Similar to most people in this generation, I am on my phone every day. Whether it is scrolling through Twitter, checking my Instagram feed, watching Youtube videos, or pinning ideas on how to decorate my bathroom on Pinterest, it is a never-ending source of entertainment. There are many perks to having and using social media such as staying connected with distant relatives, becoming inspired by your favorite travel blogger, or sharing your work with other creators; however, there are an equal amount of cons when you’re consumed by the little box in your hand.
Let’s talk about the pros of social media first, since it truly is not as bad as your grandma may think.
- Staying Connected. You can connect with loved ones who have moved two states over, message your parents while vacationing in Greece, or call a partner who is on a business trip for a few weeks. It makes missing someone a bit easier when you get to see their face with each passing day of being separated.
- Feeling Inspired. Whether you love to travel, have a passion for fitness, or want to try new foods… there is most likely an account or feed to help give you a new outlook on your favorite things. Travel hacks, gym routines, new recipes, they are all available in just a click of a button.
- Building a Sense of Community. None of your friends like mythological stories as much as you do? Have no fear, Reddit is here! If you cannot find people to analyze your favorite passages with you, the internet will be your new best friend. There are threads for everything, no matter how quirky, and they give you an opportunity to express your thoughts and critiques about any subject of choice.
- Being Entertained. This one cannot be denied. Social Media has an endless supply, a bottomless pit, of entertaining content of all genres. Make-up tutorials, Vine compilations, and fresh memes are uploaded every second by millions of online users. It is safe to say, social media has a little something for everyone.
- Finding Yourself. Social media allows you the ability to be yourself, express your interests, and build a profile filled with your personality. You get to be creative and have the choice to post content that truly reflects you and the colors to describe your life. Every factor is decided by you, and you get to communicate your life through words, videos, and photographs.
Social media can be truly pleasant and can allow you to find yourself by connecting with other users who have similar interests as you. You can feel important and heard, which are truly good qualities of having an online footprint; however, there are also negative effects of having social media and using it on a daily basis.
- Developing Insecurities. It is really hard to live a quiet life in a dorm room while following ‘influencers’ who travel the world weekly, and it is hard to not compare yourself to models while shivering in an Indiana winter.
- Procrastination. I can push off a full to-do list of homework to watch Youtube without hesitation. Having social media only a reach away can impact productivity and overall work ethic.
- What’s Real? Although social media can be a place to create and develop yourself, it can also produce the exact opposite effects. You never truly know the person behind the account or the feelings they hide. There are many sad people behind happy selfies and many people creating lives that are entirely fictional.
- Catfishing. Here is the scariest part. Not only can someone’s fabulous life be untrue, but sometimes they don’t even exist! Social media can be safe if you are extremely careful with it, but there are many manipulative people who can find their way into your life without you knowing anything about them. Be alert next time you go on Craigslist or any dating website.
- Disappointment. Not everything goes as planned. Not every workout gives you the results you want in the matter of a week. Not every recipe tastes good, and not every 5 Minute Craft can get done in five minutes. We cannot all be popular Youtubers and make millions of dollars at eighteen-years-old. So much is expected when we become inspired online, but we cannot get defeated when not everything works as advertised.
Social media has much to offer whether it is positive or negative, and although there are many benefits and disadvantages I did not list, the message remains the same: You are important and every life journey is important. You do not have to be a model to be beautiful; you do not have to have a million followers to have fans; and you do not have to create a fake life in order to love the life you live each day. Social media can be a gift, but it can also bring a lot of toxic behavior into your routine. If you ever feel discouraged or down because of the accounts you follow, leave your phone at home for the day. Live a full day without your screen and find the beauty you bring into the world. Hangout with the people you love the most, grab a coffee at your favorite shop, and notice the impact you make each day by simply being yourself.
Then you can post an Instagram photo of your poppin’ #OOTD.