Don’t get me wrong, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms can be used in some amazing ways.
The ability to message friends and family, or keep up-to date with the latest football scores, news stories and celebrity gossip instantly from around the world is incredible and really useful, but is this always ‘active’ idea actually harming us?
Social media and mental health have regularly been discussed in the past and as more people begin to use them of all ages, the connection between them is going to keep being brought up, no doubt.
Let me ask you this. Have you ever got jealous or annoyed by something you’ve seen on your social media feed?
I’m not talking about someone from Love Island posing with their perfect body in front of a multi-million-pound yacht in Monte Carlo, but something like one of your friends enjoying a night out when you weren’t asked? Or someone you follow bragging about the higher grade they got than you on an exam?
I’m assuming you’re probably saying right now: “oh year, I remember when… (insert what happened here)” – This jealousy factor happens to all of us, whether you realise it or not.
Another factor with social media that I think often goes unnoticed in the press is this whole idea of being ‘active’.
Again I’ll give you an example here that you can almost definitely relate to: You send someone, your best friend, maybe even a boyfriend or girlfriend a message on Facebook or Snapchat and they don’t read it but magically are ‘active now’.
How does that make you feel? Annoyed? Nervous? A little worried as to why they haven’t read your message? This for me is often worse than the whole jealousy factor of social media, the idea that people can openly ignore and choose not to reply to whatever you’ve asked.
Maybe it’s just me, but if something like this happens, you start questioning in your head things like. Have I done something? Has something happened? Am I annoying them by messaging them? Overthinking and anxiety are both on the up and I think social media has a lot to answer to when it comes to the figures being talked about.
In an article on The Guardian last year, it was said: “The Prince’s Trust has been gauging youth opinion for 10 years and found that just under half of young people who use social media now feel more anxious about their future when they compare themselves to others on sites and apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. A similar amount agree that social media makes them feel “inadequate”. More than half (57%) think social media creates “overwhelming pressure” to succeed.”
This statement is something that I couldn’t agree with more. Social media in 2020 is seemingly all about getting likes, going viral and generally being as popular as possible with both your friends and often strangers too. Is it now becoming just somewhere to brag and show off about your latest job, your new outfit or your weight loss regime?
Something I’ve been told time and time again is to “not believe everything you see on social media”. This is correct to an extent, like I know I have no real comparison between me and my favourite athlete or Rockstar, but the point I’m trying to make here is it’s not what Lewis Hamilton or Liam Gallagher is doing that annoys me, it’s what people I know and see every day that can affect your head.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably guilty of it too – it’s a great feeling being able to tell the world about your latest achievement or new purchase, but the thing we all have to consider is what about the person who hasn’t passed the test you did, who hasn’t got the job they wanted or been to wherever you’ve been on holiday.
My advice when using social media and what I’ve started doing in recent months is to take everything you read with a pinch of salt. If you’re best friend gets his dream car and shares it with anyone and everyone then that’s great for him, but don’t compare your older model to it and think yours isn’t good enough.
Used the correct way, social media channels can be some of the most interesting, amusing and useful communication methods available. But we all must make sure we’re using them in the correct way and not to annoy and upset anyone with the posts we create every day.
Have you got any personal examples of social media being used in the wrong way? Drop me a DM on Twitter @stevenbatey96.
*Article mentioned in this post available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/05/youth-unhappiness-uk-doubles-in-past-10-years