14th October 2014

Switch Off Social Media

Now we’ve left our teenage years, is it time to stop fretting about how many Facebook likes we have? Charlotte Wheatcroft thinks so

Social media is now a billion-pound industry and we almost see it as indispensable in our daily lives. It’s now on your phone, your tablet and your laptop—there’s no escape. Someone who doesn’t utilise one on the three major social networking sites—Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—is not only a rarity but seen as unusual, even an oddity.

However, social media gives us the dangerous ability to create fake persona of ourselves: you can construct your own social image, a better ideal you, probably quite unlike the real you. Simply look to the recent story of Zilla, the Dutch student who faked an entire five week trip to Asia through the use of Photoshop. She quotes “my goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality.” Through social media, you cannot ever get a true picture of a person; they can hide behind the screen and make you believe what they want you to. You can construct your own identity and your own reality.

Using social media promotes insecurity; you do not look at who a person is but who they appear to be. This insecurity is especially predominant in relationships: likes and photos can completely be taken out of context and insecurities arise causing rifts between people. Their relationship status has more likes than mine, therefore their relationship is superior. This correlation between likes and success is dangerous.

Stop comparing yourself to the seemingly exotic lifestyles of your peers. Just because you don’t have holiday pictures online doesn’t mean you never went on holiday. Just because your relationship isn’t ‘Facebook official’ doesn’t mean you’re not in one. You don’t need evidence of your experiences. Your experiences shine through you (the real you that is) by the way you talk, or see the world, by the conversations you hold and the friends you keep. Social media has diminished the value of communication. Stop hiding behind social media and go out and talk to people again, make the effort to meet them and see who is really worthwhile of your time.

Stop judging someone’s worth by their Facebook likes, re-tweets and Instagram loves. Who knows what lurks behind a computer screen!?

So have a go, switch off social media see if you like it more. We’re a generation that has grown up on social media and maybe now we’re effectively adults, maybe it’s time to turn the clocks back?

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