THE PROBLEM WITH SOCIAL MEDIA


About 15 years ago, we were introduced to social media. Simply put, social media is a series of online platforms used to connect you with a community of users, to share information in a public forum. It started with Friendster, then Myspace and lo and behold, the avantgarde of the social media wave - Facebook. Since then, the momentum of social networking has become a force to be reckoned with. At this moment, there are 91.6 billion social media users out there. Evidently, the relevancy that it displays in our world is unquestionable. I mean, the President of the United States has the time to actually engage in numerous Twitter rants throughout the day, on top of running the country - social media is kind of a big deal.

Since its debut, the rise of social media has come to be favorable for many reasons - it gives us all a voice, it spreads awareness about social issues, current events are presented at the speed of light and it's a genius marketing tool for businesses and entrepreneurs.


However...


Over time, social media has come to be more unhealthy than helpful to our quality of life. I know that mindlessly scrolling through your timeline periodically seems quite harmless, but it can slowly chip away at our behaviorism and mental health. I, personally engage in social media casually, as I enjoy connecting with my friends and family. But as of late, it's gotten to be a little too heavy for me (I'll tell you why.)


The original purpose of social media was for social engagement in an online space. As the popularity began to increase, it then turned into a realm of controlled perception. Pictures are filtered, tweets are carbon copied and snaps are fabricated. Nowadays, what you see on social media is merely a snapshot of what others want you to know and believe about them - not necessarily who they are.


As we have gone deeper and deeper into this black mirror of social content, true authenticity is starting to diminish. With that said, this false sense of reality that social media has brought to surface is leading to many problematic factors. Here are a few:



  • IT'S LINKED TO DEPRESSION
Social media is multifaceted. It provides you with so many ways and means to put yourself out there to the world with the click of a button. Circa 2007, we were introduced to the news feed and timeline feature - which generates real-time updates of you and your friends' activity. This feature gives you a run-down of what your friends are doing, where they are and who they're with. In my opinion, this is where the problem started.

You would think that simply scrolling past a photo or status update would make you feel quite indifferent, but some of the content that's shared on your personal timeline can be quite mood altering. I've certainly found myself in that predicament before. I can recall a recent, typical Monday I had at my job. I was sitting at my desk, aimlessly skimming over my Instagram timeline (in quite an apathetic mood). As I scrolled and scrolled, I came across one of my IG buddies on an exotic vacation. The photo consisted of tropical weather, deep blue skies and fruity cocktails with umbrella garnishes. Dang, she is out here living her best life, I thought to myself.

Meanwhile, I was cooped up in my cold, quiet office sipping on an unsavory cup-a-joe.

From a brief glance at one picture, my mood shifted, just like that. I suddenly felt gloomy and discontent about my current state in life. This feeling of isolation is a result of social comparison. We often compare ourselves to others on social media, who appear to be at an ideal point in life, that we aspire to. These aspirations may be having children, being in a picture-perfect relationship, traveling the world or bossing up in your career. In turn, this causes us to make harsh judgments about ourselves, by how we measure up to others - which is very detrimental to our self-worth.




Additional factors including boastful status updates, follower counts, online debates, trolling and cyber-bullying are linked to depressive symptoms as well. Studies suggest that individuals who use social media more frequently have 2.7 times the likelihood of depression than others. We must be more careful.

  • IT'S TOO CONSUMING OF OUR TIME
A wise person once said, "You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce"
The tone of this quote is more facetious than serious, but it does ring true. The message being relayed is to maximize the 24 hours you are given each day (as does Queen Bey). I'm sure that the majority of us out there have jobs, families, and responsibilities to take care of throughout the day - how much of that time is devoted to social media engagement?



It's said that the average person spends at least two hours a day on social media platforms, which averages out to five years over the course of your lifetime.

On top of consuming your time, social networking also interferes with quality time and living in the moment. Every so often, when I'm attending a party or get together of some sort, I always notice those abrupt pockets of silence when everyone's lost in their phones - as if what's happening in cyberspace holds more importance than what's happening around them. So many of us miss out on good laughs, genuine conversations, and memorable encounters because we're so caught up in the hype of virtual distractions.

Make sure you're happy in real life, not just for social media.

Uploading selfies, checking into locations and posting 'flower-crowned' snaps seems to be high-priority these days. But I guess you have to prove to your friends and followers that you're having the time of your life. (right?)


  • IT BREEDS PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR


Passive Aggression is a defense mechanism that certain individuals use who aren't comfortable with direct confrontation. They appear passive on the surface yet they find ways to express their anger and aggression in subtle, indirect ways. In other words, passive-aggression is sugar-coated hostility.

It's pretty easy to pinpoint these types of people:

  1. They plaster on fake smiles and act "unbothered", when they really are.
  2. They throw sharp, sarcastic jabs at you but sprinkle it with "I'm just joking" to smooth it over.
  3. They give you the silent treatment when they are upset with you, instead of just saying how they feel.

Although the methods listed above are common, one of the most popular methods that passive-aggressive people use is (you guessed it!) social media.

Social media warrants us all with the opportunity to practice our first amendment rights. We have the liberty to say what we think and feel with no reprimand. The online world has created a sense of safety for many of us to speak our truths and express ourselves in numerous ways. Unfortunately, many of us are abusing social media to spew out our negative feelings and disdain towards others. I, for one, think that self-expression is very healthy and powerful, but knowing the appropriate forum to express ourselves makes all the difference.

Online expression becomes unhealthy when we use it as an alternative for direct, interpersonal communication. So many friendships and relationships have been broken due to Twitter fingers and Facebook rants.

I often come across many posts on my timeline that reek of passive-aggressive undertones. By simply observing the context clues, it's pretty obvious when friends are indirectly targeting one another on social sites. This kind of behavior is counterproductive and only makes matters worse. It brings on assumptions, embarrassment and prying bystanders who are entertained by the drama.

Emotions are energy,and they need to find a way to pass freely through us, otherwise, we will store them up inside where they will find other, insidious ways of manifesting.

Throwing out obscure, anger-infused captions from behind a keyboard or mobile device requires way more energy than it does to have face-to-face, grown-up conversations (but yall don't hear me out here). At the end of the day, social media is not to be used for emotional regurgitation, because of one's inability to properly process negative emotions. Learn how to communicate, friends.

TIP: At the top of most profile pages there is a button that's listed as "unfollow" or "unfriend"; use this button, it will change your life ;)

I said all of this to say, social media is to be used with caution. Of course, it's fun and keeps you connected, but don't allow it to consume your life or harm your well-being. Learn to control social media and not let it control you - take breaks, limit your time and never allow it to define who you are.

Thanks for reading 

✌❤













































7 comments

  1. Replies
    1. Hey Eb! Thanks so much and thanks for reading :)

      Delete
  2. Girl, I agree with all of this. It used to be that "keeping up with the joneses" only referred to your neighbors. With social media, it's like the whole internet is your neighbor! Nobody can keep up with all this fabricated perfection, and it's one of the reasons I decided to step back from it. Except from Twitter - i freakin' love twitter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey friend!! Thanks for reading, yeah...it's getting to be too much, I remember life before social media and we were just fine lol!

      Delete
  3. Great read! There are times I log in on and see one negative post and log off.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is Micah and your right humans spend about 116 min out of their 1440 min in a day so they only have about 1,324 minutes left in their day.Thank you so much for this information! I will tell mom about this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sweet Jellie, thanks for reading my blog!

      Delete