Written by Arianit Ajdini.
Social Media is what has basically fuelled the world in the last 5 years, granted we’ve had social media for a long time but we’ve only just begun our obsession with the platform. There are many aspects of Social Media that are very positive, although just like anything, there are also bad things.
What is Social Media? A dictionary definition of the word is “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” and to translate that to English, it is a platform where you can share yourself and your opinions to the world. Some people have found the perfect balance of Social Media, they understand the limits they know what is sensible to post and comment but most importantly, they know how long to stay on it. However, some people are not so lucky to have the self-control to stay offline and ignore the negative feedback they may receive online.
According to Ofcom, “The average person checks their phone every twelve minutes” if that statistic is true, that would mean the average person checks their phone 120 times a day, that is a lot of time, but the question here is why? Why are people looking at their phones so many times a day? Why according to the MailOnline do “11% of people look at their phones during a funeral”, I mean I have never been to a funeral but are you that bored that you check your phone so much; it wouldn’t surprise me if years to come we give the dead guy a phone while he’s in the coffin cause he’s bored of being dead.
Personally, my use of social media is to explore. I have had Instagram for 5 years and have only posted 33 times, the last one being a year ago. I mainly use Twitter as my source of social media entertainment, I believe Twitter has become one of the best places to find breaking news because it will be trending or it will be on my feed. Although I use Facebook and Snapchat to communicate with friends and family, that doesn’t mean that a platform, to do the simplest of tasks, is innocent.
I feel the biggest culprit of harm being caused are Instagram and Twitter. Despite the fact that Facebook and Snapchat have its reputation of harassment and abuse, I believe that they do not compare to the impact Twitter and Instagram have.
This is not a exposé on the two social media sites, but from just going on the sites I have seen things that are alarming and ring a lot of alarms. Instagram itself is not the problem, but it is the people who use it. Although Instagram is used by most, including me, to look at friends pictures and stories, funny videos, discover new content like dance videos, DIYs and even singing, there are accounts that do much more harm than good.
The main problem, that affects young people especially, is the image they believe that they need to live up to that will gain them attention. There is nothing wrong about posing shirtless or in a bikini, however, the advertisements the same accounts do are what raises a red flag. Many weight losing companies have used social media, especially Instagram as their main source of marketing, big so-called ‘influencers’ such as Kim Kardashian have promoted products such as detox tea’s, lollipops that get rid of appetites, and so many more diet products that are dangerous and send the wrong message out to young and impressionable fans.
In Addition to that, we have people using their accounts the promote every aspect of their lives. Granted, this is a trend that has blown up in the past few years, however, people also use their platform for hate. You have brats like Danielle Bregoli, Lil Tay and bratty adults such as Rob Kardashian and Cardi B use Instagram as a platform to attack everyone. The kids are always fighting with each other, granted all kids fight but they don’t all stream it to over 16 million people on Instagram, or the even more distasteful and embarrassing scenario, use Instagram as a place to publicly shame your fiance after a bad break up like Rob Kardashian. The is one of the worst cases of revenge porn there has ever been, using Instagram to post screenshots of explicit texts and videos to ‘slut-shame’ his former fiance, although Instagram stepped in and terminated the account, the damage was already done and everyone has evidence about the event and use it to attack both the victim and the villain.
Twitter, however, is where we enter a completely different world. I have learnt a completely different language browsing through Twitter, being introduced to new definitions of words such as ‘tea’, ‘slay’, ‘wig’, ‘stan’ it’s like a high school where people speak in emoji and twitter words. The best thing about Twitter is that it allows the people’s Freedom of Speech, people can freely tweet out another to do with any comment and have their voice heard, but that can also be the very downfall of Twitter. Some of the vilest things I have seen on twitter are by a group of awful people, also known as fan bases.
It is common for a popular and successful artist to have a big fan base, who streams their music, see’s their movies, buys their products and many more, but with the love being overwhelming they will go around and insult and harass other people and their fans. Common examples are Ex-Acts, who are they I hear you not ask? It is very common for acts from Disney and Nickelodeon to break out into the music scene and they become known as ‘ex-acts’, musicians that fit into this category as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, just to name the main people.
Although they come from slightly familiar backgrounds and all become quite successful musicians, the fan bases these 4 ladies have a bit of a mixed bag. I have seen a lot of positivity, people congratulating the other on the success of their favourite but that is very much overshadowed by the hatred they have for each other.
In my books, everyone is entitled to their opinion, people have different tastes in music, films, TV, etc. However, that does not mean you have the right to insult the other person for that opinion, which is exactly what Twitter is guilty of and I have seen it all from name-calling to undermining the others success and even joking about traumatic events such as the Manchester Attacks, Selena’s near-death kidney transplant and even Demi’s drug overdose.
Below I will display just the type of interactions these groups of people have and from just reading these comments you will understand why Twitter can be the most harmful place in the world.
So back to the question, why do we love social media so much, why does it appeal to us so much? Honestly, we are bored. Mankind no longer has any free will or any imagination anymore to do something spontaneous, nowadays the most spontaneous thing a person does is the switch from Apple to Samsung. However, the world isn’t empty of wonder because you are most likely watching them on the screen. What I call the 1%, these are the rock climbers, the people who go to the best places not only to get the shot but also to experience culture, you have most likely seen a video of someone doing some amazing and have uttered the phrases ‘I want to do that’ or ‘I want to do that someday’.
The main thing to take away from this is, technology has come a long way in the last decade, these devices are amazing and help us in our day to day life, but we have to stop making phones a second limb, it’s a luxury, not an accessory and definitely not always necessary.