Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Let's Talk: Social Media

Ever since I first joined social media, I've always found it to be a very toxic place. Obviously there are positive aspects too, such as the ability to find and make friends with like minded people and now you can even have a career as a social media influencer, which is amazing! But on the whole, it's not usually a tool that is used to make you feel happier and better about yourself.

When I was thirteen, I made a group of friends online and everything was great. We would meet up in real life too, but not as frequently because we lived in different parts of the country. I spent so much of my time talking to these girls online and I felt like I had a bigger connection to them, than my friends at school. I finally had friends that had the same interests as me and just understood me, I no longer felt like the odd one out. Time went by and the friendships just became slightly toxic. They knew me and knew what to say to make me feel awful about myself. I started to become really unhappy every time I came online and was extremely depressed, so I decided to just stop coming online for a while. I went completely cold turkey and wouldn't use any form of social media for months and months. If they texted me, my Mum would slyly delete it, so I wouldn't see it. I think it was during this time period where my obsession and love for Harry Potter really began. It brought me so much joy and it sort of put all the broken pieces back together again. By the time I came back online again, I was stronger. And I never spoke to those girls again.

Since then, I've haven't had any form of a social media break. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that I'm now completely addicted and I hate it so much. I'm currently not in the best place with the mental health issues I suffer with and I feel like social media does not help this at all. Wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I can't go very long without checking the usual apps and constantly refreshing. I see others that are the same age as me having their lives completely together and it just seems so perfect, so I start to tear myself apart at the comparisons and I think what I could change about myself to become better and more like them, which becomes very soul destroying.

The part I hate the most is that thing we're all probably guilty of doing. Going to a certain person's page, where we know we will definitely see something that will hurt us, but we do it anyway because we just have to be fully aware of what's happening. I'm so guilty of this, it's almost like a thing I have to do now, or I feel anxious. It's like, I'd rather know certain things before someone dm's me to tell me themselves (and gloat) It's constantly just a lot to take on board and deal with. Sometimes, it just gets too much and I tell myself enough is enough and I need a social media break but I think having a break and coming back and seeing everything in one go would just be too much to handle.

People's behaviour on social media can be so odd. Some of us are the same online as we are offline, but there are others just are just completely different and it's so strange. For example: There are people that I know that are in committed relationships in real life, but online they completely act like they're single and even send other girls sexual messages, telling them how good they look in their recent selfie and how they want to kiss them. In normal everyday life, this would be classed as cheating and a huge no, no, but because it occurs online, they think it's normal behaviour that is okay? Others don't even bother to communicate with you anymore. If a problem arises, they'll always opt for an indirect tweet, rather than actually speaking to you about it at all.

Another thing I despise about social media is how no one even bothers to try and get to know you and find out the real you anymore. They quickly search for one of your social media accounts, scroll through your updates and simply judge you purely on your online presence and how much of a following you have. They'll read a few tweets and start to create this idea in their head of who you are, without even speaking one word to you. I met a guy on a dating site a while back and when I started to tell him little pieces of information about me, he just replied with "Yeah, I know. I saw it on your Twitter." WHICH I HADN'T EVEN GIVEN TO HIM!! 21 century dating is not fun at all. I also had a situation with an individual that only knew my boyfriend, but would keep checking up on me on all forms of social media. Of course, they would never say a word to me, but still made sly little digs to other people about me. Again, such strange behaviour because I know they wouldn't act like this in person, so why is it okay because we're separated by a screen?

I've been thinking a lot about my social media usage recently and I realise that I mostly find it to be quite unhealthy. As I try to improve my state of mind, I'm definitely going to try and cut down the amount of time I spend scrolling and refreshing. Instead of wasting hours upon hours of my time looking at things that make me unhappy and crush my self-esteem a little bit more, I'm going to try and make a conscious effort to do something much more worthy of my time. I also think I'm going to start using my private Twitter a lot more because I think it's healthy to have a place to be able to vent all your thoughts and knowing that they won't affect or harm anyone else.

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