The Duality of Online Sharing

In today’s digital age, the most efficient way to share your ideas, interests and creativity is through social media. Whether it be sharing your inner thoughts on Twitter, posting short films on YouTube or keeping people in your life updated through stories on Snapchat. But is it all sunshine and rainbows? I’ll touch on both sides, good and bad, but for now let’s start with the good stuff!

Keeping in touch…

For many of us finding time to visit with friends and family in person can be somewhat difficult. And while it is no replacement for face to face interaction, social media might just be the next best thing. It allows us to instantly connect with our loved ones and stay up to date with what is going on in each other’s lives. I was going to school out of state for a while and although I enjoyed my time there, I did miss my friends and family back home. Staying in touch with them through different platforms was something I would consider a necessity. Some platforms even include features that allow you to interact face to face! I mean it’s still technically through a screen but if I had to choose between interacting though a screen or not interacting at all, I’m choosing the screen every time.

Snapchat’s group video call feature allows up to 16 people on a single call.

Finding yourself and others…

Many platforms allow you to explore your hobbies and interests and might even make it easier for you to find other people interested in the same things as you. Take Twitter for example. You can search for keywords and see what people are saying about that topic. Which is great for making connections or just sharing your thoughts with people in a certain community. Speaking of Twitter, they actually recently added a new feature called Twitter Spaces which allows you to search for keywords and join in on live conversations about that topic. It’s essentially a group call for people to discuss their ideas or opinions about pretty much whatever they want to. I don’t personally use Twitter but I do think that this is a unique and engaging way to get people involved and connected with each other. I think getting to actually hear other people’s voices and not just reading their thoughts through text could really add to the conversation as well as making sure no one’s thoughts goes unheard.

Are you not entertained…

“Entertainment is about taking people away from the regular order of things when there is some chaos and pain and stress.”

Michael Jackson

Using social media doesn’t always have to be about making genuine connections or staying in touch with people in your life. Sometimes you just want to relax and find something to entertain yourself with for a while. Maybe you have a favorite content creator that you watch all the time and without the platform that they share on that wouldn’t have been possible. There’s a reason why YouTube is the 2nd most visited social media. Entertainment is very similar to food, in that we all enjoy different things but we don’t need an exact answer as to why we like it or dislike it. You just do or you don’t. Another positive byproduct of online entertainment is the constant flow of new ideas and creativity. So much is uploaded to the internet every day that you’re bound to come across something that you enjoy.

The dangerous side of social media…

Something often talked about but overlooked is young people’s use of social media. When most people think of arguments against children’s use of social media, they usually bring up obscene language, adult imagery and crude or violent situations. And while I agree that none of those are good for a developing mind, I think that it goes even deeper than just what we see on the surface. There is a lot of harmful content posted everywhere online that we don’t normally realize. Think about a young child stumbling across a fitness influencer. On the surface it might not seem like much, but when kids are exposed to someone with an unrealistic physique/lifestyle they might internalize that and begin to look at themselves differently. This could lead to unhealthy habits that follow them for years to come. That’s just one example of how something seemingly “normal” can be potentially dangerous in the wrong hands. There are plenty more to dive into, but maybe that is a conversation for another day…

Instagram Ranked ‘Most Dangerous’ Social Media App
For Young People’s Mental Health

There is a lot to be said about the use of social media. I think there are many advantages and many flaws. I personally feel as though social media is a tool used to benefit its users. There is, however, still a lot of room for improvement. I think the most important thing to ask yourself when deciding how you feel about the matter is “What do I want from it?” Ultimately it’s what you make out of it. There’s no right or wrong answer.