Warning: This is a 1st world article about a 1st world problem. Some people see this as a negative thing; that the problems in the west are nothing compared to people in poorer countries who are just trying to survive. To me, this is a beautiful thing to see people worried about the effects of social media, because if going on Facebook too much is one of the worst problems in your life then your life is pretty good.
My last night on Social Media felt like a binge drinking episode that an alcoholic normally tells before he made the decision to stop drinking and change his life for the better. There are some differences between social media and alcoholism, but one thing is for sure both are addicting if you take in too much. Of course, alcoholism can kill a person and destroy their lives before they turn 30; social media won’t kill you, but it can devour your time to the point that you are still living with your parents at 30 if you don’t use it wisely.
The one enemy that exists for each and every person is time, and it moves forward whether you’re ready or not. This makes it a finite resource because everyone’s time is limited to some extent. Well, in case you haven’t figured out already; social media is a time waster.
I’m a big believer in self-responsibility, and that you can’t blame a website or someone else on the website for the problems in your life. You have to take charge. It’s up to you to put down your phone and live life to the fullest without having to look down at your screen.
I am 22 years old, and I’ve been on social media since I was 15. At the time Facebook was the most popular platform, and I didn’t have an iPhone. The only time I went to check and look at the news was when I had access to a computer which wasn’t often since it was my parent’s computer. I didn’t get an iPhone until my Senior year, and I was already visiting Facebook more than I used to since I had also received a laptop as a Christmas present.
I found out that I was way behind the curve because even though Facebook was popular it wasn’t the social media platform that people were talking about. Snapchat was the most talked about app around, especially being on the football team, and being around guys who wanted to be with girls. It was almost a requirement when dating someone.
The reason why I got that app in the first place was for the girl I was talking to. She asked me if I had a Snapchat, and this became the new way of contacting her since it was better than just texting. It was a new form of flirting, and it was done through pictures.
Around this time, I also created my own website called Jefferson Youth News, and as a result, I had to learn the game of social media. Facebook and Twitter were both perfect for getting the type of news and information I needed to write for the website I created.
At the time I didn’t feel consumed by social media even though in all honesty I was like an alcoholic. I would go home and Snapchat girls, and then go onto Facebook to digest the news that I had missed since I went to school at 7:30 in the morning.
You’re mentally addicted to something if you have to look at it every single day. It’s like the alcoholic who looks forward to going home just to taste the alcohol. One sip is enough to send the alcoholic down a spiral that will not end until he is drunk. Once he wakes up he’ll drink again; kind of like you’ll be going through Facebook before you go to bed and when you wake up. I will be honest there have been periods where I’ve looked onto social media constantly, and there have been moments where the thoughts of going on Facebook doesn’t exist. Recently, I felt myself reaching for my phone more than usual to the point where I questioned myself why? Why do I have to look at twitter? Why does someone’s opinion on the structure of reality matter if I can’t see them? People are faceless on social media, and for some reason, we are attracted to hearing what they have to say.
There is just too much information out there and worrying about what other people are thinking instead of looking into what we can improve in our own lives is the wrong way to look at life.
Social media is not a bad thing kind of like drinking beer is not a bad thing, but there is a point when it affects your life to the point that it ends up damaging you deeper than just your physical appearance.
School is a job. It is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have it’s sacrificing the present to make the future better, and if a project is due at 12 am, you have to take your job seriously and get that assignment ready early.
Sometimes those cute cat videos on YouTube or your friend’s anti-Trump posts are more exciting than the work in front of you. So, instead, you sit there with a broken look on your face as you receive the results of that paper that you should have spent more time on.
This is not meant to be depressing this is the best time to be alive, and technology overall has improved everyone’s life. People are living longer; there is a decrease in homicides; we are able to travel around the world faster and easier than ever before, and etc, etc…
The world is the best it’s ever been, and social media is just this new experiment that has connected the world like never before, and with this new connection, there is also a lost connection since you don’t actually have to face the person you’re arguing with. Which means you can call them any and all expletives without consequence. Before every single person had a microphone people had to earn the right to express their opinions to the world. For example, the majority of the voices on TV had to get a degree and move up the media ladder before they earned that right. Now anyone can call themselves a journalist and start a blog. I am an example of someone who is doing that right now. (I’m currently majoring in Journalism, though.)
Without the credentials, it has now become easier for people to spread false information, and since anyone can start a blog this has only lead to an increase of people who use their platforms to push their worldview. People have used this power to spread “fake news” on both sides of the spectrum, and this has led to a distrust in the mainstream media. There are a lot of arguments on both sides of the spectrum that question if that’s necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. Honestly, distrust in media is a good thing, because it keeps the media honest, but too much distrust can lead to the facts being disputed if they go against one’s version of the truth. For example, an article that is critical to President Trump is ‘Fake News’ according to Trump supporters. Which is clearly not true. Truth doesn’t support any actor it only supports ideas.
Social media is powerful, and according to Statista, 81% of the U.S population has a social networking profile, and it is expected to grow.
We are not going to get rid of social media, it’s there, and there is nothing that you can do about it. There are some things that every user can do to improve the overall experience of it, so it doesn’t affect people negatively, but no one fully knows how to implement it so these problems don’t exist. Maybe, that’s okay.
I am for this experiment because I want to see how long it goes. I believe the tide can turn. I believe that people are already doing this by turning social media into a place where they can further their career and better themselves.
It’s not the platforms fault at the end of the day. It’s your fault for not using it in a positive fashion.