Dear Sabrina or “hello you” (I promise you’ll get this in the future),
I know you’re probably busy with trying to pass grade 5, obsessing over Robert Pattinson in the Twilight movies and wondering if Finn and Rachel will ever get back together on Glee. Now, I know that you’re dying to know what happens with Finn and Rachel (*SPOILER ALERT*), they don’t get together at the end of Glee. Big shocker, I know. But all those things will be the least of your worries because a lot can change in 10 years.
In a short time, you’re gonna discover what social media is; it’s inevitable (see what I did there? You’ll know what I mean when the Endgame comes). You’ll start off simple with Facebook, you’ll secretly make an account; You’ll quickly realize you have no friends, so you’ll have to add your family members. It’s pretty cool right? Posting text, images, videos and whatever you’re thinking about for all your friends to see? There’s always an upside to sharing yourself on Facebook, and a downside… Keep in mind that whatever you post on social media will stay on there forever, so make sure whatever you’re writing about is something you want to remember and be proud of.
I’m always reminded of the movie Cyberbully (2011) when I think about the negative consequences of social media. It has always resonated with me, even after all these years later. Even though this is a movie for preteens that was released in the early 2010s, I still think it relates to how social media can easily bring out the darkside and anonymity in people. Emily Osment’s portrayal of Taylor in the film strongly enforced my beliefs that cyberbullying affects everyone, even if you can’t see it; and behind every screen is a human being with real feelings. So you always have to be careful when you post something, think about how you would feel if someone posted something bad about you? Probably not good, so always be careful about what you post online and how it can affect someone.
You’re also going to be OBSESSED with Restaurant City and you’re gonna be sad when the game discontinues on Facebook. You are going to send so many requests for potatoes for your restaurant from your Facebook friends, it’ll get pretty annoying and besides, it’s literally just a game. And just like those chain emails you and your friends like to send, nobody will care about your “like for tbh” opinions in the future. It’ll be fun for a while, but future you (Me right now) will cringe *eternally*. You’ll also of course search up all your favourite celebrities on Facebook, secretly hoping they’ll add you back after you’ve friend requested all of them. BUT TRUST ME, that is DEFINITELY NOT Darren Criss that you’re friends with on Facebook. Come on, Sabrina, stranger danger is real.
And then here comes Tumblr, where stranger danger is definitely everywhere on this social media site. You’ve never even shared your personal information to any strangers on this site even if they say they’re your age. So good job! In your middle school to halfway through your high school years, Tumblr is your LIFE. You’ll spend a few hours everyday scouring tags to reblog the perfect gif set or photo of your favourite celebrity or tv show. You’ll run a few Tumblr Stan (/fan) blogs on everything from memes to Supernatural to even Pretty Little Liars. You’ll even reach over 4,000 followers on the Pretty Little Liars blog the last time I checked! It’s a great way to pass your time, but you’ll unfortunately grow out of it soon enough.
And now, the biggest social media app that you’ve used for the better part of this decade, Instagram. It’ll be your saving grace for surviving high school and university. However, with the rise of Instagram and social media in general, it will allow for people to remain anonymous online. It will also show a different side of people you’ve known all your life. Rumors will be spread about you through social media and text, but don’t let that get you down. Remember, whatever you say online is on there forever. There’s still so many things that you’ve done after that, that I’m so proud of! I know that you think that taking pictures of those donuts with an Instagram filter look really cool and make those donuts look delicious. But honestly, those donuts look amazing in real life, so ENJOY THEM! (and don’t overuse filters!)
You’ll also learn that “the camera eats first”, and you will stand by that. Not because you want to become a food blogger or anything, but because you want to remember that moment in time. And honestly, it’s pretty fun to look back on photos and remember certain memories that come with them. It’s also a way for you to communicate with friends and family, through food. It’s always interesting to learn what everyone’s eating for their meals, especially during a pandemic (you don’t need to worry about that now). And you’ll learn to appreciate the little things in life!
You’ll also start seeing false narratives being spread out all across social media and around the world. People are spending money they don’t have and tricking all their friends into thinking they have the best life, even though they don’t actually have the best life behind the camera. You’ll see all these people on social media with these perfect lives, but it’s all just a facade. You’ll also be exposed to photos of individuals with unrealistic beauty standards and expectations and wonder why you don’t look like any of them. Looks can truly be deceiving in the age of social media. But don’t ever compare yourself to them, you’re perfect in your own way. And you don’t need to change because our social media centered society deems you to be different than everyone else. You’re unique and you use your presence on social media to convey that.
However, you will also find yourself looking for validation through social media whether it be through the amount of people who follow you or the likes you’re getting. But it’s important to put down the phone and live in the moment. Eventually, when it’s too late, you’ll look back and wonder why you didn’t spend more time with the people in your life rather than spending it on social media.
By the time you’ve reached university, you’ve already rebranded yourself to start anew in Toronto. You’ll archive your photos with your high school friends who you began to grow apart from during the summer, but you’ll still remember all of the fun memories you’ve had together. When you get to Toronto for your first year of University at Ryerson, you’ll get to go to your first ever Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). You will also get the chance to be in the crowd for your very first red carpet premiere of a movie. You’ll also see celebrities that you’ve seen on tv or in the movies that you’ve been a fan of while growing up. It’ll also make you realize that all of these celebrities that you’ve admired all your life are real people too. Social media makes them seem different, but seeing them in person really brings up the fact that they’re honestly just like us. P.S. you’ll also be in a photo with K.J. Apa from Riverdale who you had a crush on when the show first started (so you can thank me later). P.S.S. 20 year old Sabrina definitely regrets this picture.
Social media will also make you feel FOMO (fear of missing out), but your wellbeing matters, so if you don’t want to go to said event or party; you don’t have to. What really matters is the people who still check up on you even when you say no to plans.
I know that I might’ve scared you even before you’ve been introduced to social media. But it’s important that you know that social media has changed your life for the better but has also brought out the true colours in people’s personalities. You’ll also learn that we kinda live in a surveillance state where we know exactly when someone is active on social media. Social media is also data analytics (I know that you don’t like math, but it’s so much more than that!), it can show you information about the things you might be interested in based on the data that companies have collected from the posts you’ve liked or the music you listen to. That is one of the most important downsides to social media and one of the upsides because it can be used to improve social media as well. But as you grow up, you’ll learn how to keep yourself safe on social media and honestly, you’ll do just fine. Your life has changed so much because of social media and it’s important to take a break from it if you need to. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of social media. It’s important to get outside and enjoy the world, rather than seeing it through a lens (glasses is an exception!).
Some of the upsides to social media is that it’s a great way to connect to family and friends all over the world, but to also meet new ones (but beware of stranger danger). It’ll allow you to showcase your creativity and opinions online. But always keep in mind that you should always be true yourself and don’t post anything you wouldn’t be proud of. Because one day, it could come back to haunt you. Don’t let social media change you into something you’re not. You’re bound to make mistakes sometimes, but just remind yourself that you’re a work in progress!
SO 10 year old Sabrina, I wanted to tell you WAY more about social media but I honestly think I’m going WAY over the word limit. I know you don’t always like to talk cause you’re shy, but when you do you’ll go off on a tangent like I just did…
Your super cool older self (20 year old Sabrina)