Take a moment and think about social media and how it has affected your life. Do you automatically think of positive or negative things? Does the good outweigh the bad or vice versa? It is definitely a challenging thing to determine because in a way social media has consumed every aspect of our lives. The minute I wake up after turning off my alarm I am checking my emails, scrolling through Instagram pictures, watching the Snapchat Stories I missed from the night before, and seeing whose birthday it is on Facebook. For me this everyday routine is such a norm that I don’t even realize I am doing it, but many other people disagree and think that it is a causing more harm than good.
Before I started writing this post I typed into google “social media and mental health” to see what popped up. To my surprise, the first page of Google consisted entirely of articles about the negative impacts it can have. Every article was about the dangers of social media or tips on why you should stop using social media as often as we do. This shocked me. I understand there are definitely harmful things that can come from over using it, or using it in a harmful way, but I was surprised that not one article shed light on the positive effects it can have on people.
Growing up in the millennial generation learning how to work technology and social media was second nature to me. It has been there ever since I can remember and I really cannot imagine a time without it. Because of this, I view these tools in a more positive light than maybe someone who is older than I am would.
Below are my thoughts on social media and some of the many positive effects it can have on people:
It can boost your confidence
When we make our online profiles, we generally like to show the public the best parts of ourselves. We choose flattering pictures and share exciting experiences we’ve had. By focusing on showing everyone else what we like about ourselves, we in turn can see what makes us so great and this can be a huge confidence booster. So post that #selfie and share that awesome video you made on vacation. Be confident in your social media posts and you will feel confident in yourself!
It can make you step out of your comfort zone
We’ve all heard the silly term “do it for the Gram” but in a way this motto can inspire us to take a step out of our comfort zone to try something new, even if your original intention was only to do it to show off for your followers. Don’t know if you should try sushi for the first time, but the table next to you has a picture perfect plate of it in front of them? Order the sushi! Not only will you get a great pic for your Instagram page but you also can cross something off your bucket list.
It can help us stay connected
Staying connected with friends is never an easy thing. We all get busy with our everyday lives and forget about the promise you made to your high school bestie when you ran into her at the grocery store to grab coffee sometime. Social media makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with people and up to date on their lives, even if you’re thousands of miles apart. By simply scrolling through Facebook you can congratulate a friend for getting their dream job, or wish someone luck as they move to a different country.
It keeps us up to date on the world around us
In my history class last week my professor was interested in seeing where we acquire our news from. To her surprise 90% of our class said their go-to source to see what’s happening in the world around us is social media. Sure we still might turn the news on the TV while we make breakfast in the morning but the reality is that for my particular demographic, we rely on social media to stay in the know. One girl in my class explained that her main use of Twitter is to stay updated on current events. She follows several local and national news stations as well as political leaders and rarely uses it for anything else. With headlines popping up at our fingertips on pretty much every social media platform, my generation is more apt to stay in the know using these outlets.
It can promote a healthy lifestyle
Although obesity is on the rise and Americans are continuing to lead unhealthy lifestyles, I personally think social media has a way of motivating people to stop binge-watching Friends for the sixth time and get some exercise. Whether it’s pinning motivational quotes to a board on Pinterest, checking out Kayla Itsines’ newest workout on Instagram, or watching a Tasty video of how to make a delicious shrimp salad wrap on Facebook, inspiration and motivation to improve your lifestyle are everywhere.
Next time you start to judge social media and all of it’s negative impacts and research associated with it, take a moment and think about why you use it and why you have so many profiles on so many different platforms. Social media for me does more good than bad and if used correctly, it can do the same for you too!