It’s no surprise that social media is playing an extremely active role in our lives now. Most of us are glued to our Facebook feed, our Twitter feed, our Instagram feed, or all of the above throughout the day. There are many positive things about social media. It provides us with a way to keep up with our friends and loved ones, and it provides us with a way to stay in touch with what’s going on in the world.
However, there are definite downsides too. First of all, the average American spends 4.7 hours a day on their phones texting and checking social media. Could we be doing something more valuable with this time? Before you lose another day to Facebook or Twitter, keep the following things in mind.
1. Social media makes us compare ourselves to each other.
We are all only posting the best parts of our lives. (Well, most of it.) When you look at your friends and compare your supposed failures with their supposed successes, you are often not seeing the whole picture. You are not seeing all of the details that make up a person’s life. Studies have shown that using social media makes people feel discouraged and depressed. Social media can deeply wound our self-esteem.
2. Social media encourages shallow interactions over real conversations and connections.
I bet you have several friends and family members who you haven’t talked to in years, but because you are friends on Facebook, it feels like you are still a part of each other’s lives. Sure, you may see her cat photos and she might see the pictures of your new baby, but neither of you really know what is going on with one another. If either of you were to just pick up the phone and call or even text each other, you would have a much deeper conversation than you could ever have in Facebook comments.
3. Social media makes us seek more attention from each other.
For artists and people who are selling services, social media gives them an opportunity to spread their art or service to a wide audience in a short amount of time, which is great. But it’s not so great that we often measure our own self-worth by the amount of “likes” we get in a post.
4. Social media takes us out of the moment.
How many times have you not really enjoyed a concert because you were too busy taking videos of the band on your phone? How many times have you not really tasted your food because you were too busy thinking about the “foodstagram” you were about to post? Social media can prevent us from being present.
I’m not saying there is no place for social media, but it’s important to be aware of these types of things so you can make sure social media does not run your life. And you can try to put the phone down every now and then and have a real connection with someone.