We cannot deny the usefulness of social media in today’s society. Of course, as a blogger, social media is necessary for the continuation and growth of my website, however I have realised that it is not the be all and end all that it so claims to be. There are many social media problems that affect more than one aspect of our lives.
As a blogger I require my Facebook page, my Instagram yada yada yada but as a person, I do not think that it is so great for development and let me learn you why!
Depending on how you use it, Facebook is a centre for adding and connecting with new and old friends, to post pictures of selfies or memories and to play games! Its a wondrous city of social connection and my generation was the first to grow up through Facebook being a constant background. Having grown up knowing that Facebook was always there it was hard to stay out of it. I joined Facebook at the age of about 14 (this was young back then, and now you see Facebook profiles for babies and they usually always seem very literate!) and began adding friends from high school. We used to use a website called Bebo, but that crashed and burned thanks to the Facebook reign. Facebook was the new norm and everybody was using it.
Going through High School, I would hear my friends exclaim proudly that they were going to deactivate their Facebook accounts because they were so distracted by it during exam time. I never understood how my friends would become so obsessed by the website as I always found it very easy to logout and find something else to occupy my mind with and it wasn’t until about a month ago that I realised that it did something much worse than that. Obviously at that point, the main social media problem for my age range was the fact that it was a distraction tool from studying etc.
Aside from the obvious social media problems that are always raised about how it portrays society’s definition of beauty and targets self esteem, and that it can inflict cyber bullying, I noticed something that social media can do that is rarely mentioned.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are actually ways for humans to benchmark their own life against other’s. Friends that we have had on Facebook since the beginning of High School are still somehow present on our friend list 7 years after you graduated. We may not even talk to those friends anymore but fear the awkward moment when deleted from Facebook. But a lot can happen in 7 years- getting married, having kids, travelling the world, promotions etc etc etc and people document these milestones on social media.
Comparing your life progress with somebody else is effectively null and void as no two situations are exactly the same and what might work for one person might not work for the other.
You might be scrolling through your feed when you see an old school friend posting pictures of her new baby bump exclaiming her happiness and excitement about child number 2 arriving in September and you might get a slight twange of sickness to your stomach. Not because you hate children, (well, maybe you do… I won’t judge) but because you are not in the same place as that person and you may even become jealous.
Through personal experience, when I took a break from social media last year for a month, I noticed how much I was progressing in my own goals even though I was taking my time and practising patience. Without the constant reminder that people my own age were ahead of me in achievements, there was a lot less pressure on me to achieve those goals. Having that reminder of how other’s are doing in their lives can somewhat be detrimental to our professional development because we as humans are competitive. We may end up rushing into something that we didn’t want to just so that we can show off our achievement before somebody else on social media. Just because Sandra from Primary 5 is now happily engaged, I don’t have to want the same thing and rush to that milestone but the instinctive jealousy of humans tells us that we do.
While it can be a great thing to have a reminder of where some people are in life now to keep us motivated, I think that if you are struggling to achieve things, the best thing you can do is take some time off of Instagram and Facebook. You should really try to focus on what you want to achieve and not judge your desires based solely on what other people have or have done. Do not let somebody else’s actions or situation affect you negatively… learn from them!
My words of wisdom.