Social media has negative impact on today’s society

Sarah Smith and Sarah Smith

Social media. Reading those words alone makes me either roll my eyes dangerously far back into my head or gives me a strange desire to check what every single person I’ve ever met is up to via their online presence.

A couple months ago I found myself hitting that little “permanently delete” box in the rarely frequented settings of both Facebook and Twitter (cue the gasps). In the months prior, I had battled with deleting my social media apps, vowing to take breaks from caring about what others think of my postings and constantly feeling the need to know what everyone is sharing with the world, but I always found myself re-downloading those cursed little traps after only a week or so of “freedom.”

So, after taking the plunge and deleting my accounts on Facebook and Twitter permanently, here are some things that I think we all keep in the back of our minds but never really discuss about how damaging they are to society and ourselves.

Our concept of self-worth is seriously messed up. We’ve grown accustomed to a certain affirmation coming with every little thing we do. If you’re proud of a funny tweet you came up with and don’t get at least a handful of favorites or retweets, was it really that clever or funny or interesting? Then come the flooding of self-loathing thoughts: “I guess I’m not as funny as I thought I was.” “Should I delete this post because no one has noticed it?” It took me way longer than I care to admit to realize I was getting so much of my self-worth from social media. It didn’t matter what I said or did in real life, I found myself caring more about what was going to be in solid writing or picture form, online for the world to admire forever.

Then, it’s easy to find yourself only wanting to post what you know will get attention.

We have grown to believe that without social media, we’ll be left out. Maybe this is true to a certain extent, but even if it is, that notion alone is pretty disturbing when you take a step back and look at it. “Wait you don’t have a Facebook? How are you going to stay in touch with people!?”

For myself, I found an easy solution to this conundrum – call the people I care about every once in a blue moon, ask what’s going on in my loved one’s lives face-to-face in a personal manner and, most importantly, forget the need to check in on the person I met once years ago, the roommate I never really got along with or the funny account that just makes fun of celebrities. If someone wants to be in your life or if you want to be in theirs, then you really shouldn’t need social media for that relationship to last.

I’m in no way saying I am magically cured from society’s social media addiction. I still have an Instagram and I still scroll around seeing what everyone’s doing. My main point in all this is I’m learning to grow. I’m learning to not be dependent on what others think of me. I’m realizing more and more every day that real relationships matter, real conversations matter.

We’ve become so used to the perfectly edited, filtered versions of ourselves and others that we’re losing our concept of what’s real and what isn’t. It’s been said teenagers right now are on social media around nine hours a day. For years people have discussed the lack of real life communication skills due to reliance on technology, but is the problem getting dangerously worse quicker than we thought?

These of course are just my own personal thoughts. I realize social media can be a great tool for companies, an excuse to see what old friends are up to without actually speaking to them and, ultimately, a fantastic way to admire people’s pets. However, a huge part of me feels as if nothing is real anymore.

Deleting half of my social media accounts is my way of encouraging myself to work on my relationships in a deeper manner and in large part is a metaphorical slap in the face to help me realize that loving myself for, well, myself is way more important than loving myself for what others think of me. So what do you think? Have you ever tried to log off for awhile to see what happens? Is social media something we should be more concerned about?

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