Words By Matthew Spence:
Social Media: The platform that makes a generation say “I don’t wanna do this, but fuck it”. And why not, right? Our family and friends are on it, we get to be up to date with our favorite creators and influences, you have the opportunity to express yourself and grow your own platform, follow news in real-time and spread awareness to good causes, find local events, and of course, the most incredible thing invented since sliced bread and condoms; memes. For Christ’s sake, we’re able to casually meet people from all over the globe from just a device in our pockets. It doesn’t even need to be from a desktop or laptop anymore. That’s fucking incredible when you really think about it.
A little reminder, if you were to travel back in time to the 80s and tell a person about social media and the massive effect it will have over the world, they would’ve told you to go fuck yourself in the ear. However, it’s a classic case of “you can’t have too much of a good thing”. (Don’t worry, this won’t be another “Social media is bad, Burn it down, THINK OF THE KIDS” article… however). They say on an average day we make about 35,000 decisions a day, even if that’s not an accurate study or that number doesn’t apply to you, let’s say we make 30 decisions a day. Of the 30, we regret a few, correct? Whether in the moment or later on down the line. Getting involved with social media overall can be and has been a regret for many.
Think back to before we decided to sign up for an account. The sky was blue, the animals greeted you with a “Sup G”, and every time you walked outside, the Vegetales theme song constantly played. Life before joining social media felt and feels like a lifetime in an alternate world. [I can speak from personal experience] You’re in our own pink bubble. Focused on yourself more, and feel less attached to your phone. Your view feels more colorful and symmetric like in a Wes Anderson movie. Now many would argue, “But you’ll be living under a rock” sure, to some degree, however, we’d still get the news we’d need to know about from other sources: (more trustable) news outlets and friends.
That idea of “wanting to mindlessly scroll” feels like a concept so foreign, you understand how the people felt about the Wright Brothers when they were talking about some weird concept of “trying to fly a plane”. Your mental health feels like a Smooth Jazz record (mostly) versus when you’re constantly on it, turning your mind into Acid Rap (shout-out to Acid Rap, the sub-genre). We’re not submerging ourselves in insecurity by seeing people who make us feel inadequate and less desirable for society in general, whether by looks or feeling less talented/gifted, or feeling that we don’t have a grip on ourselves and our identity. You’re not on a consistent battle of trying not to feel less accomplished seeing your peers and others convey that they’re doing more with their lives (also adding the fact they get more likes and follows than you do not help) while you sit and essentially watch. Picture “Being John Malkovich” except less cool and artistic. FOMO (fear/feeling of missing out), we have it whether we want to admit it or not, so seeing your friends do shit on their story and posts, while you feel bothered by not being there (whether uninvited or just couldn’t attend for other reasons). Plus, don’t get me started on the motherfuckers on Twitter. If I wanted to hear out-of-pocket opinions by obnoxious assholes, I’d talk to my friends.
You’re accessible to negativity as we’re able to find out about all the morbid shit happening from across town to South America. They’re studies on how social media affects the mental health of Gen Z (linking to anxiety and depression). Now, this isn’t to exile social media, cause obviously, we shouldn’t sweep the positives under the rug. However, the negatives are valid to focus on.
That being said, some people are too far gone from life without it. In today’s time, careers require using it, whether promoting their music, local bakery, etc. Many may enjoy that but even the most consistent get overwhelmed. My suggestion: A break (Woah so fucking groundbreaking, right!?) The amount of time is up to you: a day, two days, a week, a month, a year, go for whatever winds your clock. In times where everything is documented to post online, reminding ourselves “Social media isn’t real”, there needs to be a moment where you sit and smell the garden again. Limiting the use of social media can lead to more free time for doing productive shit, which in turn will help with mental health. Pamper yourself in that time, however, you make yourself happy.
- Turn off notifications
- Have people text you through your number
- Remove the app from your home page
During an interview with WSJ Magazine, Model (and Icon) Bella Hadid discussed the Instagram posts of her crying during depressive episodes. She said something that spoke: “Even though on Instagram things look so beautiful, at the end of the day, we’re all cut from the same cloth” later stated: “I don’t have to be on it [Instagram] forever. I feel like real is the new real and that’s what’s important to me”. Valid and Valid, and sure some may think “Thanks Captain No Shit”, however, it’s reminders like that and others that people need. We get in our heads and blind ourselves and need reminders to step away.
Cause at the end of it all, Social media is here to stay and we’re gonna be around it directly and indirectly. Getting rid of it from our daily lives isn’t an easy A/B/C/D process and you just do and move on as if nothing happened, hell to reiterate, people’s careers rely on it. But the feeling of being free shouldn’t be just a memory. You don’t have to drop everything and delete your accounts, figure out times to take a break to remember to live in your world.
This is a PSA brought to you by the number 12: For 12 reasons “why you probably don’t give a fuck about my opinion”.