The problem with Social Media is…
Before I begin my rant on the problem with Social Media, I will give a note of praise. I confess I use SM everyday. Group chats intertwine both my work life and personal life. I organise my team through it, share photos with my friends, and keep in touch with my family all through SM.
Despite the flaws I am about to discuss, I am not sure I would have handled moving overseas quite so easily if it wasn’t for Social Media. This path I have chosen can be incredibly lonely at times. Without SM maybe it would not have been quite so rose gold in hue.
SM connects the world; it makes travelling easy and life in another country simpler. Mum is always just a click of a button away. However, the more I explore the issues with SM the more I begin to loathe it.
My first problem with Social Media is the most obvious issue of self-esteem.
Sites like Instagram connect the world and create an environment similar to that in high school. We get to see the popular kids up close and personal with their flawless photos in ‘photoshopped’ locations, partnered with their thousands of followers and likes. Also known as Influencers. Ego is fuelled by SM, and anxieties scolded.
I was never in the cool club and I never will be. I have known my entire life what it is like to look at the cool kids from a distance. Believe me when I say I know what it’s like to sit in front of a mirror and count my flaws. Every piece reflected doesn’t match the cool club at school.
With SM this feeling is haunting us even when we left our school horrors behind. Now we not only see the people that surround us, but we also see the coolest of cools throughout the globe. Global cool club is accessible at our fingertips.
Luckily I have come to terms with my sub 1000 followers. I am amazed when more than 100 people like one of my photos. I just pray others can do the same to keep their self-esteem intact.
Following this is my next problem with Social Media… Stress.
With constant connectivity comes constant stress. Gone are the days of reaching home and just being with the people you love / choose to live with. Before SM children would have to “knock” for each other to go out and play; to receive a phone call you would have to be at home with your landline at the time someone wants to talk to you.
Now we are all accessible at all times. Your smart phone along with SM allows people to ping into your life no matter where they are in the world or the time. Our social lives have taken over our whole life when it should be the other way round. We should be planning our social lives, not letting our social rule us.
Through having this constant connection to everyone we are never truly able to switch off. Unless you go to a remote island with zero signal, you are on the grid. Stress levels are being raised without even realising. Just one more bing of a Facebook message could send you into a meltdown.
Next is rumours and hate.
Again, back to the horrible school period analogy. Rumours spread fast, they did back then and they do now. They spiral particularly when people are not directly involved and have next to no knowledge on the subject.
Let’s look at recent direct actions taken by governments due to circulation of false news. Sri Lanka was closed off from SM after the Easter bombings. Indonesia had limited SM usage throughout the political riots in Jakarta. Each respective government made the decision to close off SM due to the vast amount of false claims, allegations and hearsay which was leading to havoc in REAL LIFE.
This problem with SM affects us everyday with unjustified comments and opinions being shared in forums or pages. It seems as if people forget that whatever is said on SM does get read by REAL people, not some sort of fantasy world.
Rumours of untouched places clog photo feeds, when in reality masses of tourists and pollution litter the view. “Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? Stuck in a landslide, no escape from reality.” Queen nailed it. Nowhere is unique or special anymore; people are left disappointed rather than stunned. In real life there is no editing.
And why is it with rumours comes hatred? SM is meant to be a platform of sharing positivity, so why do some people spread distaste and hate? Peace and love guys.
Finally, and maybe the worst…
SM makes your life accessible to the world. No one has privacy anymore. People have connected so much through SM that they have disconnected in real life. We have distanced ourselves from actual social skills; simplicity replaced with abbreviations and codes. Half of the hatred in rumours would not be said in person to someones face; keyboard warriors have won the battle with SM.
Societies addiction to Social Media is a parasite. The shocking reality of how much time we spend with SM shows how much we have grown to rely on it. Social Media should be renamed to Social Issue.
Some people say the future is a world of robots. I say that is now – we are the robots controlled by Social Media.
I began this rant with a brief defence of Social Media. Check out this great argument FOR SM here. As much as I loathe it, I agree SM does enrich life to some degree.
Well said, Abi! X
Spot on and beautifully written 🙂
A very well written piece as always Abi. Summed it up brilliantly
I have seen and been guilty of trying to get the perfect insta photo in these beautiful places – tho in my case it’s to look back on the memories I’ve created rather than boast and flaunt. It indeed has a purpose but I do worry that I’m a bit addicted myself!! X
You are in the cool club Abs 😉
Well said Abi, I couldn’t agree more. The modern curse of our time I’m afraid
Lovely post, Abi. By the way, you’re in my cool
Club! I just loved how amazing you were on our surf trip with you – and we never even realized the big-ish age difference between all of us
Hi Abs. A dark night at Google HQ- Kings Cross seems to me to be the most apt of settings for a comment on the subject matter!
I started reading through in a systematic way, making notes to formulate my two penn’th. Got about half way and came to the conclusion that you must have written this looking over my shoulder so to speak: you’ve stolen all my best lines! Agree with all your sentiments, but would add that the “cool club and cool kids” existed long before Sir Tim Berners-Lee gifted WWW on the world, and then the Facebooks’, Instagram, et al, who are the bad guys, inflicting on us platforms containing contagious virus with no known antidote, they are relentless and have no enclosing fence. I am at the other end of life’s timescale to you, but I recognise all the bad things exactly as you do, and by the same reasoning. Ironically, the instantaneousness is also a plus, just as you say.
The “cool club and cool kids” are a figment of ones own mind and inner anxiety. They are analogous with “keeping up with the Jones’s” , you know, must have a new car to match them, must have new curtains etc. The Jones’s don’t actually exist in one person, they are bits and pieces of your perception all rolled into one monster. We are all afflicted to whatever degree.
I certainly recognise your comment re stress. Having got toward the finish end of my working life, I have finally had my “Eureka” moment. Life breeds fear of failure, which stimulates Anxiety, which tries to self medicate by triggering conscientiousness in a massive uncontrollable dose, which by products stress. The more you try, the bigger the monster becomes. Self fulfilling. Only known antidote, I think, is “Sod it”! But that’s a personal journey every one has to travel themselves.
Rumour and Hate. Yes, secretly frightened , worried, anxious people, hiding behind stupid “Nom de Plume” venting anger, fear, hidden failure, the lot. Haven’t got much of an answer to this one, just have a bit of pity and concern for the personal terrors and (perceived) failures which drive them.
It’s so good to talk! I have a gang of steel erectors working in the underground goods service yard below the shopping mall at King’s Cross Station, I had better check what chaos exists, my anxiety level is rising. Isn’t this where we came in!