By Randall Taylor
Social media has been both a blessing and a curse for the last decade. The benefits include being able to interact and communicate with people around the world, and instantly access and receive news and information about world issues, and various other topics. It also allows us to share our thoughts and ideas widely and freely. It can even be helpful for businesses as it provides another forum to share your product and market yourself.
Despite all the positives of social media, there are also serious negative effects. We share our personal information such as our birth dates, occupations, relationship statuses, family members, and our addresses. We share hobbies, interests, and just about everything else you can think of. While we share every little detail about who we are on social media, we often do so for validation of everything we do. Even I used to do that; the more people became interested in what I posted, the more I posted, naturally.
Why? Well, because as a society, we desire recognition. Even if we won’t admit it, we want that popularity. We like people agreeing with our own egocentric views so we can feel like we aren’t the most selfish generation of humans ever, which I think we are, honestly. Sophomore criminal justice major, Georgia Gantidis, gave a simple reason. “People certainly hide behind their screens and appear to be someone they’re not on social media. When people do brag and boast about themselves on social media, it’s mostly to make themselves feel better and digitally place themselves ‘above’ the rest. This doesn’t go for everybody, but for most.”
We also post malicious and negative things. I can’t count how many times I’ve been on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and scrolled through similar negative posts about cutting people off or being cold hearted. They read: “Never feel bad about cutting people off. If people no longer deserve a beneficial spot in your life… it’s fine to remove them,” or, “Cutting people off gets easier and easier.”
While it’s true that some people shouldn’t be in your life if they constantly bring you harm in any way, doesn’t mean you should go around bragging about it. It’s something that may have to be done even when we may not want to, especially to people that we were once close to and it can hurt, sometimes. I’m not saying it’s wrong to remove anything toxic from your life and cherish your self-worth, but don’t go around acting like it makes you better than anyone else. It’s as if social media has made us take pride in being insensitive to each other and we don’t hesitate to brag about this.
We also use social media to escape from reality. For example, I’ve seen countless Twitter and Instagram posts about living life and being happy and positive all the time. It’s okay to cry sometimes, or to deal with anxiety because these emotions are how we know we’re alive. We feel negativity in a relationship, or have an argument with a friend or lover, and we just want to give up. We need to understand that life is beautiful, but also ugly.
For all the blessings it brings, there’s also suffering and you can’t have one without the other. There’s nothing wrong with being down or upset every once in awhile. Sophomore criminal justice major, Chris Dewey, believes that we post only positive things because it’s easy. “People show off because it’s so easy to just tweet or Instagram something. You don’t have to think about it too much; all you have to do is just tap a few buttons on the screen,” Dewey stated.
If you can put so much effort into boosting your social media presence, then imagine how much stress you can save yourself by not caring what people think and just being comfortable in your own skin. Freshman health and physical education major, Andre Bennett, agrees. “It’s annoying to me honestly; just be yourself. If you’re confident enough to lie, you can be confident enough to be yourself. Tell the truth and forget about what everyone else thinks,” Bennett expressed.
Social media is not all bad, but it can be unhealthy in many ways. The worst part about social media is that it isn’t real life. Go outside, read a book, study, play a video game, be a human being. You never know who you might meet that could change your life. I also think cutting people off and ignoring them is childish because everyone deserves an explanation. Silence may be an answer, but it’s not always the best way to respond to someone when you feel like they’ve wronged you in some way. Confront them and hold them accountable and you might be able to work things out. If you can’t, then move on. Stop seeking recognition. Be successful and work hard because that’s what you should do. Live life, feel emotion, and be the best version of yourself that you can be. Those important to you will feel like they’ve been blessed to have you in their lives.