Social Media…a trojan horse ?
Looking at the achievements technology is making, frankly speaking it seems not even the sky is the limit. ( if you don’t believe me ask NASA )
In 1997 advancements in technology gave birth to social media.
Social media has come a long way since then. It has changed how we communicate and share information with others. We are able to connect with friends, market small growing businesses, build and maintain communities and a lot more.
People have actually been able to build an exceptional amount wealth through social media.
Even Roses have thorns
But despite how great social media can be, it can sometimes have a negative effect on you and I as individuals.
The information and audience we get on social media may at times move us to feel a certain way about ourselves or others.( example: our perception of how we level up compared to others or vice versa ).
But what we want it to all bottle down to is one thing, our mental health.
What is Mental Health
Mental health refers to your emotional, psychological and social well being. It also relates to your ability to cope with stress and anxiety.
How social media can relate to your mental health
Social media has made it easy for information to be shared and spread very fast. News and information is spread across a large audience much faster than a wild fire.
It is not just the speed at which information is shared on social media that we want to pay attention to but also the information that is sometimes spread on social media and how it is presented at times.
“Social & Emotional tripwires”
Social media in my opinion has hidden in it lots of “Social & Emotional tripwires” or “tripwires” that target our social and emotional well being. This could be information or situations that may harm our mental well being, but, much like tripwires we never really know what hit us.
With that in mind here are a couple of the “Tripwires” I hope to point out on social media.
Unfortunately, not all the news and information spread on social media comes from a reliable source.
In fact, unknowingly, a lot of people on social media share false news or information with family and friends in good will. However even though this news and information is shared in good will, it is often just misleading and causes unwarranted anxiety and stress.
With us, the people of the world, currently fighting the covid-19 pandemic and trying our best to cope with many of the pandemic’s “by-product problems”, misleading and anxiety and stress causing information can really take a toll on our mental health.
Do the profiles of other people make you feel you as a person are lacking something or maybe you feel that way when your post doesn’t get a certain level of social media attention.
Social media tends to make us build perceptions about both others and ourselves. Perceptions built on social media comparisons(comparing ourselves to others or others to others or this to that… really it is just a “web” of comparisons) which often leads to thoughts or feelings of being lesser or better than others.
Of course getting anxious in social situations in adolescents is normal but the truth is social media perceptions really don’t help the situation.
Based on the perceptions we talked about previously, social media users may build an image of themselves (self image) which may not be healthy.
A self image is the mental picture we make of ourselves, both as a physical body and as an individual.
Ask yourself :
“Could it be that I have unknowingly altered my self image based on perception derived from my social media use?”
“Is it possible that some part of my self image was influenced by how I compared myself to others on social media?”
It is important to maintain a positive but realistic self image. A positive self image can do our mental, physical, emotional and social well being a great deal of good. Moral of the story… stay positive.
For more on building a good self image you can learn more here .
“ To Go ”
What is the “take away” from this.
There are a number of things in our day to day environment that have a say on our mental health and social media is only one of them.
This article was not written to suggest that you quit social media but realize that perhaps a more responsible use of social media may be in order.
Because our social life is strongly related to our mental health we should try to invest more time in building more meaningful connections in the real world.
we can not believe everything we read on social media. It would be wise of us to first question how authentic the information is before we even think about sharing it.
To wrap it up
No animals were harmed in the production of this article.
. . . . . . that’s a wrap!!!
If you have a perspective,comment, suggestion or anything to say about this article I would love to hear it. So feel free to leave something in the comment section.
Shout out Imran Dhalla for the amazing art work and Maria Situmbeko for being an amazing grammar and spell checker.
Thanks to Maria Situmbeko.