Friday, December 9, 2016

Can We Talk? The Truth About Social Media

Can We Talk? The Truth About Social Media

social-media

     Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest are now a part of my common vocabulary. I’ll admit, I’ve done my fair share of Facebook “creeping”, and I always have my iPhone or iPad with me. But, despite all this, I can honestly say that I don’t let social media rule my life. Can you say the same?

     Thanks to Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and Instagram and Pinterest (and probably some others I’m forgetting), life for some has become fixated on self-promotion, envy, jealously, and covetousness. It seems like so many people are always making sure to post all the fun things they are doing, all the cool people they are hanging out with, and each photo they post is of course “picture perfect” (even if it did take six tries). But, let’s do a reality check! A perfect picture does not make a perfect life. NO ONE HAS A PERFECT LIFE.

     I get it, if you’re having a good day, you probably can’t help but tweet or post about it, but if you are having a bad day, you’re probably sitting there, alone, looking at other’s posts, wishing you were them. And this can be a very slippery slope.

So, how many hours a day do you spend on social media websites?  Did you ever stop to think that your use of social media may be affecting you?  Here’s why it might be time to pull back from social media just a bit.

According to a study done in March of 2010 in the College Student Journal, Sharon H. Thompson and Eric Lougheed found that college women spend on average 2-4 hours a day on social media.  And, according to Kirsten Haglund, Community Relations Specialist at Timberline Knolls Treatment Center, “Social media has become a more invasive trigger of eating disorders than magazines, billboards, or commercials.”

     Social media has made it impossible to just sit there and enjoy life as it has created a suffocating pressure to always be connected and critiqued. And being connected to everyone all the time may not be as beneficial as you think. For example, females who base self-worth on their appearance tend to share more photos online and use Facebook to compete for attention. Unfortunately for some, they can become addicted to the sense of control for posting pictures/tweeting and getting feedback on their appearance, weight, etc.  And, social media can actually increase isolation because it can hold you to sit and wallow while feeling connected.

Instead, use your constant access and connection via social media for good:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Follow and post positive things about body image
  • Expose body-image lies
  • Use re-tweets, share, and likes to promote positivity
  • Use comments to build others up but don’t comment on appearance
  • Supplement all online communication with face-to-face interaction.

     So live in the moment instead of from behind your smartphone and just tell people about it later. Given the speed at which things move these days, you might not even care that much about it in a few minutes. How wonderful would it be if we all realized we were all tweeting the same nonsense, and spent more time devoted to meaningful relationships with ourselves and positive, face-to-face communication with others?

   Remember, no smiley face can replace the warmth conveyed by the smiling eyes of a loved one, and no amount of LOLs can tell us when someone is laughing so hard that they are in tears.

     What do you think? Can we talk face-to-face and in person? Sure, you can send me an invite from Facebook, but be prepared to meet me somewhere, in person, and not via a video screen or message board.

by Rosanna Catapano, ANAD Newsletter Editor

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