Social media and the era of the internet have drastically transformed the way we consume, create, and connect. We live in a world that advocates for the creation of oneself. Nobody is born into a lifestyle anymore; every individual has the power to create themselves into the person they dream of being. I firmly believe there are both benefits and consequences to this way of thinking that our society has begun nurturing.
“Your self-worth is determined by you.
You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.”Beyoncé
Research shows that nearly 94% of American teenagers are using social media platforms, 76% using Instagram, and 75% using Snapchat. The teenage years are fundamental when it comes to discovering who you are, what your passions are, and how you fit into the world. The vast amount of exposure teens have to social media undoubtedly affects the way they go about self-discovery.
Social media gives you all the tools, resources, and outlets to build yourself, to invent yourself. You get to pick and choose what the world sees and knows about you. You get to edit your images the way you choose, you get to post and re-share on the topics you’re passionate about, and you get to decide who you are. I get to post photos of myself hiking and traveling because I love hiking and traveling. I don’t ever share or post information about welding because I’m not a welder and I don’t know anything about it. Through the use of social media platforms, I have the power to pick and choose how the world around me sees me as an individual. I get to decide what I stand for, what I believe in, what I support and don’t support, and I get to have a voice because of social media.
Who do you want to be?
I think we used to ask ourselves, ‘who am I?’ but we’ve readjusted to ask ourselves, ‘who do I want to be?’
This shift has begun to confuse a lot of people. When I graduated from high school, everyone asked me what I wanted to be, and who I wanted to be. For a while I wanted to be an art therapist, then I wanted to be an echocardiographer. When that didn’t pan out, I thought I wanted to be a surgical technologist, and now here I am pursuing my photography passion. I wanted to become all of these things, and because the entire world around me told me, ‘you can be anybody you want to be!!’ I lost sight of who I already was and I overlooked my immense passion for photography. I found myself, and now I get to create myself in that. Social media is both for me and against me.
Who are you?
There are over 200 million active business accounts on Instagram today, my own photography account including. There is an estimated 71% of US businesses utilizing Instagram for growing their business. Instagram launched its business account feature in August of 2014. This feature allows and encourages you to share who you are with the world.
I, myself have a business profile on Instagram. This allows me to put my name out into the world and grow the business I wish to have. I can see how many accounts, followers and non-followers engage with each of my posts. I can see how many sends, saves, likes, comments, and interactions each of my posts has. I can see where I am succeeding and where I’m not gaining momentum among my target audience.
Social media allows me to share with the world who I am and what I’m passionate about, and it equips me with the tools to grow as an individual and in the business world as a photographer. For this reason, social media has changed the game for me both personally and professionally.
Is social media a good thing or a bad thing? Am I inventing myself or just growing myself? I think it’s a little bit of everything; it’s not black and white. Nonetheless, social media has an enormous impact on who we are and how we grow, and I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the influence it has over your life. How will you use social media to invent yourself and to grow your platform, both personally and professionally?
For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared for us in advance, that we might walk in them.Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Ultimately, I believe God has created each of us uniquely, with intention and purpose. He’s given us countless tools and resources to grow, learn, and evolve. If we allow it to, social media can change the way we consume, create, and connect in such a way that we find our lives and businesses flourishing more than we thought imaginable. So my advice? Lean into who God already created you to be and make good use of your time on social media to grow and push yourself. All the tools you need are right in front of you.