11 APRIL 2019, BY MY PASSPORT TO SHANGRILA
Whether you check your Facebook or Instagram accounts only once a month, or you have several different social media accounts that are all hooked up to your phones notification system, social media has impacted all of us.
There are so many amazing things that social media has done for society, but I think that we at times often look past the negative effects it has had on us as well. For me, social media has given me a way to reconnect with long lost friends and work colleagues, interact with friends overseas, and even be able to view distant and unreachable destinations, but social media is also something that has dictated my life.
At the beginning of the new year I was scrolling through Facebook and was sick to the back teeth of people posting negative comments about one thing or another. You know the posts I mean. The ones that read “can’t take this anymore!”, or, “You know who your real friends are?” … enticing us to feel the need to reply with empathy. Nonetheless, it got them the attention they sort because they knew it would arouse peoples attention and they were right with replies such as “You ok, Babes?”
We also use social media as another platform to complain on to hopefully get someone else to chime in on something we’re upset about. What’s equally grating to read are those political posts that are great to digest on the odd occasion if they dispense some actual interest, however, the need to post daily updates of political figures or situations is just plain boring and congers up thoughts to the readers of how miserable you have become if that’s all you can contribute to the world.
It was after reading one of those said posts that just pushed me to the point of deleting social media apps off my phone. I was fueled with frustration on the inside about it and I decided I don’t need to read those kinds of uninteresting projected thoughts and insults in my life anymore, at least not for a little while. I needed a mental break from constantly reading and scrolling.
I have to admit it was hard at first not to have those little apps to click on throughout the day checking in on the world and what people were up to, however, after a couple weeks it didn’t even enter my mind. Yes, there were the odd occasions were I had read a funny meme and wished I could have shared the laughs but I’m on a social media holiday.
If you have read to this point then lets reflect on ourselves for a moment. Be truly honest with yourself now. Look back through your Facebook account and take note of how many posts read negatively or are about the same subject. And see how many of those are in direct succession. Is this the person you really want to be and is this the person you want people on the receiving end of those posts want to think of you?
Social media is meant to be a platform for people to express themselves, advertise good causes and promote learning, and it is, but the vast majority of people use it for ego boosts, to get retweets by degrading other people and saying or doing foul things to gain a reaction. The worst part of it all is that it works.
I have read so many posts or viewed so many photos from people who are just completely insensitive, or frankly (subconsciously) projecting and trying to push their beliefs onto others to read. Of course, some of it is supposed to be a joke and taken light heartedly, but most of it isn’t. Most of it is taken too far, most of it is completely rude and disgraceful to people who don’t fall under the category of “normal and socially acceptable.”
We use social media as a way to feel better, a way to stalk the crap out of people we don’t even like just to make sure we’re doing better than them or maybe to prove that we’re not that far behind. We use it to boost our egos and feel better about ourselves and that has an overall negative effect on our lives. It slowly starts to ruin you.
After a four month absence I decided to return to social media. It was so refreshing not to feel down trodden reading all the negative messages that bombard your home pages. No one cares if your flight is delayed or the picture of the totally average looking pizza you’re about to consume looks ‘yummy’. Post something of interest. Post photos of interesting places you’ve visited for those people who are unlikely to see for themselves. Create learning opportunities, promote good causes.
Australia is one of the first country’s to remove the ‘likes’ count from each photograph on Instagram. I would like to think at some point the ‘followers’ count will be removed too. Finally Instagram is going the way it was intended to display quality photos as opposed to a money making agenda were people could buy likes and comments (why would you to begin with!!???)
The detachment I had from social media has done wonders for my well-being. It’s amazing how engaging you become again to peoples photos and comments (of interest). Put your mental health first and get out in the real world and be social. Live a little, it will give you a break from all the negativity you see behind your computer screen. Take a look at what the world is really like without filters when you’re not constantly blinded by your phone and influenced to believe the things you read.