Discussing the pros and cons of social media

Technology is constantly evolving and growing, and therefore social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat have been used more and more. In particular, I use Facebook and WhatsApp on a regular basis. However, social media can play a part in worsening the mental health of lots of people, and when I read articles on how to look after yourself, advice which pops up time and time again is to use social media less. I think the advice of using social media less is fair, but we should also talk about the benefits of social media as well. In this article I aim to discuss both the pros and cons of social media, as well as talk about how we could use social media in a more positive way.

One of the worst things about social media is that through excessive use of these apps, users are being exposed to feeling a degree of social isolation and anxiety. There is a tendency to check every five minutes how many likes or comments that the last picture posted got, as well as worry too much about the appearance of a picture that they posted on social media. Furthermore, seeing pictures of our friends enjoying themselves at their tropical vacations, or even at a party we did not attend can lead to a degree of jealousy and even FOMO (fear of missing out). Social media platforms are also known for being extremely addictive, which can often lead to an unhealthy form of dependency. When people are forced to stop using social media sites, typical withdrawal effects include anxiety. This links to an aspect which tends to slip under the radar, which is systematic forecasting errors that are commonly made by social media users. This is where they think scrolling for hours on end will cause a lift in their mood, when in fact they feel worse after.

However, even though there are bad aspects of social media, there are also benefits of using social media. Most of the time you hear about the bad things of social media, which means that the benefits of social media are sometimes forgotten about. Arguably, one of the great things about social media is that it is an easy way to keep in touch with friends from school or from back home. Facebook and WhatsApp have helped me keep in touch with my friends, and I can say with a high level of certainty that I would have seriously struggled to maintain most of my friendships if it wasn’t for Facebook and WhatsApp. However, the best thing about social media platforms in my opinion is that it allows individuals to have a voice, and raise awareness of topics that are important to them. For example, social media platforms have been great in raising awareness about the recent George Floyd incident. I am pretty sure that if social media wasn’t around, then we wouldn’t have had nearly as much awareness being raised about racism and the George Floyd incident. The benefits of social media mentioned above are important to raise and are ones that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Furthermore, it is worth considering that it may not be social media platforms that are completely the problem, but it’s also the way in which we use social media that is causing a decrease in wellbeing. I honestly believe that social media platforms can be really positive for one’s wellbeing if used in the right way, and I do think that social media is currently being used badly to an extent. One way in which social media is used badly is linked to unhealthy comparison. So many people feel jealous when they scroll through social media feeds and see amazing pictures that their friends posted. This is partly because a lot of people tend to judge a person’s life based on what they see on social media, but pictures that people post on social media isn’t always indicative of a person’s life or self-worth. Another way in which we use social media badly is by spending over 30 minutes scrolling through social media feeds as a form of procrastination. With some discipline and motivation, this can certainly be avoided. The main message of this paragraph is that we should take some responsibility of using social media badly at times, rather than completely blaming social media.

As mentioned previously, there are lots of benefits of social media, and therefore I believe that with the right approach, we can use social media in a positive and productive way. Personally, I have felt that using social media has helped improve my wellbeing recently due to the amazing friends I have spoken to on Facebook and WhatsApp. I have made an active effort to use social media in a more positive way, and now I mainly use social media to speak to my friends and promote my blog posts. These are two positive ways of using social media that have helped improve my wellbeing. Another way in which you can use social media in a positive and productive way is to read and share inspiring stories that make you feel more confident and positive about your life. However, what I think is very important when it comes to using social media positively is that your intentions for using social media are clear. For example, I know a lot of people who have Instagram or Snapchat more for the sake of it rather than it being something they really benefit from. Therefore, it is worth asking yourself the question: How do I currently use social media, and are there ways in which I can use social media in a more positive way?  Changing the ways in which you use social media so that you use it in a more productive way is easier said than done, but certainly possible at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong, social media platforms certainly can have a negative impact on one’s mental health and wellbeing, and the aim of this article is not for you to agree with my stance on social media. But the main thing I want you to get out of this article is that a lot of advice out these is based around using social media less, where I instead want you to at least consider the ways in which you can use social media in a more positive way. This can include deactivating some of your social media apps, if you feel they aren’t benefiting you at all. If you currently find that social media is having a negative impact on your wellbeing, then I am all for having social media breaks, as I needed a social media break to fully realise how I can use social media in the best way. However, despite the bad things about social media, we shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of it, and it would be hard to imagine a life without social media.

38 thoughts on “Discussing the pros and cons of social media

  1. This was an interesting read. I find social media a beast with two heads – it really can be so amazing on one hand but on the other, absolutely awful.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is an interesting post, i think social media is and will always be split, there are benefits to it and be extremely useful in life, but with that comes the negative, unfortunately, there’s a lot of it, i don’t think it will ever be able to solve or manage it, we can just do our best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have taken a break from social media in recent months as there is too much negativity out there. I am starting to venture on a little more often now

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree in that it’s not the platform that’s the problem, it’s how we and other people use it. No social media platform was created with bad intentions. We ourselves need to learn our limits and set boundaries too x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. great post Niraj! I like how you ask “how can I use social media in a positive way?” Instead of just saying everyone should quit it all together which I think is unrealistic in this day and age. Social media is here to stay and avoiding it is becoming less and less possible, especially with Covid and remote working and learning happening. Interesting article–thank you for sharing.

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      1. No, i think devil is not the correct word because it’s up to the human being that how he is making a good or bad use of technology and social media is helpful in both ways.

        Like

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