With the advent of the digital age, came the invention of social media. Ever since then, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more have got us hooked on our phones and computers 24 hours a day. Through these platforms, we are able to e-meet new friends, catch up with our old buddies while also at the same time, keeping the conversation going. What’s more, many people earn their livelihoods as digital influencers as they promote brands across the social media platforms.
The spread of social media cannot be under-estimated. Facebook alone, according to statistics, has a whooping 1 billion users registered in the platform. Twitter follows closely by. Most of these users are millenials who have increased access to smartphones.
Social media has become second nature to us millennials but is the fact we are never truly switched off doing us harm?
Social media pet stars
The first hurdle is popularity. For example, the worry when you share a carefully filtered photo on Facebook and wait for the likes to – hopefully – add up leading your brain to somehow equate your popularity and value with how many people enjoyed that photo of you at the beach during the weekend.
Similarly, how many followers you have on Twitter does not mean you have that many actual friends. Yet for many on social media the lines can be blurry as followers can be seen as a validation for how funny, witty or interesting you are.
If you have lots of followers, the fear of making a blunder and causing outrage is also omnipresent.
Social media makes us think we are just having conversations with friends but the amount of time we spend oogling wealthy, beautiful and seemingly perfect strangers on Instagram and comparing our lives and appearances with theirs only fuels existing insecurities. As does, that Snapchat story of all your friends at the party you couldn’t attend, which to be honest was probably rubbish apart from that moment they all collectively posed for a selfie.
The rationale that nobody’s life is perfect and that what they share on social media is carefully curated and edited often goes out the window during these times.
The never-ending stream of tweets, status updates, pictures and news can feel overwhelming and like you are constantly missing something if you do not read all of it. So is it healthy to take the odd break every now and again?
Based on previous experiences, most people do not really care what you do with your life. Whether you were at the beach, 5-star hotel or at home with friends, doesn’t really matter to them. They are probably too busy with their own lives to even mind what you are doing with this.
A small percentage, on the other hand, do actually care and would wish to constantly check on you, whether you are doing okay or not. Those are the true friends. We can also say there is a small percentage who constantly check on you- albeit with some not-so-good intentions.
Let’s do some quick maths. How many `likes’ do you get on average on Facebook when you post your photo on Facebook? How many friends do you have on your account? If you equate your average likes as a percentage of your total Facebook friends, you will realise that less than 50% of your friends, actually do bother to engage with your posts. So why all that energy to post while over 60% of your friends don’t really bother to like or comment on your post?
Based on Facebook algorithms, pictures reach more people on your timeline in comparison to plain text and links. This gives us more reasons to look into the amount of time we spend on these platforms.
Staying away from these platforms, even for a little while, actually can be of help to your health. Imagine staying away from that former university classmate who is constantly posting photos of him in the office while you are still tarmacking? At least, that feeling of unworthiness that knocks you when you see such photos will go away.
So, when was the last time you logged in to your social media accounts?