Social Media; Friend or Foe - Sam

When I started using social media, it was at the dawn of the internet. It was Myspace, Bebo, MSN messenger. It was quite simple in comparison to todays standard to be honest. It was almost limited to your immediate social circle. It then branched out as other social platforms were birthed and the “following celebrity culture” began, and then onto non-celebs. So it snowballed from innocent nature of posting your favourite song or posting pictures of friends into something that is a carefully curated machine set up with algorithms to ensure they can pre-group us all. However, on the other hand it has gave way to unreal innovations, connections, businesses opportunities, in fact the list is almost infinite. So I think like anything, all can be enjoyed in moderation and with care.

I'm guilty of having several platform sign ins and for allowing myself to be targeted for my interests then used for marketing techniques. Why? Because at the end of the day social media is a free platform – in terms of monetary value. Nothing is actually free. But I allow this so I can watch puppy videos and fashion show content, I do this so I can continue to communicate with friends and family worldwide, I do it so I can keep raising awareness on both my own condition, but all invisible conditions. So, do I think social media is a good thing or a bad thing? Yes, because everything is a good and a bad thing in any context. What the real question is, is accepting our own responsibilities for our actions and words on these platforms and of course, how we use them and when.

Since using social media platforms in a more productive and more conscious way, ensuring the content that I am sharing or posting is something that I am comfortable with and others will be receiving of, however – I do take it as my area, my space. To share my thoughts, things happening, things bothering me, things I love, everything. But I have different accounts for certain things, for example I am a MASSIVE fan of fashion so I have an account strictly for that, I have a small one thats for friends, family and community, then I have one for my awareness for illness/mental health and connect with a community of people who are like-minded and like-bodied as myself. I do this on Insta. On Facebook I scroll and keep on hometown gossip. On twitter, I barely use. In terms of other social platforms, I'm not much into; I lie because I have a guilty pleasure for Tik-tok, which is for dog videos and memes.

There is a thing to remember, especially for those who are more easier influenced or more into trend following, that just because the photo is on social media doesn't equate to the life it perceives, not all the time. Everything should be taken with a pinch of salt. Projecting the perfect life is hard work, because living the perfect life is even harder. Life is not linear, although the problem is that it being produced to seem that way to make the mass of us believe that the life is attainable (if you buy *their products). In truth, no-one is anything all of the time, that includes happy, successful, sad, down in the dumps. All situations can be changed, but not by working on your physicality. But by working with your real-life, without thinking “i need to take photos to post later”. Living takes priority over the curated one online.

I think if you are forgetting to keep up with social media or not posting, don't feel guilty. That means you are enjoying and processing your real life. If you are immersed in social media, by commenting, posting, networking – that's fine too. It means you need an escape to other peoples worlds. You need a bit of inspiration or a bit you time away from real social interactions. Though I do believe that it will always be better to use technology for your needs and not needing technology because of a constant reliance on the device and content itself.

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