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Are You Using Social Media, or is it Using You?

It is unlikely that there is a person on planet earth that was not affected in some way shape or form this past year by COVID-19 and all of its ramifications. Schools shut down, workplaces shut down, the economy shut down, everything shut down. We were all forced to retreat from the social world and isolate ourselves in our own little worlds, which, being social beings by nature, was hard. Even today, with all the technology available to us that allows us to stay connected to one another, nothing can fully replicate the full human-to-human connection.

             For years now, it has seemed like we have been slowly inching ourselves into a life seen and experienced through social media, but this pandemic rapidly increased this path, creating a space for us all to dive right into the deep end of a social media existence. I have always tried my hardest to limit my social media use as I have seen the toll it has taken on my mental health but not having it this past year would further isolate me from my peers. I knew that what I was seeing was not real but it was better than being completely isolated. However, at this point, I feel extremely saturated in media and content that is not my own. I am continuously taking in other people’s lives; what they eat, what they wear, what they do; and I am not truly living my own.

             I think social media is a great tool, but as the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma points out, what you are not using is using you, and I think this is true. There is not really a clear goal of social media, it’s kind of just an open space for content. This can be great, and some pure, funny, and inspirational moments can be shared on social media, but you have to dig through a lot of randomness to get to this kind of content. We are not intentional with our social media use and we allow ourselves to consume so much that our brains honestly don’t know what to do with it, and I think it’s affecting us subconsciously whether we realize it or not.

So what’s the right way to use social media? That I do not know. But what I think we should all consider when opening up on Instagram, or Tik Tok, or even Facebook (if anyone still uses Facebook), is how it is affecting us and what it is exactly that we are looking for from it. 

 

Allie is studying Philosophy and Business Administration at The University of Tampa. She is always curious to learn more and to know more. She enjoys writing about said curiosities and starting conversations with others that leave her thinking differently.
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