I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about this for a while, because I have pretty strong views on social media as a whole. I’ve written a couple of features about the correlation between social media use and mental health struggles, and I’ve based lots of my essays at University on social media in journalism. It’s a tricky one, this, because I’m an active user of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – the latter is primarily to promote my blog and actually get people to read it. But even so, I still feel like a hypocrite for saying how unhealthy I think social media use can be, when I’m an active participant in it.
Anyway, I didn’t use my Instagram account until December 2017. I just thought, I have a blog, and I like to travel, so it would be nice to have a platform to share my travel pictures and direct people to my website. I’d been putting off getting an account for ages, even though people thought I was really weird for not being on Instagram. I just knew how addictive it can be and how people make out their lives are perfect – bringing about a serious case of FOMO for their followers – when in reality, their lives aren’t at all like how they’re depicted on Insta.
Have you ever been standing in a public place, not looking at your phone, and actually taking a moment to look around you? Most people are glued to their phone, head down, scrolling aimlessly through one of the social media platforms. It’s truly eye-opening to see just how reliant people are on technology nowadays.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is great in the sense that it allows you to keep in contact with people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It’s an amazing means of long-distance communication and interaction with the rest of the world. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to do my job without it. It has given me a platform for my blog and so many cool opportunities that I would otherwise have missed out on.
But at the same time, I find myself spending so much time scrolling through Instagram. It’s actually addictive, and I think it’s one of the reasons why I procrastinate so much with my uni work. Not only this, but it’s a breeding ground for comparison. Whether it’s my deep-rooted self esteem issues, or the ‘Insta generation’ has just made me a bit shallow, I don’t know. I mean, I’d like to think I’m not shallow, and I actually have a brain. But because everyone makes their lives look so perfect, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others. “Why am I not doing that? Why am I not as successful? Why can’t I be that pretty?” Those are just a couple of examples. I feel like Instagram can bring even the most miniscule of your insecurities to the surface, and make them more of a ‘thing’ than they need to be.
I often wonder what it would be like to go back in time and live in a world without advanced technology and social media. It’s really geeky, I know – but can you imagine how much less stressful life would be? Sure, I wouldn’t have my blog, and I wouldn’t be able to rant via my keyboard (boo), and keeping in touch with friends and family would be a lot more difficult. Nevertheless, there’s something quite dreamlike about an imaginary world where people aren’t staring like robots at their phones all day, and you can actually get things done without being distracted by the constant ‘bleep’ of notifications.
Do other people feel like this too, or am I just crazy?