The Problem with Social Media is Behind the Screen

How many times have you gone on a social media cleanse this year? How long did it last? Did you feel better after you did it? Well, here is the thing: social media is not the problem, but you might be.

I have had countless conversations with people my age and older who absolutely love to tear apart our generation and our love for social media. It makes us conceited, it makes us insecure, it makes us lazy, so on and so on. Honestly, these things happen, but no one is forcing you to follow the IG model who Facetunes herself into someone different. No one is forcing you to spend two hours looking at slime videos, and no one is forcing you to test out all the new Snapchat filters.

Photo courtesy of @JamesCharles via Twitter

The problem with social media is user error. Welcome to my TED talk!

Have you ever noticed a lot of people who say media is corrupt are dedicated to a certain news outlet of choice? We as a society have become so polarized, especially when comparing our media consumption. We are quick to blame media for causing our problems, but it is all a mirror. Social media reflects what we put in front of and into it. We feed it. We consume it. Of course, I am not saying social media has problems, I just do not believe it is the root of the problems. Social media shows you the weakest version of yourself. Through consistent consumption of toxic material, you are enhancing the insecurities that were already inside of you. The same applies to narcissism. Reflect on what makes you not like social media. Is it toxic because you hate seeing people you know going on luxe vacations? Maybe you need to do some soul searching and work toward shifting jealousy to joy.

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The struggles we have with social media are the same as other traditional forms of media, so we must adapt and overcome. Unfollow people you do not like instead of complaining about them (or even worse, shading them on your page), post positive content, and if you need to, limit your time.  Just like dieting, a social media cleanse can inevitably end in a vicious cycle of going back. Also, you are not superior for deleting your app for a few days.

Influencer is not a dirty word. In fact, I believe every single person is an influencer to some degree. Today alone, you have likely influenced someone in some way, whether you did it consciously or not. Social media/influencer marketing has been widely criticized. It is seen as illegitimate, useless, and a disgrace to traditional practices. Through influencer marketing, companies have saved thousands of dollars and small businesses are thriving. More than likely, you would not have found that tucked away coffee shop if it were not for Instagram.

Photo courtesy of @Felicitouscoffee via Instagram

Social media does so much good. People are connecting or reconnecting, we are learning more about the world, businesses are growing rapidly, and artists have a platform like never before. Social media has a lot of problems, but it is primarily user error. So before you want to talk about how toxic it is and do a cleanse, look at your own heart and actions first.

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