One of the most relatable topics for this time and age, social media’s influence and control has been heavily debated. With everyone arguing over the benefits and drawbacks of the industry, it’s an endless volley of blame.
One side argues that social media has brought us great benefits, and it has allowed us to empower society. While another argues that we are now all under the mercy of the button pressing, screen swiping industry.
I’ve read countless articles calling us all to arms from both sides of the argument. They either persuade us to forgo social media or to glorify it. I’ve found myself contemplating about it for the past few weeks, trying to find where I stand.
Social Media is Good
Just like everybody else, social media is surely a part of my life. I’d even have to say I can’t imagine life without it. Nowadays, I use it for work, for studies and even for research. No, I’m not confusing social media with the Internet. The amount of information on social media platforms are incredibly diverse and in-depth. This is also because of notable news agencies and prominent figures on each of the platforms.
Other than the information being just a click away, social media has also helped in, well, my social life. It’s much easier to connect with my friends by dropping a voice note or a random text or comment on their page. Also, it’s very much easy to stalk keep in the know about my friend’s current undertakings.
Social Media is Bad
Speaking of the great one-swipe-know-all phenomena, there are certainly many drawbacks from this. One of it being: we are making the world smaller, even borderline suffocating. Much like how McLuhan had predicted a global village, we have all lost a semblance of privacy and security.
Now with social media, all that we post, all that we say or do, is under scrutiny of the greater public. Daily, we meet our vast audience, post and type waiting for our likes and shares.
Suddenly our purpose to connect has morphed into something else. It becomes a combat ground for the amount of likes or comments on a post. Now, it’s all about the likes you get, to make you feel better.
So who is right?
My answer: Neither.
Having both sides in mind, it’s a bit of a sham to fully agree that social media is the unencumbered saviour of our society, because we all know it has draw-backs. On the other hand, to treat it like it has destroyed our lives isn’t completely right either. All this is working on the assumption that social media has the power to do this to us.
However, the truth to the matter is, it technically doesn’t.
The only reason that social media can do what it does is because of one important driving force: Us. Its capacity to do both good and bad depends solely on the users’ intent.
This illusion of power has blinded us to the fact that you have played a part in this world and that nothing can make you feel inferior without your consent. Remember, power is mostly illusion, as pointed out by Varys in Game of Thrones, Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.
So, never let negative experiences on social media lead to hating yourself or allow it to justify hating your world. Social media is not life. It’s just a small portion to what is truly a wondrous and magical existence.
Don’t let something like the number of likes you get on your selfie measure your self-worth. Don’t let someone’s post or comment wholly shape how you view the world.
All in all, I think, we need to stop defining who we are through social media, and instead start defining social media in our own terms.