[left][/left][right] [dropcap]S[/dropcap]ocial media is always being thrown under the bus a little bit. Whether it’s stopping us from going outside, ruining our self-esteem, or inciting hate, it’s safe to say that social media influences everything we do in 2017, whether we like it or not. I use messaging apps to chat with my friends when I’m not with them, apps like twitter and instagram to engage with you guys, and facebook to check into airports when I’m going away and want everyone to know. You know the drill.
I think that a lot of the bad press that social media gets is a little off. It’s often associated with being lazy, not appreciating the world around us, and being self-absorbed. I guess in some cases this might be spot on. In most, however, I’m not so sure. Personally, I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with being self-absorbed. Taking selfies, posting pics, sharing what you’re up to – they’re all part of growing to love yourself. I said recently that I’ve been losing a lot of instagram followers lately (this has luckily picked back up) all because I started posting more photos of myself. I didn’t do that to show off, if anything I did it purely because I felt comfortable[/right] enough to do so. It made me like myself more, and made me a happier person.
But anyway, I’m not here to defend social media. I don’t think it really needs defending. It’s necessity does all the defending it needs.
Is social media making me lonely?
If I don’t take time to think about it, my answer is a little laugh and then a hard ‘no’. If anything, social media connects us in a million different ways. I can message my friends from the other side of the world, see what they see through their snapchat and instagrams, and laugh at their funny stories through facebook. All without seeing them face to face, or even engaging in conversation. I know what all of my friends are up to, most of the time.
But then, this lack of face to face contact is a weird one. Sure I can chat, but I can also lay awake at night and swipe and double tap and comment ‘lol’ on the odd meme that someone has tagged me in. This, quite often, is what counts for social interaction in my life.
Again, I’m not sure whether I can blame social media for this entirely. I’m an introvert and a sufferer of depression and anxiety, and much of the stuff I do alone in my room is stuff that I genuinely want to do. I’m happy to sit on my laptop, binging Parks and Rec for the millionth time, liking pics on instagram and occasionally texting a pal. I’d prefer that, in may ways, to going out and doing something out of my comfort zone with people I don’t know very well.
It’s difficult to find the perfect balance between being happy by myself, and being unhappy by myself. Sometimes I’m so preoccupied with the idea of getting the perfect instagram, or writing the perfect blog post, that I forget to actually enjoy myself with the people around me.
I’ve been thinking about this problem a lot recently. I’ve been cutting back on time spent taking snaps of what I’m doing, and spending more time enjoying the moment. It’s been nice, and I’ve had some really lovely times with good friends. But actually, what I’ve realised is that I don’t need to change anything at all.
I’m not one of those rude people, constantly glued to their phone while you make conversation with the top of their head. I’m not constantly checking for messages from people more interesting than the one’s I’m with, and I’m not taking up people’s time with elaborate instagram flatlays of meals when they’re just not necessary. I, without even thinking about it, separate business and pleasure pretty well.
So is social media making me lonely? I don’t think so.
I think it has the potential to. And I think I could easily let it run away with me. But also I think I’m not that kind of person. I know where to draw the line between real life and the online world.
If anything, I think social media has made me feel more like I’m part of something than anything else ever has. I’ve found a community online in blogging and instagram, and I’ve used my insight to have really interesting conversations with friends and family in the real world.
You just can’t let it get to your head. x0