Time To Re-Think Social Media
To say that we live in a tech-obsessed society is a monumental understatement. 500 million tweets are sent per day, and 1.28 billion people use Facebook on a regular basis. Just a quick glance at Facebook and you will see people “checking in” to different places in the world, and it seems as though nothing is officially happening on Earth until it has been verified on some sort of social networking platform. This is all too familiar now, but how far can you for before it’s time to switch off?
Food on Instagram:
So you’re preparing your evening meal, and the presentation must be key. Despite settling down on your own it must be immaculate as you’re about to take a picture of it. This sounds very strange, and is, as no person in their right mind would take a picture of a Spaghetti Bolognese would they? Well yes they would, and many do each day. Instagram is full of delicacies and dishes to warm the appetite, but as Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, PH.D says, “when you start crafting your life to be more Twitter or Instagram friendly, it’s time to step back.”
Tweeting about everything (literally):
Whether it’s painting your nails or taking the bins out, you will tweet about it. We all have this friend on Facebook, the one who tells you about every single movement they make, but it is quite likely that you are also that friend. Pang says that “composing tweets about what you’re doing as you’re doing it or feeling the need to report your thoughts in real-time are all signs that social media is taking over your life.” He goes onto say that “there are only 24 hours in a day, and the more time we spend sharing with our friends what we’re doing hour-by-hour, the less time we have to discover for ourselves why we enjoy these activities and what our days are adding up to mean.”
You know strangers all too well:
It is unnerving that so many people know so much about each other, and this is due to the nature of today’s social media platforms. Facebook provides the most intimate information if you allow it to do so, and this leaves many vulnerable. Pang says that “the irony of social media is that while it can be great for keeping up with the details of our friend’s lives, too much engagement can obscure the big picture and weaken our ability to make sense of our own lives.” It takes away the joy of getting to know someone face-to-face as most of the time, when knowing that you will see someone you know little about, it is standard practice to check them out on Facebook first.
When you scroll down your Facebook feed, it seems as though everybody is successful in their own avenue of work, and it can make you feel like you’re not good enough. Witnessing your friend’s promotions, engagements and life-changing trips can stir up feelings of jealousy and inadequacy. Spending too much time on social media can do this on its own, and can have a particularly negative impact on your view of your own body, as pictures of chiseled human beings are shared. This creates anxiety, and can end up damaging friendships and relationships. Pang says that “when keeping up with your friends’ lives gets in the way of you happily leading your own life, you need a break.”
Feeling lost when you don’t have your phone:
Do you find yourself consistently checking your phone for social media updates? You probably do, most people do. You probably also find yourself checking Twitter before you go to sleep, and also upon waking up in the morning. If yes to any of the above, then it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate. Pang says “the more you’re on social media, the less material you actually have to talk about that’s interesting and worth having other people hear.”
This is where we are with social media now. Some people are allowing it to run their lives, and it is damaging relationships that once existed on a face-to-face level. That is being lost, and it is unfortunate, because social media has great potential, and great things are being done with it, such as charity, and awareness. This is being overshadowed by the monotonous dat-to-day activities online that people are taking up. If you do believe in New Years resolutions, then re-evaluate social media use. Don’t give it up, but utilise it in a way that will make your time on Earth as wonderful as possible.