Written by Brooke Thompson
While social media has helped people gain numerous friends, it can help lead to a lack of friendships offline. The more time we spend socializing online, the less time we are likely to spend socializing in the real world. There are links between social media use and loneliness, where a lack of followers and likes can cause depression. There are also studies where it is shown that social media strongly influences our body confidence and the way we perceive our own appearance.
In society today, people are much more likely to spend time connecting to others through social media than connecting to people in person. Social media can cause depression because the less you are connected with others in a deep, empathetic way, the less you get of the benefits of social interaction. If we are always catching up online, we are prioritizing social interactions that are not as emotionally rewarding as face to face interactions and can generally make us feel isolated. The more we use social media, the less we think about being present in the moment.
When we compare ourselves to others on social media, it has the potential to affect the valuation of ourselves. People are looking at the photos on Instagram and Snapchat of celebrities or even friends and often judge themselves to be worse off. If that is their model for what is normal, it can be very hard on people’s self-confidence. For most, looking at a magazine is different than looking on social media. When you look at professional models in catalogues, you know they are electronically fixed to fit the company’s wants, but when scrolling through social media it is a different story. People feel as if they are looking at raw pictures of someone and ultimately used as a standard of comparison. Social media platforms can be dangerous because in addition to feeling like you are being judged in person, you also feel as if you are being judged online.
In order to curate your social media feeds, it is important to take a break and engage in other activities that have nothing to do with appearance and comparing yourself to other people. Also, think hard about who you follow, to make sure not all posts have to do with celebrities, try to mix in some travel or nature accounts as well. Giving up social media is a hard task for many and it does provide many benefits as well. This could include finding inspiring landscapes, new recipes, or places to visit. Social media is a very important factor in today’s society and the way you use it determines the effect it will have on your life.