Understanding Social Media and Using it to Improve Your Life

24 October 2019. Thoughts in Featured, Social Media by
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Social media has developed into a phenomenon that has become an integral part of almost everyone’s lives, often blurring the line between one’s lived experiences and the highlight reels one chooses to post online. The shared/projected desires and dreams have resulted in a virtual life that is often far removed from one’s actual life. Despite this blurring of lines and confusion that social media often creates, people continue to use the various platforms, with much enthusiasm, because they find that social media is beneficial and adds value to their lives.

While the average person uses Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger to connect and stay in touch with family and friends, many more have pushed the boundaries with regards to what they can achieve on these platforms. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become marketing platforms for many new and budding businesses; users have found that these platforms expose them to the right audience for their brands. 

As with anything in life, social media has its disadvantages and advantages. It all boils down to what you use it for and how you use it to achieve your goals as a brand and as an individual. 

The streets of social media are paved with fantasy

The emergence of social media has undoubtedly made our lives more interesting, but how we engage with these platforms has necessitated a closer examination of how they really impact our quality of life. While we can praise social media for enabling us to reach a wide audience, thereby helping us to grow our brands, it has also fed into a culture of comparison and competition, which has sadly become one of the reasons that people have sunk deeper into the hands of depression. 

People want to be better, they want to have more and they long to be recognised; all of these desires occur in the midst of a struggle with emptiness. Social media gives users the ability to carefully curate a life that is replete with highlight reels; you can reveal parts of your life that you feel comfortable showing to the world, thereby creating a narrative that has little sad moments or shortcomings, showcasing all the highs with the hopes that they will fill the gap of not measuring up or fitting in. We post and wait, with bated breath, for the number of likes to go up, and we seek validation from there. 

Celebrities and many of the people we follow post the lavish aspects of their lives; we see broad smiles on perfect, flawless faces, and we long to trade places with them, even for a moment, just to get a break from our reality.

Social media also has its benefits

Without digging too deep into how being on social media can be detrimental to our wellbeing, let us consider how social media can add value to our lives. 

  1. Social media helps you maintain relationships by making it easy to reach family and friends who live far; it closes the gap created by distance. You may have not seen someone for a few years but newsfeed updates keep you in the loop of what is happening in their lives.

  2. There are some social bookmarking tools that can improve your access to information. Del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia, for instance, make it easier for a user to find and save relevant and useful articles, sites, posts and videos.

  3. There’s no longer a need to wish and pray for a casting agent or producer to be in the area for you to be discovered. With platforms such as YouTube, Strutta, Fray and Moments, you can showcase your talent and abilities and attract a wider audience and opportunities.

  4. In as much as social media can distract you from your goals, it can also help you accomplish them if you use the platforms effectively. Support groups exist on platforms such as Facebook and they can connect you with people who can help you achieve whatever goal you’ve set, whether it is personal or professional.

  5.  Finding it difficult to figure out where your passions lie? The internet is such a vast space with blogs and images that can bring you closer to discovering your passions. Pinterest is a great platform for exploring ideas and seeing what’s out there.

  6. Blogs are one of the most useful platforms, especially for writers. If you need a platform to express your emotions and share your musings or creative writing pieces, personal blogs are a great conduit. The best thing about a blog is that you can maintain anonymity and use the platform as a journal.

As we can see, social media can serve a good purpose and help us add value to our lives. Many of us use social media to promote projects that we’re working on. Some use it to send invites for events, others use it to build online communities. Social media can also improve our social lives and connect us with people from different corners of the globe. In order for us to continue benefiting from social media, we need to make sure that we don’t find ourselves measuring our self-worth based on the number of likes and comments on our posts or the number of followers we have. We need to be intentional about striking a balance between growing our online connections and ensuring a healthy mental state. 

How is social media improving your life? We’d love to hear from you. 

References

Chowdhury, S. (2017). 14 Remarkable Ways My Life Changed When I Quit Social Media. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/quora/14-remarkable-ways-my-life-changed-when-i-quit-soc.html

Dell, C. (2013). How Can Social Media Improve Our Lives? Retrieved from https://ccd1603.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/how-can-social-media-improve-our-lives/

Lua, A. (n.d). 21 Top Social Media Sites to Consider for Your Brand. Retrieved from https://buffer.com/library/social-media-sites 

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