There’s something I have been struggling with the past few months. I have more thoughts about it than I usually do. It’s social media. It’s a constant struggle. I have two strong opinions about social media and they clash. One side of me hates social media and wants to delete it all right now. The other side wants to benefit from it in the right way. Every time, it’s about finding a good balance between the two. Today I am going to tell you all about this love-hate relationship with social media that I have.
why i Hate social media
Let’s first start with the hate towards social media. This hate is two-sides. The first part is about power. There are two big social media companies in the world: Google and Meta. Meta used to be called Facebook Inc. but they changed their name recently (I guess it had to do with their bad image). Anyway, together they own the most influencial social media platforms; Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and Snapchat (and there are many more). These two companies have a tremendous amount of power because of this oligopoly.
I don’t think one group of people having too much power in this world is a good thing. Most people can’t deal with too much power. This is very obviously shown by the influence of fake news. Especially Facebook and Youtube play a huge role in the spread of fake news. They spread fake news because it’s usually very extreme and so this makes people stay longer on their platform. This gives these companies more profit and that’s why their algorithms are built this way.
We have seen how dangerous this can be in the COVID-19 pandemic. People believe in conspiracy theories and fake news. This phenomenon usually starts on Facebook and Youtube since people don’t know how to verify whether something is fake or not. So this is why I hate social media. It spreads fake news and extremely harmful beliefs. It gives the wrong people a lot of attention.
Then there is a second part. I think social media is somewhat pointless. What do we gain when we’re looking at the highlights (let’s be honest, people usually only show the good part) of other people’s lives? First, it makes us insecure. By looking at a fake version of reality, we believe we have to be better ourselves. We see other people achieving good things, having only joy and having bodies which align with the unrealistic norm.
Also, we waste our time. When I am old and about to die, I will not think: I should have spent more time staring at my phone. No, I want my life to be meaningful. I want to be present. I want to be out there. And I want to accomplish things. I want to help others. I don’t want to spend a majority of my time staring at pictures of other people. And lastly, social media is an addiction. Social media are built in such a way that they’re addictive. Companies want us to spent our time on their platform. CEO’s of social media companies say that they would never allow their children to be on social media because it’s so massively harmful.
What Does This Mean?
And honestly, I would not be on social media if I was not on there to change things. If I didn’t have this blog or a Youtube account. I am on there to make a change and to influence things. Otherwise I would never be on Instagram or Facebook. I will never be the person who just uses social media to share pictures of myself. I know a lot of people who use social media just for that. To show others how good look we look and how much fun we are having. No, I would not be on social media if I didn’t have a mission.
And that’s where the struggle comes in. I also love social media. Why? Because it gives me a platform. I have a mission. And that mission is to share my knowledge about an eco-positive lifestyle and all things which are related to that. I want to inspire people to change their life for the better. And that’s why I am on social media. I rarely post pictures of myself on social media when there’s no message behind it. I usually don’t even post pictures of myself at all. And what I want is working. So many people have already reached out me saying they’ve changed things when they saw my posts and stories. And that’s what I do this for. I want to use social media for a good cause.
This is not only done by me, but by a lot of people. So for all the negative things I just mentioned, there are also people trying to change things. When there’s a woman showing off her skinny and trained body, there’s always a fat woman who promotes body neutrality and a positive relationship with food. For every chef showing off recipes with dead animal parts, there’s a vegan chef trying to create awareness. For the influencers who show their amazing trip to Bali by plane, there’s me who shows that traveling by train can be fun too. This means we can actually use social media for good things, we just have to find the right people.
What Can i Do?
There’s always one powerful thing I can do to improve this love-hate relationship with social media that I have. I can move away from the big social media firms and only use non-for-profit open source platforms. An alternative to Facebook, an alternative to Instagram, an alternative to Youtube, etc. I have recently done that with Whatsapp (I now use Telegram and Signal), but I have not found good alternative to other platforms yet. If I can find those in the future, I can at least tackle the power issue I mentioned. The negative impacts of social media can also be bend a little bit if we use the tools in the right way. But there’s always that part of me not wanting to be online too much. Wanting to not waste my life staring at my phone to much. And that will always be a battle I guess.
I am however continiously evaluating my social media use. I choose to stay on Snapchat because it makes me catch up very casually with good friends. And I use Instagram to inspire people. But I deleted Twitter. I use Youtube to visualize an eco-positive lifestyle. Facebook is still a doubt. I might delete it too, but I feel like there’s an audience there which isn’t on Instagram. It’s difficult, but I try.
What about you? Do you have a love-hate relationship with social media?