O.C? I most definitely do. How could I not? I lived and breathed these shows. I followed Brenda, Brandon and the gang to university; I was there in front of the TV when Zack proposed to Kelly; I watched Summer Roberts dominate university while coping with the loss of Marissa.

Oh yes, I was there, watching and learning, maybe a little bit too much. Most, no, all of my ideologies and influences have come from these popular, American teen drama shows from the 90’s/2000’s. They showed me how to dress, how to act, how not to act, what I should expect in my high school years, and more importantly, what to expect of university (or college as these popular American TV shows called it). But what these shows did not prepare me for is the harsh reality of university, or rather University of Toronto.

Read more