Social media has become something to rebel against. It has become a culture of people staring at screens instead of speaking to one another, something that people feel the need to detox from. The reality of screen addiction has come to light in recent years as more people opt for screens and profiles over intimate interaction. Social media has provoked irony in its name, people claiming how ‘it is not social – it stops us from being social’. The way people use social media can be negative, they use it in a way that forces them to stay indoors, to compare themselves to others or prevent them from seeing the reason for social interaction.
Regardless of how you use these platforms, they are addictive. People will be standing in line and instead of waiting and watching the world around them their thumbs will be moving up and down along the screen. The thing with scrolling culture is that there is little interaction, people aren’t liking or commenting as much as they did a few years ago. They are simply using them as a distraction, scrolling through people’s pictures, tweets or newsfeeds until there’s something that makes you pause and look closer at what you are looking at.
Social media has such a negative reputation that people are feeling the need to detox from the platforms, to rid themselves of social network influences.
The word ‘detox’ in itself solidifies the addiction that comes with these platforms, and yet there is not a ‘Be Social Media Aware’ slogan on a Facebook ad. We know the detrimental qualities of alcohol or gambling, so these ‘awareness’ labels are suited for equivalent advertisements.
Social media addiction is not as drastic as life-threatening addictions; however, it can be as isolating. But, while most people are continuing their detoxes and fighting for less screen time, there are still ways where social media can help us rather than deter us. Although social media seems to have become a place of negativity, if we use it in a positive way, we will find ourselves less reliant on it and more accepting of the changing landscape of the online world. Using social media in the correct way does not have wide negative effects.
SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES YOU UNSOCIAL
The intention of most social media is to connect the world. Whether you’re on Instagram or Twitter, the people you are interacting with are people from all around the world. You can connect with people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Some people meet their best friends or significant others through social media and would not have found one another without it.
These networks are not in place to restrict your life, they are supposed to expand it, to make you notice that the world is full of interesting and fascinating people that you are able to connect with. It has only been the past two generations who have this ability and they have shown how small the world is.
The downfalls are that some people prefer to socialise behind a screen than in person, which is inevitable with the ease of deleting words and rephrasing what you want to say without stumbling over yourself. People don’t consider that these networks also provide socialisation for those that find it harder to socialise.
Overusing the social-side of these networks does have negatives, people may find more support in online friends or find themselves being cyber-bullied by people they’ve never met. These are the aspects where online socialisation has its downfall, the times when people do need detoxes to reconnect with their reality, instead of the screen. Keep the connections you have made, offline first and then online.
Social media allows people to become more social, to interact with more people than they ever would have. Yes, it is not the traditional way of socialising, but this does not eradicate physical social interaction.
People do have an extreme conception that people are glued to their screens when this is not always the case. To survive in the world, you have to interact with family, friends, colleagues, there will always be a need for human interaction, which social media doesn’t remove.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS UNPRODUCTIVE
Another misconception is that any use of social media is unproductive, you may find this yourself, when you’re in a loop of scrolling the time will pass too quickly, you’ll have missed your train and filling your wait for the next one with more mindless scrolling. But not all social media is unproductive.
In a generation where people are creating their own jobs, social media is at the core of online careers and without it, the person, product or business would not be known. To become successful in your field you have to use social media, it is a free way to market yourself and your venture. The worldwide reach also provides something new in marketing, you don’t have to spend a fortune to market yourself to the world — you don’t have to spend anything to get your message out there.
But you do have to be consistent. Which is why social media is productive and often business consuming. You must manage your social media and continue to be consistent in posting across all platforms, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have different audiences, to gain the most audience you must be visible across all platforms.
Knowing how to use social media in a productive way does stop people from using the platforms for mindless scrolling, and more for ways to elevate their lives.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS EXPLOITATIVE
Ads. People do not like Ads, so the solution of social media is to cater ads to people so that they won’t mind seeing the ads when they pop up. But no. People see the negative side to this because they don’t want their information monitored or shared. They want to be an anonymous blip on the internet, despite having multiple public profiles. The Ad revolution of social media is that we are aware of more products that we would like to see instead of seeing things that do not relate to us.
There will always be the negative side of encouraging consumerism, but these Ads cater to you. If you like buying certain kinds of products, that’s what you will get, it is always up to the person if they want to buy the product, consumerism is self-control.
It is not the job of social media to monitor buying habits.
Another benefit of ads is that it expands businesses and profiles. People can make their products and services known across social media. Social media is so beneficial to small businesses because they are able to afford these ads. Their ads which will gain some support from the viewers because they are catered to the person on the other side of the screen. The ads are something they want to see, not something they’ll ignore, meaning that businesses are able to grow their platform at an encouraging rate instead of waiting for people to find them.
SOCIAL MEDIA LOWERS SELF-ESTEEM
Yes, it can, and it does. The more we watch lives that we envy, the lower our self-esteem drops. But there is a way around this, unfollow the person, stop stalking and focus on making your own life better. Too many people do not realise that they don’t have to watch social media, they don’t have to see anything they don’t want to.
This is a key way to enjoy social media, make sure you’re seeing what you want to see, instead of what is going to hurt.
Noticing the lives you see behind screens are inspiration instead of insulting is another good practice with social media. If you want 1000 followers, research what other people are doing to get there. If you want to be a travel blogger, see what the big ones are doing but don’t waste your wishes on wishing you were them. Everyone is on their own path; social media makes the surface of the path known but not the path itself. Fill your social media feeds with positive energy that will encourage you, not debilitate you.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL
Social media is up to you. You are in control of what you see and how you use it. Every platform is useful in its own way and thwarting it from your life is not always productive. Use it to your own advantage, and don’t let it control you and you may discover more of the many benefits to the platforms available. If social media only has negative effects on you, don’t force yourself back into that bubble, find other ways to connect with the world, or reinvent your pages and limit your screen time.
Remember, social media is not the enemy, they have excelled our lives and continue to provide free services for us to take advantage of. You are in control of social media, take it by the digital horns and make something good.