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We live in a world full of architectural enigmas, mountains that reach heights far beyond the clouds, sunsets that cannot be given justice to by the best camera lenses and many other natural and manmade features. Our addictions to social media have opened our eyes to what this world truly has. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have morphed from basic everyday pictures to a world-wide travel catalogue. Every weekend you are more likely than not going to end up seeing one of your one-thousand Facebook friends posting a few pictures from their latest glamping (glamour camping) trip, hike, or new city/country they just visited.
Our obsessive use of social media platforms have contributed to helping cultivate a society that judges one another based on where they’ve been and what they’ve done. Although, being judged on what you’ve done has always been a reality. Now, it has taken on a different meaning in the sense that people are judging you based on what you’ve done physically — what mountains you have climbed, what countries have you been to, opposed to how much money you have made on Wall Street. This might not be entirely true, but there have been enough changes in peoples values for it to be noticeable.
How many likes did you get on that picture of you in Monte Carlo? Did Jen comment on that picture of you in the Amazon? Did anyone share the link of the montage video I made?
Our sense of worth in society has unmistakably begun to change. Some may say for the better, others for the worse. The changes in lifestyle that are taking place are remarkably close to the of the sixties. The 1960s were a time of peaceful, loud and unforgiving protest by those who wanted a new society, people who wanted to reshape the way we live.
Now, the same thing is happening all over again. Just in a much, much, more silent way. The conservative rules that most parents have instilled into their children’s minds have slowly begun to fade. People no longer want to spend eight hours hunched over in a cubicle five days a week in order to have a comforting feeling with job security. They don’t want to live in the same state, town and zip code their whole life.
People have broadened their horizons and have begun to see that traveling to learn about new cultures, to have new experiences and to meet new people is more essential to happiness than living on a set in stone schedule. According to Business Insider, since 2003, 24 percent of people have ditched the traditional 9-5 work schedule in order to have more free time. Millennials propensity to travel more often has been a cultural revolution all in itself. A study done by Booking.com for Business tells us that, 30 percent of the time millennials were more inclined to take lower paying jobs if that meant they had the opportunity to travel.
The job market has altered immensely because of the desire to travel. Jobs can now be done from anywhere you feel like. Whether that is from the comfort of your own home, or from a coffee shop in Papua New Guinea. An array of new jobs has been created. Millennials are taking full advantage of these occupations, which include teaching English overseas, au pair nanny (working as a nanny for extremely wealthy families), tour guides and careers in the cruise ship industry.
Travel is now almost being seen as a necessity for the current generation. For the millennial’s who haven’t been able to find jobs that allow them to travel, they seem to work hard in order to do so. According to flexjobs.com, 70 percent of millennials say that they work primarily so that they can travel. Basic necessities come second. These jobs may not be bringing in stacks of cash, but they allow for you to see parts of the world you never could have imagined. For millennials and Generation Y, it especially allows for one sexy Instagram account.
Everyone from the Silent Generation all the way to Generation Z has felt the urge to travel at some point. Traveling is the opposite of what humans are inclined to do. We are genetically programmed to survive. We’re not supposed to go places that are unfamiliar to us because the unknown promotes danger. But is the current generation of twenty-somethings the type of people who enjoy that feeling of danger?
Thanks to social media, we get the opportunity to see the rewards of throwing ourselves into danger. We get to see what it looks like to dangle your feet off a cliff under the Northern Lights in Norway. We get to see what it looks like when you are backpacking in South Island of New Zealand. These pictures entice us. It ignites adrenaline, making you want to do the same thing, or even something better. It’s almost as if social media has now become a competition to see who can post the coolest things. For those who have a competitive personality, it makes them want to travel.
I have fallen victim to this myself. This past year I started watching videos of surfing on daily basis. I began to seriously fall in love with it, even though I never actually surfed. Long story short, I ended up getting a job as a writer, which required very little time in the office, and I learned to surf. I spend every day from mid-May to late-August doing the latter. Without social media, I wouldn’t have had one of the best experiences of my life.
Pictures nowadays are more than just a form of art. They’re a justification of what we do on a day to day basis. For many millennials and a good portion of Generation Y, it defines them. Without pictures, some people are hesitant to believe that you actually did what you told them — which is an absolute shame — but it’s what our society has now come to.
Is it a good thing that social media is subtly causing a revolution in the way we live? Yes, because it’s changing us and allowing us to see the world with a much better lens. It is time for a change in the way we live because without change we become dull. We turn to rust. We become bored. So, this energizes our competitive edge. It heightens our adrenaline in order to find ways to travel the world and be more “cultured” than the next millennial. The way we justify our travels? Pictures.
So sure, without pictures some may say it didn’t happen. But at least you know it happened, and that’s all that counts.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mitchell Milbauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.