Okay guys, I am fully prepared for some lash back here and I am open to it! I would love to get conversations started on the topic of the perks and pitfalls of social media. I only encourage an open mind, and I think you’ll understand where I am coming from here.
I heart Instagram… hard! It is my preferred social media go to. I need to preface with that so you all don’t think I’m a maniac with a mission to ruin all that is good and lovely and grand about social media.
I also have feels for Facebook and I know it has made a lot of incredible things possible. For example, 20 years ago, how was I supposed to share a video of cats riding roombas with every person I have met in the past 5 years? Would not, could not, happen.
I say that a bit sarcastically but I mean it. My Facebook style, as I think we all have one, is simply sharing either heart-warming and uplifting videos, or hilarious pee your pants a little videos. Facebook is an awesome platform for sharing good vibes, raising awareness, and even gathering funds for really awesome causes!
On the flip side however, it can also be a platform for spreading negativity, cyber bullying, and a scary amount of social comparison… and just a dash of cyber stalking.
Let’s talk a little more about the comparison. I very recently removed Facebook from my Ipad and phone… Yes I know I will get it back and I intend to… But in that moment I had noticed “the shift”. When I opened the Facebook app to see what my friends were up to, who was sharing what videos, maybe what ridiculousness Trump was up to, I was in a good place.
Perhaps 20 minutes in, I didn’t feel good anymore. My mood had dropped and I could’t pinpoint entirely why, but I more than likely was doing some internal social comparison and bullying myself for not having a “better life”. Of course, when it all comes down to it, I am so thrilled to see people I love and care about leading these incredible lives and having these epic adventures, but suddenly, my life seemed drab and dull. Prior to opening the app, I felt very peaceful and content in my circumstances. I knew I had to do a detox. So gone it was.
Now, Instagram can certainly lead to the same situations. For whatever reason, I don’t tend to fall down the social comparison hole quite as rapidly when I am scrolling through the IG feed. More often, I just enjoy the pretty pictures, the inspiring quotes, the goofy memes. I enjoy it.
Here is where Instagram can become a problem in my daily life. It’s an addiction without a purpose at times. It will get to the point where I will pick up my phone to text someone specifically about something I need to know, but hey real quick before the text I’ll just see if my photo received any likes OR I’ll just see if anyone posted anything inspiring real fast. 10 minutes later… How did I get here? What was I doing?
Instagram can become an Instadistraction from the task at hand and cause you to lose all focus. There is a time and place for IG scrolling and posting, and I need to stick to that.
Finally, and scariest…ly, both Facebook and Instagram can lead to us judging ourselves harshly and basing our self-worth based on the numbers of “likes” we get, and how many “friends” or “followers” we have. This is not okay. This is absolutely powerful, and not in a good way.
If you have not yet watched Black Mirror on Netflix… stop reading this and go do that now. The first episode of season 3, is solely based in a world where your abilities as a human (where you can live, who you can talk to, where you can work) are based on a star rating which everyone can see virtually without anyone’s permissions. People walk around all day, sharing superficial smiles and laughs, while throwing positive ratings at one another because it’s the “proper” thing to do. It’s extreme totally, but it’s a brilliant show and absolutely eye opening.
Social Media has made wonderful things possible, without doubt. The critical opportunity here, is that we maintain awareness and balance. We as the users must remember, we are not defined by our “status” or our “likes”. Life is here in front of you, in this moment you are sharing with a friend or a stranger. We must remember that the moment is here, and now, and we can miss incredible things if we are living in our phones. It’s a balance, fam. Per usual.
Take this information, let it sit, and raise your awareness.
Now go do good!