The Issues with Social Media: Is it hurting us or helping us? Yes.
Everyone has an opinion about social media. Some love it. Some hate it. Some are indifferent. We live in a world where when someone's social media footprint is nonexistent, we instantly wonder: What is he/she hiding? Being on social media is the norm.
Recently, I was chatting with a girlfriend, who stated, “Social media isn’t real.” --meaning that we shouldn’t put so much emphasis on how people navigate Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., because their actions here ultimately don’t "really" matter in the “real world."
I beg to differ.
Social media IS a real world of its own and impacts people in various ways.
On the positive side, it can help promote our business/work, provide validation, inspire, entertain, and inform. On the flip side, it can invoke jealousy and insecurity.
This past January, Hailey Bieber shared this photo along with her candid thoughts about Instagram on the ’gram:
Photo Credit: Instagram / Hailey Bieber
Hailey writes: “I’m insecure, I’m fragile… I get angry. I have had more days than I can count where I’ve found myself scrolling through Instagram comparing myself, comparing my looks, feeling like I’m not good enough, feeling like I lack so many things and really struggling to be confident in who I am because I constantly feel like I’m just not good enough.”
And this is from a beautiful model with a successful career, married to Justin Bieber!
Back to my conversation with my friend.
In my opinion, what happens on social media --our interactions, who we follow, the posts we like-- does matter because how we act on here is ultimately an extension of who we are.
Here are a couple issues that friends and I discussed:
We care if you’re NOT liking our posts!
As an artist promoting her work, it matters to me that my close friends are reading my work and showing their support with that little heart and comments. We notice who’s looking at our stories and liking (or failing to like) our posts --and what’s interesting is it’s the same group of people all the time. And isn’t it a little sad that “strangers” can be more supportive than our supposed real-life friends? I pretty much like EVERYONE’s posts. As my friend said, “It doesn’t cost anything, so why not!?” Exactly. Why else are you on social media, if not to keep in touch and support friends?
Social media stalking is alive and kicking.
Recently, I've noticed a trend with super successful, gorgeous celebs admitting to this --'cause as US Weekly reminds us, "Stars --They're Just Like Us!" Whether we want to admit it, we’ve all scrolled through profiles of people we may or may not know for a variety of reasons. And more so than not, we’ve all made up a few stories/assumptions from what we found. Note: Don’t let your imagination get the best of you. I always remind myself: The grass is always greener on social media --thanks to apps and many people only sharing their highlight reel.
What you present in social media world matters.
Take this section with a grain of salt, but what you post (or don’t post) sorta denotes what matters to you. From my social media content, you might gather that I'm social, love inspiring quotes, like to eat delicious food, and take pride in my writing/work. Oh, and you can learn quite a bit about someone by who they follow. You like The Rock and funny memes, too? Awesome! Attention ladies and gents, your potential suitors/significant others are definitely reviewing your Following list. #truth
To those who still deem social media as insignificant in real life, I can attest that it has proven to be life-changing for me. Liking someone’s posts and watching their stories (when not already an established friend/acquaintance in real life) is basically today's version of someone pulling their sunglasses down to the tip of their nose and eyeing you as you walk by. It's like, "I see you." (At least that's how I envision it.) It indicates interest.
Still don't believe it? That sort of social media interaction is how my boyfriend and I reconnected and got together 18 years after we first met. Thank you, social media.