This chapter is dedicated to students and members of the social media world that feel its effects. You are not alone and can make social media positive once again.
Keywords: Social, Consuming, Negative, Emotions, Change.
I strongly believe that social media is and will continue to drastically change our lives as time progresses. We find ourselves relying on these social platforms to check on other people, maintain relationships, and meet new people; however, we also find ourselves living in a fictional reality that may cause us to lose focus on our real, present lives. Social media is and will continue to be an overbearing presence unless society changes the system and way, we view it as a part of our lives. While reading, think about your own habits using social media, how it is presented to you, and how it makes you feel in your relationship with the world.
Getting through your day is nearly impossible without checking your phone at least once. Going through your day without checking social media is the same. Why is that? Is it because we have placed such a dire need on what social media can bring us or as a society, are we afraid of missing out? The allure of being able to communicate with those we may not see on a day-to-day basis allows us to maintain relationships we otherwise would lose. We also can create relationships with people we have never met, and may never meet, in person. This can draw us even more into social media and the hold it has on individuals. Looking at these online relationships, it fosters a pattern of engaging with those that provide little to no value in our lives. Social media has evolved over time to become an adaptation of people’s wants and needs. Our needs have placed such a large focus on being able to instantly communicate with one another and ignore the outside world and creating real in-person relationships.
While the media is a newer means of communication, it has already become a cornerstone to what we know and experience. In my day-to-day life I use my phone to send texts, check Instagram, call my family at home, and just escape the world around me. None of these “normal” occurrences would be possible without the symbolic ideals that we as society gave to the internet. It may be easy to suggest we stop using or decrease our social media use, but that will be impossible if society continues to promote it. Dr. Cal Newport is a believer that there is a need to quit social media. He states, “Well, social media use is the epitome of an easy to replicate activity that does not produce a lot of value; it’s something that any six-year-old with a smartphone can do” (Newport). His TED talk examines the changes in his life and the positive impact that can have. However, this will be difficult until as a whole society changes its view and importance on what social media means.
Social media is a constant array of images, videos, and text an audience is forced to evaluate. The ability to change the way we view ourselves in the world of social media and take a step back to see ourselves in the real world we are a part of will only change our lives for the better. To foster positivity in our own worlds we need to evaluate how much social media plays a role and if it is helping or hurting us. Switching our own views and needs of this device can slowly start to change it in the future for others.