After reading Ella May Garett’s post about Instagram and how toxic it can be, I was inspired to do a blogpost on the negative impact that social media can have. A lot of the things Ella said resonated with me, and it’s time to speak the truth.
I might sound like a total hypocrite for saying this, because I use it all the time. I was talking to a friend the other day, and he said he deleted Snapchat because it was affecting his mental health. My other friend, doesn’t use any kind of social media – no Snapchat nor Instagram and she also recently deactivated her Facebook.
We all use social media for different reasons, but I think it’s important to recognize whether it’s affecting us in a negative way or preventing our own happiness.
Personally, I use Instagram and Facebook to build a strong following so that people can go on my blog and read what I post. Tools like Instagram are a great way to promote yourself: I use it to document my outfits and travels, and it gives me the opportunity to work with brands or collaborate with other bloggers. Plus, if you’ve cracked the ‘following’ secret, then you can actually earn lots of money from your page. I know so many people who make a living from blogging and documenting their lives online. Also, since more brands are on social media nowadays, they are so many opportunities to work with them since they’re always looking for micro-influencers to review their products. It helps them build customer loyalty. It’s also great for getting your message across, so that’s why I use it.
But here’s the problem: if we start comparing ourselves to people who share photos of their sculpted bodies on a 5-star beach resort somewhere in the Maldives, then it can make us feel miserable. Especially if you see that you’re not invited to an event after seeing your friend’s Instagram story, then you can get kinda pissed off. You ask yourself, why are their lives so amazing and I’m having such a sh*t time? Also, if everyone looks like they’re having a blast on their year abroad or at university, you could get depressed if you know you’re struggling.
Trust me, it’s not real. We don’t actually know what’s going on behind the camera. We only post on social media to show the best life we’re living. We want to make sure that everyone knows about the next event we’re going to, all the friends we have, that body we worked so hard for or where we travel to. It’s a way to document the best version of ourselves and our amazing experiences. Not our bad ones. We all want to be accepted in some form, and we seek this validation from the number of likes we get.
Social media can be extremely detrimental to our mental health. In Ella Garett’s blogpost, she wrote,
“The UK’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement surveyed nearly 1,500 people ages 14 to 24 about how social networking sites and apps impact their mental health, including anxiety, depression, self-identity, and body image, and found that Instagram has the “most detrimental” effect on young people” (Vogue, 2017)
As Simon Sinek says, technology makes us the most distracted generation. When we receive a notification, it releases dopamine, which is this feeling of instant gratification, just like getting a shot of alcohol. We have a habit of constantly refreshing our page, multitasking and feel like we’re about to lose a limb when our battery life reaches 1% and where there’s no charger around. It’s actually kind of sad. And hey, I’m guilty too.
So what do we do about it? Don’t let it affect you. If it’s affecting your self-esteem in negative way and letting your insecurities resurface, then maybe Instagram isn’t for you. Remember that people only post the best part of their lives, because trust me, rarely does anyone post about how much of a sh*t time they’re having. Also, there are so many photos that are photoshopped and over-saturated so there’s no reason to be comparing yourself to someone who looks totally different from reality. Or if you can’t focus on one task for more than 20 minutes, then it might be time to do a social media detox.
Of course, social media has its good sides. It’s an incredible marketing tool, and it can provide lots of job opportunities. But having said that, it’s good to take some time off. There are some days where I just don’t feel like posting. Yet, on other days I spend unnecessary amounts of time on it. We probably can’t change the fact that social media will play a big part in our lives (businesses and all kinds of industries are now taking full advantage of it) but we can change the way we use it.
Until next time,