OPINION: Social media: Further apart than ever
Updated: Nov 10, 2022
With the current state of affairs ongoing within the world's politics, we are supposed to be closer and more connected with each other than ever, with social media apps helping us become more interconnected, yet we find ourselves driven further apart than ever before.
Back when Instagram was created on the 4th of October, many people had no idea what a giant it would become 12 years down the road. Instagram was simply used to post photos of each other not to brag or to advertise (maybe a little bragging, but don’t we all?) but to have a fun time, maybe have a little laugh at the silly pose that John did the other day, but when we look at Instagram now we see a huge social platform to help cram products down our throats and make ourselves feel bad when someone puts a post up showing how extravagant, extraordinary and epic their lives are. This begs the question:
Are we becoming more divided, separated or ignorant as time passes on?
As I am writing this I am thinking to myself: What are the effects that social media is having not only on our social lives but our mental health? Are we becoming more sad as our attention is being harvested by the likes of Mark Zuckerburg or Evan Spiegel who seem to be no longer in the money market, but in the attention market as they line their pockets with our attention and get investors who aren’t asking for profit but more users flooding onto these apps to use more of their personal time on something so fruitless and inutile. Not only does it take away our real lives and replace them with virtual lives which bear little to no fruit and while this happens the ones up there are making money off our backs.
There are so many negatives about social media that it’s difficult to see the positives, but I still see them which is why I, myself, still utilise these apps but to my advantage and not to reduce productivity (Although there are plenty of times I’ve lost a few hours on the sofa scrolling, who hasn’t?) The positives I can see with these, in the right dosage of course, it is easier access to friends and using the apps to meet friends in person is one of the main advantages which has been lost in the bottomless pit of attention. One last positive before I move onto the real topic would be having communication with people who you may know who have changed countries. However, besides these, the other uses are often destructive as well as ruining and driving us further apart.
Now onto the real topic: Social media and its effects socially and mentally.
As the Joker says, “We live in a society” (Yes I know it’s cringe, sue me) this statement, when I hear it now underneath the physical recoil I hear after I hear someone say this, I begin to agree and see logic underneath it because our society of now is quite a stretch from the hunter/gatherer times we used to live in- one where you can turn the corner and there’s a Maccies followed by a corner shop and (A topic I want to touch on another day) your family neighbourhood vape salesman who appears to enjoy selling to mere children. But, disregard all that drivel and get down to the point (again), social media has driven us apart, in every which way you squeeze, no matter if it’s Tik Tok, Instagram Reels or Snapchat spotlight there is a clear sign which points us to the facts and truths so many people are too scared to confront: That social media is killing our mental health and is driving us apart with every update, designed towards our pleasure and instant gratification. We need to limit our time used on these apps before they start setting limits to our own productivity and we become more and more glued to our screens as time passes by, then we need to consider our money and the products we waste it on and “Just because KSI and Logan Paul made it”, to me, is not a good enough excuses to go buy some drink that costs £2 for £15, the commercialisation that is plaguing social media has turned a lot of people into consumers who just chase a box of cereal with a rappers face on it.
Now here is a question I’m going to answer for you: Do you know the statistics about how it damages our mental health and causes suicide? Because of how we either see people who have better lives than us or people in competition on how terrible their lives are compared to ours, what this creates in many young women and men nowadays is this feeling of missing out or the idea that they are not good enough for the lives they are living. Because of how easy this is accessible it could turn someone from not caring about anything and having a good time living life without worrying about what someone may be saying about them or knowing someone is having a better life than them into someone who tries so hard to fit in that they do the opposite and end up making a mockery of themselves as well as finishing with less friends than they started with. Now here is a statistic which will be hard to read but is necessary for you: over 79% of people on social media are exposed to suicide-related content and 11-12% of people who use social media have suicidal ideation, which is where they fantasize about suicide. While these numbers are small it’s still enough for red flags to be raised, so questions should be asked if it is really helping us, because the short-term pleasure we feel from scrolling ends up turning into long-term mental health issues. These statistics should scare you, because of how you could unknowingly be a part of these statistics and the fact that there is evidence proving how using social media can drive you to suicide or thinking about it, so ponder this carefully before we move to the next topic.
Next area of discussion: How social media is connecting us, yet disconnecting us from the real world. Now, I understand that as you are reading this (and I would like to thank you for reading this far, it is much much appreciated) you are potentially thinking to yourself “This guy is crazy clearly social media is fine for me I watched a TikTok that said so and so”. Well as much as you may believe that, you need to go outside and remember that you have a purpose on this planet that isn’t watching TikToks thinking this is 'the pinnacle' because it ain’t. So, I’m gonna tell you a little thing I noticed the other day in this great city of Peterborough.
There I was, sat down on those weird chairs they have inside the shopping centre and I was observing the crowds passing by and almost over half of these people were staring at their phones with gormless expressions on their faces and I remember thinking at this very moment “Is this the human condition? Is this what we worked tooth and nail for?” It’s sad to say but it is, we fought our wars and lost millions of lives all just to spend a weekend staring at our phones in a shopping centre, which is a perfect segway into the actual topic, we are less interactive with each other as humans. We prefer to talk as some bitmoji’s, sending snaps 24/7. I realise as I am typing this that our extroverts are being turned into introverts and our introverts can no longer remember the colour of grass. Through social media we; hold conversations, create relationships, flirt, make limitless friends and become more introverted as time passes by, we can’t just allow these apps to make our generation the most antisocial and introverted there has ever been, so if you took the time to avert your eyes from your screen and look up to the population around you you would see exactly what I am talking about, with everyone you see having their eyes glued to their screens and not looking in front of them.
Social media is slowly killing our social lives and our mental health with us becoming the most connected and driven apart generation there has ever been.
So to conclude this, for the few readers who finished this not only must I give appreciation but a little advice: as much as we get driven apart, we can stick together if we lessen the amount of time we waste on these apps because if we just stay on these apps we will end up driven so far apart that there may be no way to come back together. So my fair reader, maybe now is the time to spend some quality time with your parents or make that connection through social media with a long-lost friend of yours and meet again in the real world, because in the end, we don’t know if we could see our friends again because like all things one day it stops without us noticing that we may not see that friend again, as we walk back home, phone clutched in hand scrolling through TikTok.
Thanks for your time and I must bid you farewell old friend and subscribe for more articles from Inside the Box!