Social media is so common nowadays that almost anyone you talk to who has access to a phone or computer has an account of some sort. Social media is not just Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, however, as it takes many forms. For example, email could be considered social media. Google+, LinkedIn, and any other form of an online communication hub is considered to be social media. Technology has advanced enough to the point of no return. Gone are the days of physical mail and traditional phone calls, as our fast-moving society has fully adapted to the ease and convenience of internet use.
In retrospect, that all sounds great. Social media has made life considerably easier for many individuals and professions. However, it has also made life arguably worse for those same people. Quick and easy methods of communication are great when you’re in a bind, but it has also made face-to-face communication virtually extinct in some cases. Oral communication skills are imperative to living confidently and successfully, no matter what profession you are in. Social media takes away that necessary face-to-face contact, and significantly impedes on individuals’ social lives.
In addition to the decrease in physical human interaction, social media can trigger feelings of longing and jealousy. While most online sharing platforms are meant to be a communal space to share life experiences, people often find themselves longing for what others have. It often becomes a game of who has more to brag about. Instead of being content with your own life, it is easy to find yourself yearning for the life of another.
Humans are social creatures by nature, and human interaction is imperative for the mental well-being of anyone. But what if an individual with social anxiety interacts mostly online? Social media can be good…in moderation. I personally love to see what my friends are up to when I’m unable to see them for extended periods of time. However, when I start to notice it take over my life for a while, or hinder my social life, I made a concerted effort to pull myself away from the screen and find something decidedly more meaningful to do. For example, recently I have been flooded with stress because of my impending graduation. I often find myself flocking to social media for relaxation and comfort, in a strange way. So, to combat that, I have been pushing myself to read more or spending more time with my family when I am stressed. Pulling myself away from a platform that stresses me out even more in the long run has significantly improved my coping abilities, and subsequent happiness.
As mentioned, social media can be good in moderation. But if you find yourself needing time away from it, please take that step. Figure out what is best for your mental wellbeing and act on it. Social media is temporary, as is the joy it can bring. I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone and find joy in something else. No matter what the season, I can always find joy in nature. Find your happiness.
When do you consider yourself spending too much time on social media? Do you use other forms besides ones like Snapchat or Instagram? Have you ever made an effort to change your social media habits?