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Let’s get real. Social media, whether we like it or not, has become extremely prominent in most of our everyday lives. You can consume news, keep up with your friends and family, be artistic, and anywhere in between. For some, social media is a crucial tool, as it may be their only way of feeling connected to distant people such as old friends. In addition, many businesses succeed through social media marketing, and the promotion of their products in creative ways, such as through unique Tik Toks. 

 

Although, here’s the issue. Social media has created a large number of issues that are consuming and controlling individuals. Different platforms create spaces for almost anything to be discussed or posted. People are disagreeing, bringing each other down, and creating drama unnecessarily. Another large issue is just how fake social media can be. Apps like Facetune allow content creators to alter anything they want before posting, which is spreading an unrealistic image. We live in a society with such normative expectations of beauty, body image, etc., that posting false versions of ourselves simply adds to the problem. Even if we try to avoid being affected by body dissatisfaction, we subconsciously consume this media and try to conform to such normative ideals. Having these false visuals leaves many people with self-confidence and body image issues, as well as harsher effects such as disordered eating. All of these issues are varying degrees of harmful and detrimental, although what a lot of people fail to realize is, social media is a user-based experience. Yes, without social media there wouldn’t be a space for these issues to exist, but – at the end of the day, it is in fact a completely user-based experience. 

 

As an Advertising major and someone who enjoys to use social media in positive ways, I do have some perspective. I find there to be many faults with social media, the platforms themselves, and how they are used. But the thing is, that isn’t changing – at least not drastically. We as social media users need to take the idea of the “user-based experience” and take control of our consumption and lead it in a positive direction. 

 

For me personally, I used to let social media control me. I would wonder, “why don’t I look like her,” “why don’t I have the money to buy those things,” “why don’t I live there, I’m jealous.” These constant questions would consume my mind day and night, until I stopped worrying about what others were doing, and started working to be my best self. Recently, I have been using VSCO and Pinterest for photo, outfit, food, and art inspiration. This has had a super positive impact and has made me feel more creative. I’ve also started to see Tik Tok as more fun than problematic. I’ve found some amazing artists and small businesses, recipes, and outfit ideas that have gotten me ready to step out this summer. Content creators posting their daily routines has been super inspiring, and fun to keep up with as well. I’ve also seen Tik Tokers who teach you how to build a resumè, share deep cleaning tips, and more. In addition, I love being able to learn so much, especially about social concepts (with fact-checking, of course). Social media is a great tool; it’s really great, actually. It’s just about how you use it. I challenge you to start taking control of the media you consume. Unfollow the people who are making you insecure or bringing you down, and start following the people who will inspire you to become your best self.

 

I promise, it works. In the end, YOU are in control of creating a positive experience. It’s time to be uplifted, empowered, and inspired. You got this!

Emma is a Senior Advertising and Public Relations major and Women and Gender Studies/Journalism minor at The University of Tampa. She loves the beach, graphic design, photography, and traveling.
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