Social Media is for Idiots?

Simple answer: Don’t be an idiot. Here’s how

If you ask most informed people, the general consensus is that the major down-fall of social media lies in its ability to turn us all into hermits. A lot of us (including just about every parent in the world) would vote the likes of Facebook as the perfect platform for idiots, but this is where I disagree.

People who dislike social media because ‘the younger generation can’t speak to people any more’ etc., needn’t worry. Though there might be some truth in that argument (I admit), life’s experiences will turn those with even the worst of social anxiety into more confident people just by obliging them to live. For this reason, I’m bored with everyone pointing out the same thing — that social media is, indeed, for idiots, so instead I ask: Is social media just ‘for idiots’ because we all have idiotic tendencies?

To give my question some clarity; what I actually mean is, are we branding social media as ‘bad’ because we are blinded by the negative posts on it? I think the problem is that we are all (essentially) idiots because we have the wrong attitude.

For example, social media is flooded with negativity. You don’t need people on Facebook publicly declaring how ‘depressed’ they are because x, y and z happened to them that day. Yes, we understand those things happened to that person, and maybe we even feel a bit sympathetic — but don’t feel sympathetic for long. Don’t be like these people; don’t focus on the negative things that happen to you, and don’t let others encourage you to think in this doom and gloom, black-cloud-hanging-over-me way. Instead, be friends with someone who can take a picture of the same puddle every day and still find something new that’s beautiful about it. That’s what social media is really for — beautiful connections.

Since any person’s existence on social media will never be entirely free of negativity though, you need to turn it into a useful tool before it becomes an endless dark abyss (and thus, turns your attitude ugly). It’s not as simple as clicking your fingers, but start by abolishing negative people from your news feed.

‘Culling’ the attention seekers (‘you’re not getting to me this time’ *yawn*) and keyboard warriors (or trolls) will likely be your automatic response here — but don’t forget about braggers. Braggers are people who can shove negativity right in your face, even if jealously is not your trademark; i.e. seeing all-about-me Dee Dee gush over social media about the new Mini her parents bought for her 17th, made me think about my own car. Even though I was proud I’d worked hard to buy my little 25, I suddenly noticed the voices chanting they had form for head gasket failure and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then, the constant coolant leak started to bother me.

I realised that looking at people’s braggy posts had started to put a downer on my own achievements and I stared to question my self-worth. Then I realised I was being an idiot to let them destroy my love for my quirky, knocky K-series. A friends-cull later, and problem solved.

Another really important thing to watch for on social media is what I call ‘mass reaction’. The responses of individuals (and the media) to terror attacks or other mindless criminal acts can be overwhelming, and often it can make the world feel a lot less safe than it did the day before. We need to remember though, that these things happen all over the world every day and that we’re only shown the events people want us to see. Don’t get too hung up over one thing (no matter how awful it is) because at the end of the day, you’re still here. That’s not to say you can’t think about these things — because you should. Still be respectful, but also be realistic. Don’t let reactions on social media warp your sense of reality.

Lastly, and least importantly, even when your news feed is a better place after culling the negative people, it still won’t be free of time-wasting clutter. Whilst it’s perfectly okay once in a while to take a Buzzfeed quiz to rate your hipster percentage or find out which Rogue One character you are, you should probably try not to waste time on these things when you visit Facebook. You can hide these adds by clicking on the arrow on the right of the offending post. Selecting ‘it’s not relevant to me’ in the box that follows, will eventually match your feed to your newly focused and positive attitude.