Social media has affected our lives positively and negatively.
It has helped us stay connected with our old peers, establish friendships with new people including colleagues and strangers. We have seen the exponential growth of social media through the years, with messages and posts going across countries from one end to another. Because of social media, a plethora of opportunities in whatever aspect of life opened up, be it for work or growing one’s network. Social media has helped spark conversations that have led to global movements and significant change.
But like a double-edged sword, the medium has also been abused and filled with fake news and hate messages. Yes, it served as a bridge to connect us with others and bring to light the world’s pressing issues such as climate change, extreme poverty, and racism. Without social media, some problems would have never been brought to the fore. But because it’s accessible and free for anyone to use, accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatnot have been used for bullying, recruiting terrorist members, manipulating the public, and promoting violence and hate.
This is damaging because, even though we don’t notice it sometimes, the content we get exposed to has the power to change our mindsets and affect the way we act.
To quantify social media by the numbers, Lifespan.org compared the 5% social media users in the United States to about 70% in 2019. It’s popular among teenagers with a report that says an average teen from aged 13 to 18 years old spends about nine hours a day just scrolling through social media and probably chatting with friends. In addition, the tweens, who are from ages 8 to 12, spend six hours a day.
Benefits of Social Media
1. Serves as a mode of communication for family and friends
With the advent of social media, people no longer have to meet in person just to deliver their message. It only takes a direct message or a call to keep in contact with loved ones. Social media posts also capture a part of a person’s life and give a glimpse of it to friends or family.
2. Gives Access to Information
While going to libraries is still very much valuable, the Internet is also a rich treasure trove of information. There are many credible sources, many of which take to their official social media pages and share information on their events, papers, studies, research, and updates.
3. Provides Remote Jobs and Gives Exposure for digital content creators
While there are some who still don’t consider it as a job, many earn a sum from digital content creation, so much so that more people are dreaming of testing the waters out. Creatives no longer have to tap big institutions or sponsors to get noticed. They just have to exert their best in what they do and should not be afraid to get it out there in the social media space. Even recruiters also look for potential employees via Facebook groups or Instagram feeds.
4. Encourages people to have Civic engagement
Social media has been effectively used by organizations and movements to spread their advocacies and invite people of the same principles to join their causes. The Black Lives Movement for instance has long been established in 2015 but it gained more attention when in 2020, videos of African-American George Floyd losing his last breath to a white policeman surfaced. In the same vein, private individuals have also raised funds through social media in an effort to help areas characterized by war, poverty, and violence.
Cons of Social Media
a) Gives a distorted view of the self
With the growth of social media, many people have unconsciously attached their self-worth to the number of likes, shares, and reactions their posts elicit from family, friends, and strangers alike. As we scroll, we regularly see the number of likes our peers get and some have the tendency to compare up to the point of frustration.
b) Has made Bullying rampant
When it’s free to use, there are higher chances that people will use it to propagate hate. It’s easy to hide behind the computer screen and lash out offensive comments and spread lies about another person. There are some extreme cases in that cyberbullying has to lead to depression, anxiety, and suicide.
c) Manipulating into joining violent movements
The Internet has its share of dark corners so you have to tread in it lightly. It has been found that some social media accounts or groups have been used to recruit terrorists and gangsters, spreading a violent agenda. Fake news also spreads like wildfire and has been fooling many.
d) Leads to Addiction
Social media is designed to lure you into a trap of doomscrolling. You go from one post to another, sparking interest in you until you don’t notice that you have already been on your phone for two hours or so. It has become a common scenario to say that you’ll just take a five-minute social media break, only to fall right into for hours nonstop.
How to explore social media with a grain of salt
Do not easily trust posts you see. Be proactive and do your own research. Check if the resources are legitimate.
Use Do Not Disturb Apps that block off social media sites for the time being. Examples are Cold Turkey and Stay Focused.
Do not make social media your only hobby. Put your phone down and maybe dabble into painting, reading a book, trying out urban gardening, swimming, or playing a musical instrument.
Before signing up for any movement, make sure that the core mission and vision of the group align with your personal ideals and principles. Be discerning.
Do not seek validation from social media. Hold your relationships with family and friends dearly.
Stay Disciplined during a social media work break
You don’t have to fall into the trap of using social media for hours on end. You could still practice discipline while having a social media break when you’re feeling burnt out from work. So don’t deprive yourself if you really want to see what’s going on on the World Wide Web. What you could do to make sure you get back into fulfilling your tasks is having the right furniture in your workstation.
To keep your mind focused and alert, standing desks are a great option to keep your mind focused and alert. Flexispot’s EF1-42''W Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk will be a great addition to your workstation. The desktop size is 42” x24”, spacious enough for your monitor and desk essentials. The height range of this desk starts at 27.9” all the way to 47.6”. This desk comes with a height programmable control panel with four memory buttons to save your sitting and standing height preferences. The lifting speed is one inch per second while producing a sound no louder than 50 decibels. The weight capacity is 154 pounds or 70 kilograms. It has four desktop color options: mahogany, maple, black, and white. You may add caster wheels to this unit upon purchase.