We all do it. At least to some degree. Social media has completely transformed the way our lives function in this modern era. Some people will say that they do not use social media like Instagram or Facebook, for example. But is that statement truly accurate or just wishful thinking that they haven’t been sucked into the social media world. I would argue that the world and much of its infrastructure is now infiltrated by social media that it is next to impossible to escape the clutches of social media unless you live without electricity, or you are completely off-the-grid. And it is for this reason that we all must actively protect our minds from the dangers of social media.

Now, social media has tremendous upside. Think about how advertising has changed because of it. For example, you’ve probably discovered new products or brands you may love that you otherwise would have never come across. Whether through algorithmic marketing or even anecdotal stories from friends from their interactions on social media, it is extremely efficient and useful for marketing. But you might be saying, “well I don’t use social media, so why would I need to protect myself?” The reason is because you interact with it more than you are aware. For example, if you are watching a sporting event like a football game and there are banners across the screen with hashtags and photo challenges. Or perhaps they are showing video of a live streamed video from social media with the athletes. Perhaps they direct you to watch highlights on an influencers YouTube channel with commentary on the game. All of these are absorbed by viewers without them needing to have an account of their own.

The concern over the accelerating assimilation of social media into our world is its effects on our mental wellness. It is all too easy to get sucked into the social media maelstrom and the comforts it provides to communication. For example, issuing a written comment online or watching videos of other people doing things can have a profound impact on our social skills. Anxiety is on the rise amongst younger generations when it comes to real-world social interaction, exacerbated by the pandemic. How many people do you see waiting for public transit or sitting down at a restaurant and they are on their phone as opposed to looking around curiously or talking with their own party. We are slowly losing our motivation to chat with strangers in person because it may be uncomfortable and less convenient than ‘following’ random strangers somewhere else in the world. Are we forming a culture that is taking the once-thought extinct proverbial high school popularity contest to our everyday life? Where the person sitting next to you on a bus is not interesting enough to chat with compared to ‘following’ some random Instagram influencer across the world with touched-up photos and millions of dollars in the bank?

What this will result in is increasing envy and unease over our own lives. Imagine living in a small town without the internet. You can still compare yourself to others as it seems to be a natural phenomenon among humans, but the pool of comparison is finite. This means there are edges and limits to help guide us. With social media, the pool of comparison is effectively infinite because you can always find someone you perceive as better than you if you look for it. Unless you are Usain Bolt and can physically prove this prowess, you will be forever in search of perfection within the social media maelstrom. An individual cannot use social media to improve their own self image. That can only happen by self-reflecting on your own experiences and how you want to improve. Comparing yourself will only lead to anxiety and poor self-esteem. So, while we cannot fully unplug from social media, it’s important to develop healthy habits and be aware of its limitations. Take long breaks from it occasionally, turn off likes and comments for your own posts, and only follow pages that give you joyous feelings.

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  1. Ciekawe Blogi April 22, 2022 at 11:05 pm

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