We live in a world where for many, their greatest asset is no longer the amount of wealth they amass, but rather the amount of likes, followers and comments they get on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and a host of other Social Media networks have become the sole basis of most of our conversations and emotions.
Majority of us are guilty for using these platforms as an avenue to boost our ego. On most occasions we turn to social media to re-establish our sense of worth. We use social media as a means of coping and this can be a bittersweet experience. For instance, in times of grief, it can be a great way to receive support and encouragement, however in another sense it can also be an attention seeking platform.
When asked why they used Social Media, a few EMU students said that their sole aim was to interact with the rest of the world when they signed up, but now more features have been included to the networks and keeping in touch is no longer the priority.
Social Media can have negative effects on our health. Studies show that getting “likes or comments” for a post actually results to a mental health condition that occurs through the release of dopamine, a compound present in the body as a neurotransmitter. In layperson terms, it is a chemical released to the brain that is associated with pleasure and psychological addictions.
It is no doubt that Social Media has indeed fostered effective communication amongst us; however, it has also lead to depression and sometimes self-hate.
Gundem’s Jemimah Atii had an interview with some EMU students, and they attested to the fact that they get offline depressed sometimes, they feel instantly saddened when they go online and see the progress made by many of their friends. A few of them decided to stay off social media since it only helped degrade their self–esteem rather than help keep them in touch. They also said social media has become a platform for people to live fake lives thereby making these people untrusty.
Ending this bittersweet experience begins with us. We need to realise that we do not need social media to live successful lives, we need to be honest with ourselves and not expect the Internet to give answers to some of our questions. We all need to understand that we have a life that must continue with or without the Social Media.
This understanding of the use of Social Media will help us come to terms with the fact that these platforms shouldn’t define who we are. The earlier we accept that, the better.
By Jemimah Atii