The Drawbacks of Social Media

Hey, I know its been a while, I’ve been so busy with end of the semester stuff, but I’m happy to be back on here doing what I love! I hope you enjoy what I have put together in this post!

So Social Media… Is it all it’s cracked up to be? What’s its purpose? Is it used to show people up?

The whole purpose that social media serves is for us to keep in contact with the people we have had the pleasure of knowing throughout the years. but because life happens, we don’t have the privilege of seeing them as much as we’d like. That’s why creators of many social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and the like have created these platforms because they had a concept that we resonated with: we want to stay in contact with friends from childhood, family, and colleagues. But in the process of doing all of that, have we become so connected to the social media world, that we forget about the real world face to face contact we should be having with someone?

I watched this video on Facebook about the effects that social media has on our society, a while back(ironic, right?). In the 3-5 minutes of this video- that’s how long it was- it outlined the main problem with social media: as we become more connected to what’s happening, we’re passing up face to face contact with people and plugging into a world where we think we’re connecting with people, via (*insert Social Media site here*) but in reality it could be drawing us apart.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I live under a rock and refuse to use social media. I use social media and personally, for an outgoing person like myself, I find absolute joy in posting pictures and sharing little snippets of my life.

But there comes a point where there should be some level of privacy. Like for example, I used to post just about anything and everything I was doing on Facebook, who’s birthday it was on Instagram (before they had that ‘stories’ feature), and any random thing on Twitter. I began to plug myself in and realize that these likes were ones that would determine my worth and I thought that the more I’d share, the more recognized I would be. In all seriousness though, now I look back at this and just think “boy, was I naive or what?”. There are certain things that should definitely be kept on the DL(down-low). Like if you are out with bae on a date, don’t snapchat your whole date with the world, because where is the fun in date night if you’re too focused on your post?

Part of the reason why I stopped posting a whole lot on social media was because I realized that in the end it doesn’t matter who liked my post and I really shouldn’t seek validation from a group of people who really only like a status update or a picture for the sole purpose of approval. I stopped caring a long time ago about it. Now, I’ll login to Facebook, post something new, some pictures from an adventure, or share something that really speaks to me, etc. but that’s it. I don’t worry too much because frankly it takes up too much head space. I don’t go on social media as much, and that is well within my rights.  On some days, I’ll post highlights and on other days, when I am doing something exciting, I’ll document the whole day. But it’s all in moderation.

Back on the subject of seeking validation, I learned that back when I took a Mass Communications course, my professor told me that there is a theory called Social Comparison Theory. Social Comparison Theory is a psychological theory that happens as we are looking at magazines, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat,(basically engaging in any form with the media) and we base our own self-worth on how we stack up against others. We look at these posts and think, wow that’s really cool how her bathing suit fits her or wow that vacation house looks like a dream. Sometimes, when we take it too far, it becomes a problem. That’s part of how eating disorders, mental illnesses, and other stresses happen. The media can be a dark place.

You have to keep in mind that while all these photos look glamorous and professional, they’re only showing you one perspective of their world. Sometimes, Social media sites can be a little biased, in that the people who share bits and pieces of their lives,  they only will post the photo that holds up this outer layer of ‘how ‘glamorous’ their lives are. You don’t know what could be going on in their lives. So don’t always assume that someone has a life that you dream of living, because there could be some underlying issues that they refuse to talk about with the rest of the world. In short, people will most likely post about whatever successes they have had in their lives. So just because you see someone having a greater success than you, doesn’t mean that you haven’t had any successes of your own. Never compare yourself to people. You’re doing all you can to achieve your goal and they’re doing all they can to achieve their own.

I like to think we all live some pretty cool lives. Each person you have that follows you has an opportunity to see a little bit of your world. Don’t down play that. Always keep in mind that, there is more to life than being on social media the whole time. When you choose to disconnect from it, life can be just as, if not more, fun.

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