Our Everly Mag Writing Leaders were asked to think about their social media journey. We asked them when they started using social media, which sites they use, and how their experience with social media been. We also asked our Writing Leaders to think critically about how social media could be improved, what life would be like without social media, and what they think the future of social media will look like.
This article was written by our writing leader Jenni. Get to know our Summer 2018 Leaders here!
Social Media. It is supposed to be a place to unite your friends and families. But sometimes it grows out of hand and instead of being a place to unite people, it’s a competition on who can get the most likes on Instagram, or retweets on Twitter, or screenshots on Snapchat. I have been on social media for nearly 10 years! That means I’ve been on Facebook since the second grade. I’ve been a part of the online world since I was a young girl. (I had parent’s permission to use social media of course). I have nearly every social media account available. I understand the atmosphere of the online world.
My journey started out with me making a Facebook account. I only made it so that I could play Facebook games like Happy Pets. I didn’t post any pictures related to myself and I only friended people I knew. A couple years later I made a Snapchat to keep in touch with elementary friends. Before I knew it, I had made an Instagram, a Twitter, and a Tumblr. At first I only made them for keeping in touch and finding relatable quotes, but pretty soon things got out of hand.
It started when one of my friends posted a picture of herself on Facebook. I saw that it got a whopping fifty likes. I decided to post my first selfie when I started middle school. I posted it on Facebook and it is currently sitting at fourty likes. Somewhere along the line, social media stopped being a place for me to unite with my friends and families. Instead of it being a gift of connecting people around the world, it became a curse. It became a place of competition to see who was the most popular. Gaining likes and retweets was like a game of chess, and everyone in it were the chess pieces.
I decided to start another Instagram page to gain popularity on the internet. I posted pictures of fashion and cosmetics. Pretty soon I was gaining thousands and thousands of followers. I promised myself to take a break after reaching my goal of followers. But every time I reached that goal I raised the bar even higher. I suddenly cared about social media so much that it became a priority in my life.
I finally got a slap back to reality when my grades started dropping. I decided it was best to delete my page and take a break from social media for a while. I took this time to heal myself. During my social media frenzie, I neglected to care about myself and I kept comparing myself to everything I saw on the internet. I took this time to reflect and realize that not everything you see on the internet was what it seemed. I also realized that I joined social media to connect with my distant friends, not to be competitive with them. After about half a year, I decided to remake my Instagram page and start from the beginning. I stopped checking the number of likes on my photos and the number of screenshots I had gotten on Snapchat. At the end of the day those are just numbers on a screen.
Now, I am not saying that social media is a toxic environment. Social media can be a great tool that you can use to your advantage. Whenever I join a competition and one of the categories is fan favorite, for example. I already have a good fan base for me to easily win that category. I send my fans the link to the competition and have them vote for me over the internet. I’m able to stock up thousands of votes using this method. It can also be a great way for you to bring attention to a problem. For example, someone you know could be starting a GoFundMe to raise money for medical care. You could ask you followers for donations and raise money that way. Another way you could use social media is to empower others. You can use your account to inspire other people to be the best versions of themselves. A simple comment that complements someone can make their day.
Social media can be a curse and a gift. It just depends on how you want to use it. When you stop thinking about the amount of likes and followers you have and you focus on empowering other people, you’re not only making your life easier you’re making someone else’s life a little better.
How do you use social media as a tool to do good? Comment below!
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