Gross: Social media is just posting for people who hate you


Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

(Graphic Illustration By Falyn Sebastian | The Collegian)

Dillon Gross, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Social media sites used to be, and still are, platforms for sharing media with people you know. We’ve all heard social media can be toxic, but we use it anyway. We try to make the most out of a problematic app because it is supposedly fun, and our brains are conditioned to it at this point.


It is second nature to check social media when there’s a lull in the day. We already know it’s addictive, but what about what we’re actually posting on social media?

There’s been a recent trend to make Instagram more casual, meaning that rather than posting staged, highly edited photos, young adults are opting to make their posts less manicured and more authentic. This means posts are more along the lines of photo dumps, in which people will post a series of pictures they simply like.

This might seem like a turn in the right direction, but it’s actually far from it. Having a casual Instagram is seemingly more authentic, and in some cases it genuinely could be, but more often than not, it is just as performative as the typical Instagram feed.

“It’s hard not to fall into the trap of creating content, but not everything needs to be valuable to others to have value. If you like it, that’s enough.”

It still involves handpicking the pictures you want others to see, trying to see if they work well together, finding out if the main picture looks good on your feed, possibly editing the one supposedly casual selfie that gets included and finding the perfect, witty-but-not-too-thoughtful caption.

Instagram is still a performance. Having a casual Instagram doesn’t mean you don’t care, it means you care about wanting to seem like you don’t care. Most of the time, it is just feigned disinterest. 

Additionally, many teenagers and young adults fall into the trap of having to create content. Creating content means we’re not posting just to share but to entertain the people who are seeing it. 

This is due to the large number of content creators we see on Instagram, TikTok and elsewhere. We have become so accustomed to consuming content that we want to create it. We want our content to be as valuable to others as other people’s content is to us.

But in fact, this isn’t really true. Most of the people we follow on Instagram are followed because we know them from somewhere and want to keep tabs on their life. Maybe we follow a content creator every once in a while and expect content from them, but we don’t expect content from a coworker’s private Instagram account. 

One thing that’s important to consider about social media posting is that it’s often to an audience of zero people. There’s no one to perform in front of — there’s no captive audience. Everyone is too wrapped up in their own posts to care about what anyone else is doing.


Even if there is an audience, that audience is often actively rooting against you. Each comment is someone else trying to be funnier than the post is, and that’s only if you’re lucky

If you’re not conventionally attractive or the audience finds your video cringe in any capacity, it’s likely you’ll find an influx of both passive-aggressive and full-on hate comments.

“Life’s too short to care about what other people think of you on an ultimately irrelevant social media site.”

There are people watching your video who actively don’t like you and set out to make sure you know that. Yet we continue to make and post content.

It’s a vicious cycle of feeling like you should post because you haven’t made content in a while to then feeling bad because the audience either doesn’t exist or is mean to then taking a break from making content. There’s no end to this vicious cycle and no apparent answer either. Social media is so new that there’s no way to tell how it will evolve. 

For the time being, I believe everyone should focus on what makes them happy. If you want to spend hours editing your photos, do it. If all you want to do is post pictures of your dog, go for it. Life’s too short to care about what other people think of you on an ultimately irrelevant social media site.

It’s hard not to fall into the trap of creating content, but not everything needs to be valuable to others to have value. If you like it, that’s enough. Friends who care about you will care about it. There’s also a certain freedom in knowing nobody actually cares because then no one will think differently of you for what you post.

Social media is an essential part of today’s life. There’s no denying it. Staying off the grid isn’t really an option anymore. The best we can do for our own mental health and for others is to be genuine to ourselves in how we represent that on the internet.

Reach Dillon Gross at or on Twitter @dillongrosss.