The dark side of social media

I, like most people, love social media. Instagram, LinkedIn, What’s app, Facebook and so many more ways now exist in which we can connect with one another.There are countless social media platforms and they all offer something different.  Some might offer business networking opportunities or perhaps a helping hand with dating, while others may provide the opportunity to share visual snapshots of our daily lives with the world. The main thing which they all do is bring us together. They connect people with like minds and similar interests all over the world, and allow them to share experiences. They can provide inspiration or information, but they also provide a platform for people with very different views to have discussions, and better understand each other.

As with everything else, though, social media has its downside too. It can encourage vanity and selfishness, while breeding jealousy, as people fill their profile pages with pictures of luxury goods and holidays in exotic locations. Some of these are genuine depictions of peoples’ lifestyles, but an incredible amount of them are mere illusions, with the photos being staged using items which are borrowed or fake. And the holidays? Many of the same pictures can easily be found with a quick Google search. All with the aim of faking it till you make it, showing the world how perfect your life is. This obsession with showing the world how wonderful your life is leads to missed opportunities to connect with people who could’ve helped you to achieve your goals and actually reach a level where that lifestyle really could be yours. After all, they may feel that you have it all, and they have nothing to offer which can help you. Furthermore, some people can become envious of lifestyles and relationships which don’t really exist.

As discussed in a previous post titled “Be Kind Online”, bullying is another very real, and very serious problem. Facilitated by the anonymity of online interactions, people who may be otherwise kind and respectful become spiteful and abusive to others in order to vent their own personal frustrations. How is this possible? Nice people become online trolls when they adopt a different online persona. Rather than just be true to themselves, they use the anonymity of online platforms to create a new identity.

All of this is wholly unnecessary. As discussed in earlier posts, I strongly believe in being authentic, and being true to yourself. Just document the life you lead, not the one you wish you had. Show people the real you, and use social media as a kind of journal to document your journey towards fulfilling your potential. In this way, you can inspire others to begin or continue their journey, or may find others willing to connect with you to offer help and share their experiences. Even if you have become successful and genuinely lead a glamorous lifestyle, I would ask that you share some lessons which you learned along the way. These little nuggets of information and experience could help, inspire or motivate so many others. If done right, there is so much good that can come from sharing the pursuit of your goals.

Social media is amazing and we should make better use of it. Instead of getting drawn into competitions with others over who has the most desirable lifestyle, embrace the opportunities it offers to bring people together, share experiences and help each other. 

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