Social media. It’s weird to remember that social media didn't always exist, since nowadays it's nearly impossible to find someone who doesn't at least have a Facebook.
I’m a mass communications major for PR, and I run a music blog. Therefore, social media has an important role in my life and my future career. And over time, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with it.
Why do I love social media?
1. I can connect with friends and family all over the world.
I have family and friends scattered across the US and in Israel. Social media allows me to know what’s happening in their lives.
2. I can share content related to my interests.
My Facebook timeline is filled with content about bands, Marvel, Harry Potter, books, and puppies, among other things. I enjoy sharing things related to my interests and talking with others who have shared interests.
3. It’s a great promotional tool.
Social media is my key way of publicizing my blog and Odyssey articles. I maintain a Facebook page, Twitter, two Instagrams (personal and blog), Tumblr, Pinterest, and occasionally Snapchat. I’ll share my posts in Facebook groups and tag the artists to gain their attention. Because of social media, I’ve had artists from LA, Belarus, the UK, and Canada contact me about writing pieces on their bands.
But like I said, I also hate social media.
1. Cyberbullying and online sexual harassment
It used to be that one could escape bullying and harassment within the privacy of one’s own home. But social media has dragged the awful, negative, hateful world into our safe spaces.
2. Social media negatively affects my mental health.
I struggle with anxiety and depression, and social media has often triggered episodes. When I go on social media, I see others who are more talented, more pretty than me, who have busy social lives and always look happy. As someone who doesn't feel all that talented or pretty, and whose social life barely exists, this is a struggle. I know that social media isn’t a true reflection of people’s lives, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could have that girl’s life or that girl’s looks.
FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” is anxiety induced by seeing events or social gatherings happening elsewhere. I'll get FOMO just from seeing what feels like everyone I know having a busy social life, out doing things, while I sit at home doing nothing because my few friends are busy. Social media will make me more isolated and alone, and it becomes a struggle to avoid opening my social media folder on my phone.
4. The stress of social media.
Majority of us know this stress. When you don't get enough likes on your Instagram post, or your new profile pic. When people ignore that article you wrote or the achievement you posted about. It’s extremely superficial, but these things have somehow become a way to measure our worth, our value within the world. I particularly get this stress when trying to promote new blog posts, since I know I’m competing with bigger, better sites.
All in all, social media has become a necessary evil. It’s our main way of communicating and maintaining contact with others, while also a weapon that can destroy our self-worth.
Will I stop using it? Maybe one day. But for now, necessary evil it is.