Published on November 21st, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
Don’t Break the Bank for Social Media Likes
In 1969, American funk/soul band Sly and the Family Stone sang “Everybody is a Star”, and the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. 50 years later those words could not ring any truer. Social media has made everyone and their mother a star. Some stars have millions of followers while others only have dozens. But no matter how many followers you have, every social media account is a platform to show the world that you are a star to someone!
On social media, the stars shine bright and money seems to be no object. The social media spotlight shows people wearing designer clothes, eating at fancy restaurants, buying homes and cars, out on the town every weekend, and traveling to all four corners of the globe. We all have people on our newsfeed that are at every concert that comes to town, on vacation every month, posting at every sporting event, and eating at every restaurant. But the million-dollar question is who is footing the bill for this lavish lifestyle? Where does the money come from to live your best life week in and week out? Why isn’t your life like this? Is everyone on social media wealthy except for you? Well, the truth is, unless you exclusively follow athletes and entertainers then the answer is probably no everyone is not rich except you.
Honestly, that person flexing for the ‘gram probably works 40 hours per week and is in debt up to their eyeballs. People have pretended to be “all that” for as far back as history can remember. The only difference nowadays is social media gives people a bigger audience for their show. And believe me, it is a show. I have seen Oscar-worthy performances on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. I have literally watched people buy booths and bottles in the club and when the cell phone video is rolling they appear to be having the best time on the planet. However, as soon as the camera goes off they return to sitting in the booth looking around at other people dance or scrolling on their cell phones. It’s all an act for their social media audience. And far too many people are going into debt to keep the show going. Social media creates a domino effect that is economically breaking the backs of young and old alike. People are spending money they don’t have, on things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t know, and get likes they can’t spend. The black hole that is “social media flexing” is a place you do not want to get drawn into. Getting likes on social media is not worth going into debt.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the finer things in life just as much as the next person. I mean who doesn’t enjoy popping the tags on a brand-new pair of Jordan’s or Timberlands? Oh, what a feeling! But you know what feels even better? Not breaking the bank to get that feeling. When I post a picture in a new suit you better believe that suit was bought “buy one get one free”. (I love the clearance sections of the department stores.) When I post a picture of my food at a restaurant, more often than not I’m using a coupon or a military discount to pay for it. And the trips I take are either deeply discounted by the airlines for last-minute travelers or I’m going to a place where travel is slow in the offseason and so the rate is low (Germany in the dead of winter sounds nice right?) If the cost of something is outside my budget then I simply don’t need it. Especially, if it’s only to impress people on social media.
My point is that luxuries are cool. Traveling the world is cool. Having a nice car is cool. But going into debt to get these things is not cool at all. Especially, if you are going into debt for social media likes or to keep up with the people on your newsfeed. It’s no accident that the name of one of the most popular reality shows is called “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. But your goal should not be to keep up with the Kardashians, the Carters, the Kendricks, the Colemans, or anyone else. The goal is to run your race and to remain financially secure. Because when you lay down at night you can sleep peacefully knowing you don’t have the bills that come with trying to keep up with the Kardashians. And that financial peace of mind is what truly makes you a star!
Tony Elion Jr. is a Financial Investor and Author of “Sailor to Student.”