The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Most of us grew up in the time where social media really began to take off and we saw new apps introduced and other apps get taken down (rip Vine). We've also seen how social media has quickly taken over pretty much everyone's lives and the impact that it's had on our society. While there are some positives to social media, I personally feel like there are more negatives that come along with it. So, let's explore all things good, bad and ugly about the apps that have completely taken over.
Obviously, there are lots of positives to social media; it wouldn't be a thing if there weren't! One of the best parts of social media is being able to keep in touch with friends and family and see what they're doing. A lot of the people I know only really communicate with their friends through apps like Instagram and Snapchat. These apps allow us to talk to our friends and share pictures and videos of the stuff that we’re doing.
Social media can also be a good way to make friends (safely of course). I started my university experience online by attending Zoom classes, which made it quite hard to make friends. But social media lets you connect with people, and you can often see any common interests you have before reaching out. While you should always be careful when messaging people online, not everyone is a robot and social media can sometimes make it easier to form connections and start conversations with people.
Another good aspect of social media is that it's a good place to stay updated on your favourite celebrities, sports teams, etc. Nowadays a lot of celebrities use social media to interact with fans and tell us all about the new stuff they have coming up.
It can sometimes also be a good way to stay informed on things that are going on around the world. Obviously, you shouldn't trust everything you see on social media, but it's often how a lot of people begin to learn about the events that are going on. After seeing it on social media, though, you should definitely check out various reliable news sources to learn more about whatever it may be.
There are obviously a lot of bad things that go along with social media. One of which ties into the above: there can be a lot of misinformation being spread. Some people tend to believe everything that they see on social media. The reality is that some people make things up to get attention and go viral. This is why it's important to not believe everything that you see on various social media apps. While some of it may be true, it's always important to confirm that it is before sharing that information with other people.
There can also be a lot of fake people on social media, and I mean that literally. There are a lot of hackers and robots making accounts, sending messages and making posts. Most of the time they're fairly easy to spot (yes @palaisambhunath175gmail.com1, I'm talking to you and thank you for trusting me implicitly). These accounts can be super annoying and dangerous if you don't realize that the person you might be messaging is fake. So once again, remember that stranger danger lesson your parent or guardian likely gave you.
There’s a lot of ugliness that comes along with social media... like a lot! One of the ugliest things is that people think just because they're hidden behind a screen, they can say whatever they want. Some people can be extremely rude and harsh on social media when we know that they would never say the same things to our faces (I mean, some might, most won't). Some people act like just because they're saying these things through a phone, that makes them less hurtful when in reality it often makes it worse. This has evidently led to cyberbullying, which a lot of people are faced with today. No matter what you do, you can't escape a cyberbully. If you block them, it's easy for them to just create a new account. Being able to say cruel things through the phone without having to face the person has somehow turned into a phenomenon of people feeling the need to bring other people down just because they can.
Now let's talk about how fake social media is. A lot of people judge others' lives based on their social media posts, but let's be honest, none of us post what's actually going on in our lives. Social media is quite literally a highlight reel of all the high points and doesn't show the reality of it all. But to be fair, who wants to share the problems that they're having online? It's just important to not compare your life to those you see on the internet because, well, it's for the most part fake!
Editing photos is another method of quite literally making photos fake. Editing our bodies to fit into societal expectations is damaging to ourselves and to others. No one has the same body, we're all unique, and yet many people allow society and social media to make us feel bad for how we look and feel the need to edit ourselves in order to post. Social media can completely ruin someone's self-esteem because we often compare ourselves to the people we see on these apps, particularly celebrities, most of which have been called out for using Photoshop to edit their pictures.
Yes, there are positives to social media, but I feel like there are more negatives that go along with it. It's important to be mindful of these negatives while using various apps. One of the most important things to remember is to try to not compare yourself or your life to those you see on social media because, once again, it doesn't show everything.