I believe social media to be a blessing, something we should cherish, as it advances so many aspects of our lives.
Social media has allowed our generation to share things, such as talents and creations, and then the opportunity to gain recognition, a following and generate income through this. People have found estranged parents through social media, found love and built multi-million dollar companies. Whether it's for funny tweets or sharing an upcoming venture, social media has allowed many people to become their own boss - of their future, their career and their lives (or more how their lives are perceived).
"Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks."
Personally, use social media for inspiration, informing myself, and to take a break. I love social media and use it daily!
Most of the inspiration for my website and future brand MAKOL is from the internet & I need "precedents" to use within my course that inspire the buildings I create (I'm an Architecture undergraduate). However, I also use it to show the world where I went, what I bought, who I’m with and what I look like. I love to laugh at trends/posts on Twitter and I get excited when I stumble across something that sparks personal inspiration. I come across most of today's news through social media too (especially things that the media don't want us to see).
When about 90% of young people use social media, my only issue with it lies in the fact that we are becoming consumed by it. We're being consumed by the idea of looking like we have it all way before we've even started to work towards it. We're being consumed by opinions and likes, rather than just doing things because we want to. We're being consumed by an unrealistic vision of urgency.
Instagram has been recently named as the most detrimental social media platform for you mental health.
See these articles for the data:
We all want retweets, shares and likes, and if we don't receive them quick enough we question what went wrong. We all do it, I just think it's good to step away from it all sometimes and realise too much of one thing is always bad, no matter how fun it can be. We need to stop idolising the wrong things.
Previously, I've mentioned how detrimental comparison can be and I believe social media is training us to compare and compete with each other.
Here's a quick reminder of what I said in my 'Striving For Success' post:
We are part of a generation of over-sharers and watching other people share their "happiness and success"*, while you wallow in self-pity about your current situation, is unhealthy. Very unhealthy. And the thing is, we're doing it subconsciously.
Look on to others for inspiration and not as a benchmark for where you should be.
*Everything that glitters is not gold…
I don't even think that comparison is the worst thing. I think it's the illusion that we know people and their lives based on the things they choose to show us. As a consequence we feel like we know enough about a person to the extent where we can comment on their lives. Wrong!
Social media also feeds this “image” generation where we enjoy looking like we have it all before we’ve even worked for it and feel added pressure to do the things we see other people doing. People aren’t posting their worst days, their downfalls, their flaws or their major issues so we shouldn’t try to compete with anyone, especially when we don’t even know what they’ve done/do to try to maintain that image. You can’t do better than Bolt in a race when you’ve missed all the years of training sessions.
I’ve always been raised to steer clear of trying to keep up with others and to focus on my own ship, because before you realise, yours will be sinking!
(Notice how much I use we in this post. It’s because I recognised some of the things I’m talking about in myself and made a change.)
We take in so much information daily due to social media, way more than any generation ever has, and we rarely take a moment to analyse the impact this has on us. The strongest personal example I can present is the fact that we are becoming desensitised to the brutalisation of the black body, due to the frequency of our exposure to videos and images where black people are murdered (be it police brutality or not).
Recent tragedies occurring in London, and across the world, have also made me reflect on how we are almost losing our humility by documenting everything rather than taking action, such a helping others. Even disrespecting the dead… This is where the line has to be drawn.
I don't think social media is particularly helpful for those with low self-esteem either and people with low self-esteem should figure out whether they are posting for the gratification they will receive from others?
It is important to do things for yourself.
It might not seem that serious but for the younger generation especially I think it's more important for them to look at how they post in such way. I believe when you place your self-worth on how others perceive you, you will find yourself shape-shifting to meet the beauty standards of the time you exist in just so you can receive that gratification. Beauty standards are a trend thus ever changing. If you continue shape-shifting yourself for trends you will end up losing who you truly are in the midst of it. Social media, especially Instagram, exemplifies this.
Our attention is so divided that I believe taking time to refocus is key to our wellbeing. We are becoming increasingly distracted and I think it's not good for us.
So, a quick summary of what I really want you to take away from this post is: