Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

social media followers GIF by The Orchard Films

Social media is something I’ve become more passionate about the older I get. I don’t mean that I use it more or less than before, I just believe it’s sooo important how current generations and future generations use it. Five years ago, If someone asked me “do you think social media is bad or unhealthy?” I would have said “no” without a doubt. I would have said that because I was only 13 years old but also because social media isn’t what it used to be.

From my experience, social media can definitely have a negative impact on an individual. On the other hand, I truly think it’s the greatest innovation possibly of all time. Social media (especially today) has so much power or rather it gives anyone with access to it so much power. To me, that’s amazing. The hard thing about social media is finding a balance between healthy and damaging.

These are the cons of social media based on my experience. First, It has the capability to create a strange form of anxiety. I’m not an expert and I’m sure there’s a scientific reason for this but something about constantly (I mean CONSTANTLY) seeing what other people’s ~glorified~ lives looks like creates anxiety. This doesn’t happen to everyone but surely I’m not the only person who’s experienced this phenomenon. Comparison is almost impossible not to do when you’re on social media and maybe that plays a part in the anxiousness it creates.

This is mostly dangerous for the younger generations. Although the effects of social media can affect anyone, older generations weren’t born into the era and they usually aren’t as exposed to it therefore its impact isn’t as great. I also see social media taking a part in depression.

A lot of times, anxiety and depression go hand in hand but not all the time. Studies have shown that negative social media experiences are linked to depression as seen in this USN article. For these reasons and so many more, I strongly think that we should regulate our social media intake or at least make sure our intake is healthy.

Even after thinking about the negative effects that social media can have, I still think the pros outweigh the cons. The way social media can unite people and inform the public is extremely moving. Whether it’s through hashtags activism like #metoo, #bringbackourgirls, #alsicebucketchallenge, #Ferguson, #prayfor____, or just instant access to world news, Social media can unite.

Some say that social media is part of why the world is so divided and I can agree with that. But, I also believe that if it has the power to divide, people have the power to use it in a way to unite. Users need to educate themselves and be careful what they put out there so that it’s full positive potential can be shown.

I encourage you not to believe the first thing you see on the internet but to do your own research and tell others to do the same. Part of the reason why I’m going into media is because I want to learn more about how to make social media a tool instead of an issue. The internet and social media aren’t going anywhere so It’s our job to equip ourselves and others on how to handle it!