Social Media – Is it the best Invention or do you need an Intervention?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn. These are just a few of the applications found on the web today that are consuming our lives. What did we ever do without Facebook or Twitter? These terms were unheard of 10years ago yet somehow I find it difficult to ever imagine what my life was like back then without them! How did we survive?!!!
In this virtual world that we live in, there are many positives and benefits of the internet and of such applications named above. In my own life, Facebook is a great way for me to communicate with people, stay in touch with friends overseas, allow loved ones and friends to keep up to date with my recent trips/epxeriences (Chernobyl, Abu Dhabi etc) and it also allows me to share these posts from my blog. It is a phenomenally quick and effective way to connect and collect information, all at the click of a few buttons.
I feel it has also helped us to empathise with others. If a friend or loved one is going through a difficult time, a ‘bump’ in the road and they share it on social media, one can gain a lot of support and empathy from one’s circle of friends. This can act as a great network of support and help a person overcome certain struggles in life.
In the business world, it is a powerful tool that can have huge impact. Advertising, promotions and general information can be relayed to the world in a couple of seconds at very little expense, if any expense at all! Non-profit organisations can also distribute information and upcoming events/news about certain topics.
In my opinion some of these applications can provide motivation through the use of positive quotes, uplifting video footage and sharing inspirational stories etc It can shape and mould one’s view of oneself and others in a beneficial way.
Now to paint the ‘darker’ picture of social media and it’s effects. I feel there are also so many negative consequences related and associated with the internet and these applications. Again this is only my experience and my opinion. I feel that the ‘art of conversation’ is slowly dwindling and at times our younger generation do not value and may not be adept in holding a conversation with someone. Is there an intimacy between people and are connections being formed nowadays? Can we form these intimate connections in the virtual world over Facebook or Snapchat?
It is at times baffling to me when someone states that I seemed to have a ‘great’ time in Abu Dhabi or that my life in the UAE looked amazing and it can even seem confusing to others as to why I felt I had to come home. However it really isn’t surprising at all. The reason being we usually NEVER post or share the photos of the bleaker times in our lives or take that selfie where we are screaming with frustration or crying our eyes out with sorrow and sadness. I have been tempted on a few occasions to do just this and at times I feel we all need to share these photos. These photos and occasions I feel are more important to share and would have a greater impact in the virtual world. Some people do and I commend their bravery. However I do feel that again some people may view them as attention seeking and looking for sympathy. Is this not exactly what we do when we post a selfie or a photo of us looking ‘beautiful’ and all dolled up? Are we not looking for attention? Do we want to receive as many likes as possible? Do we want people to comment under our photo telling us how beautiful/stunning/skinny we look to fill our ego? Sometimes you can never win! I feel so many of us (including myself) hide behind the ‘screen of social media’ to paint an alternative picture of our lives and how we are feeling. From today I am now making a promise to myself to not ‘hide’ behind this screen and to have the bravery and strength to share the ‘darker’ days if I feel like it!
There is no such thing as being ‘perfect’ yet I feel that we buy into the image and idea of this ‘perfect’ world through social media. We are constantly invading each other’s lives and looking at images from supermodels, fitness icons, famous people etc Our reality is affected and our views and beliefs can be altered by other’s views and beliefs. We don’t have to compete with others. What is so wrong with being YOU? Don’t live your life through anyone else’s.
“You are strong already, don’t wear anyone else’s armor” (Deirdre Ward)
You’re the only YOU there ever was!
Thankfully I have never experienced cyber bullying or any other negative downfalls that come part in parcel with the internet. It is heartbreaking that so many people suffer silently through social media. It is too easy and accessible at times for people to use and abuse others. We have all heard of people taking their own lives into their hands as a result of bullying through Facebook or other internet applications. It is an invasion of one’s privacy. I know that when we sign up we are allowing other’s into our ‘private lives’ somewhat but we do have a certain amount of control over our privacy settings and the people we allow into our cyber world. Be careful!
Lastly, I want to touch on the topic of these applications being distractions in our world when we feel bored, unmotivated and as a way to escape reality. They can be wonderful ‘coping’ mechanisms at times. This can both have positive and negative connotations. In a positive way it can act as a distraction when we are dealing with particularly difficult situations in our lives e.g. grief, breakups, unemployment etc This is effective for diverting our minds for short periods. However if one becomes consumed with applications and it leads to a constant distraction one can find that it may lead to non-productivity, decrease in motivation and many more distasteful attributes. In my opinion it is avoidance of the ‘real’ issues that may be deep within oneself. If we take the time to ‘switch off’ these applications, one might just delve deep within, face those fears and demons and resolve them. This I feel would be much more beneficial than spending hours on Facebook or Snapchat denying and suppressing our true feelings. Try It!
“Don’t allow Facebook or Snapchat take precedence over our Face to Face conversations or Chats with friends, family or strangers. If you do you may not have many ‘Bookings’ with friends and may be ‘Snapped’ at once or twice!” (Deirdre Ward)