8 things you’ll only know if you grew up without social media
3 years ago
Social media is now a massive part of our daily lives, but if you’re a certain age, you might remember a time before we had to worry about filters, hashtags and likes.
It’s something Spice Girl Emma Bunton is thankful for. In an interview with Clemmie Telford on the Honestly Podcast, the singer admitted she’s glad apps like Instagram and Facebook didn’t exist when she found fame with the Nineties girlband.
“I remember the first time I was out with friends in a club and I saw someone with a camera phone and they took a picture of me,” Bunton said. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s it now, that’s privacy done and there’s no boundaries’. That frightened me.”
If, like Bunton, social media apps were a twinkle in the eyes of Silicon Valley executives when you were young, here are some things you might just relate to…
1. We could live in the moment a lot more
There’s often a feeling of, ‘Instagram it, or it didn’t happen’. Whether it’s a funny family moment or a fancy dinner, there’s a sometimes crippling pressure to get the right shot to add to your glossy highlights reel.
And there’s actually nothing worse than the sense of guilt and frustration you feel if you don’t pull your phone out in time to capture a spontaneous moment, like a clichéd Boomerang of clinking mimosas at brunch.
2. You didn’t know everyone’s business
Back in the day, the people you didn’t keep in touch with from your past would fade into obscurity, only to be thought about once in a blue moon.
Because of social media, you feel like you know Sandra from primary school’s life better than your own, down to the type of supermarket washing detergent she prefers.
3. Catching up with friends was more interesting
When your friends got engaged, fell pregnant or had some great career news, it was a genuine surprise to hear them break the news over the phone or in person.
Now you feel like you know everything about your mate’s lives before they have a chance to even tell you about it, so there’s nothing new to talk about when you meet up.
4. Life wasn’t a competition
There’s always been an element of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, but social media has accelerated comparison culture, to the point where it’s impossible to keep up.
It’s hard not to reflect on your own life when you’re constantly confronted with images of things you don’t own or life milestones you haven’t – and may never – hit.
And when you do achieve something? The first thing you do is hastily post about it on social media, rather than taking the time to enjoy the moment yourself.
5. There was no embarrassing evidence the morning after
Once upon a time, a drunken night out that ended with you singing to a pub garden full of people would be dead and buried the morning after.
Thanks to camera phones, footage of your tipsy mishaps is usually committed to film and shared on Instagram for hundreds of people to watch, multiple times, before you’ve even realised it.
6. You didn’t care if people ‘liked’ you
Social media ‘likes’ mean a lot in today’s world. They’re a form of acceptance from random people you sort of half know, and after a while, getting more of them can become quite an addiction.
We miss the days where we did things because we wanted to and not for the sake of impressing other people.
7. We wasted less time
It’s genuinely frightening how much time social media can steal away from us.
The never-ending timelines and stories mean you can scroll forever, without realising you’ve spent an entire evening achieving nothing and ignoring everyone else in your household.
8. Your fashion faux pas were buried too
We’re so glad the cringe-inducing pictures of some of the clobber we loved in the Eighties and Nineties aren’t on the internet.
Kids of today will always be haunted by the trends of the past, whereas we can hide them in a photo album, only to be looked at in the privacy of our own homes when we fancy a good laugh.