Saturday 21st January, 2023

Social media. Do you love it or hate it?

I wanted to discuss social media - and how much I hate it. I think it's bad and slowly destroying our culture and maybe the human race as a whole. Or, maybe I only hate it because I'm not very good at it. It could be that if I had more likes and comments on each post and more followers, I would like it. Because that would mean I am a success, wouldn't it? It would indicate success on social media, but would that speak to fulfillment and success in any other parts of my life?

While we're on this topic, I feel the same way about wealth. I don't feel like being rich is important. Again though, perhaps I would feel differently if I actually had 6 and 7 figure balances in my accounts. Who knows, if I was actually good at accruing wealth maybe I would find money more important.

This leaves me to wonder, do I not like these things simply because I haven't figured out how to master them? Or could there be another reason?

None of this is to say that I don't see the value of each thing. Of course money is needed to survive in this world. We need it to buy food, pay bills, and enjoy some modicum of fun. Social media also has its place. By means of it, we can keep in touch with loved ones who we may not otherwise see or get to talk to regularly. It can also help a business grow and make more income by allowing it to reach a larger audience.

So then, why can't I shake the feeling that both of these things have a sinister side? Something about them that makes my brow furrow and sends a little shiver down my spine?

Social media does have a dark side, we only need to look at various headlines to understand that. Headlines that speak about various children dying because of TikTok trends, or youth suicides due to online bullying, much of which is done on social media platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat. Much like the medication you might be on for that random ailment, social media has many non-lethal side effects as well. People seem to be more disconnected than ever because of the time spent on devices mindlessly scrolling, seemingly having lost the ability to converse in person. Many are less happy with the good things in their own lives when they are constantly barraged with perfectly curated images of the ideal lives that the airbrushed Instagram models seem to have.

I think it's safe to say we've all had a little social media envy, even if it's only subconsciously; "I don't vacation in Greece for a month at a time or spend my Tuesday evenings on a yacht, so how could I possibly be happy?" Sound vaguely familiar?

Similar points could be made about the pursuit of wealth. People have been known to sacrifice highly valuable, irreplaceable things, just for the possibility of more money. Things like family time, their morals or integrity and even their health. Then again the argument could be made that all of those things could be enhanced or fixed with a little extra money. What a conundrum!

Perhaps all of this speaks more to the human condition than it does to the supposed evils of any vices available to us. Maybe the more important topic we should be discussing is value. What do you value? If we all took a little time to look inward and understand where we place value, we then could decide how we want to live based on that. We would be able to establish goals in our lives based on these values. Then, with clear goals in mind, we could make better decisions. Better choices about how we use our time and how we use the tools, such as money and social media, that are available to us.

Wait a minute… Did we just figure out the meaning of life in the midst of this little chat? To find our values and then do our best to live up to them? That may be an oversimplification of the matter, I'll give you that, but it does seem like a good place to start the conversation. So, I'll ask again, what do you value? If we start that discussion here and now, who knows #whatdoyouvalue might start to trend. Just let that irony sink in a little bit. As a result, it's very possible that we could all learn a little something, on social media no less, that would do the world some good.

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It's free
always has been, always will be