Why Social Media Actually Sucks

Let’s face it, in today’s world people care more about their phones than anything else. They literally care more about their social media accounts than brushing their teeth in the morning. Don’t believe it? Then you’d be interested in hearing that more people in this world own a cellphone (3.7 billion) than a toothbrush (3.5 billion). In other words, where are our priorities at? If that statistic doesn’t scare you, then will one of these?

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I could list out every scary fact about social media there is, but I don’t want to send you to your grave too early. Simply put, too many people in today’s world, especially those who are part of the millennial generation and younger, waste their valuable time behind a screen uploading posts that create a false reality of a perfect or dramatic or eventful life. According to Lauren Davidson, “The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day." I also know that the average life expectancy is 82 years. What do those two random and seemingly different facts mean? It means that people will be spending around 620.5 hours a year, 50,881 hours of their lifetime, 2,120 days in their life, or 5.8 years of their valuable time on social media alone. Let that sink in.

This fact irks me, and what’s even worse is that people don’t care to change. People don’t change because they refuse to put the big picture into perspective. As much as we don’t like to admit it, we all know the harsh reality of how pathetic social media is, but we don’t know just how harmful it is. Think of all that time you spend looking on your social media and think about how it adds up over time. Now think about all the things you could do instead. Think of your dreams, goals, hobbies and passions. Next, subtract the time you’ll be spending on social media from the time you want to spend on those things. This could mean having less time to travel or write a novel, less time to perfect your athletic performance or find the cure to cancer. Think about all the extra time you could have if you just deleted, or at least limited, your social media use. What you could accomplish is amazing, and social media is holding you back from that.

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The amount of useless time people spend on social media is one thing, but what social media is doing to them during that time is another. It’s no secret that social media negatively impacts mental and social health by promoting insecurities and expectations while creating too much involvement in other people’s lives and causing self-exposure. We literally take selfies to post online so that people see us and we get likes, hoping that it’ll make us feel better about ourselves. If that isn’t bad enough, we also enhance those photos through filters, lighting and angles, ultimately manipulating the way we look to create a more “perfect” and false image of ourselves. We conform to society’s expectations of beautiful and normal instead of creating our own unique versions of ourselves. It causes us to think the way society wants us to. By this I mean that we are now not only victims of social media, we are the perpetrators, allowing our minds to be sculpted into how to “properly” think, now causing us to have unrealistic expectations of the world. Then, there are the more environmental effects, like having a post ruin our professional possibilities or indirectly getting someone else in trouble because we didn’t think before we uploaded a picture or posted a controversial statement. Social media also forces us to compare and contrast ourselves to others, indirectly lowering our self-esteem. Not to mention, it also displays our personal information, making it easier for criminals and hackers to find us and/or steal our identity. Social media literally destroys any idea of authenticity and privacy that exists, if any exists at all.

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In short, social media actually sucks. I could go on and on in one article about why, how, or what to do about it, but I don’t want to rant for too long. So, you’ll have to wait until the next article! Welcome to the "Social Media Actually Sucks" series. Now you understand the problem, but are you willing to make a change? Or would you rather spend nearly six years of your life behind a manipulated and manipulative screen? Stay tuned to hear more about social media’s deeper impact, personal experiences from your Siena peers, the excuses behind its use, and the solution to a better you. In the meantime, think to yourself, How is social media influencing me? Why am I using it? How is it helping/hurting me? What else could I be doing? and What difference am I really making? Just remember, the difference starts with you.