The Social Media Effect

I recently read an article that discussed the advantages and disadvantages of living in a social media world. We live in a society where the theory is if you did not post about it, it did not happen! The funny thing is, in order for you to even be reading this blog, you have to be on some form of social media! So it is definitely all around us. Although social media gives us the opportunity to connect with others, keep up with current trends, and share even the most intimate details of our lives, there is also a part of social media that can have negative effects if not used appropriately. Here are a few facts to be mindful of:

1. A recent study conducted in the United States showed that approximately 63% of Americans log on to Facebook daily. Of those individuals, 40% log on to Facebook multiple times a day. Now I will be the first to admit that if I have a free moment between work and appearances, I am likely to be checking Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn…shall I continue?! Staying connected is important, but do not let it take away from being present in the moment. I remember one time my cousins and I went to dinner, and we were all on social media posting about our dinner instead of actually being present at our dinner! Make sure to maintain balance in your life so that you do not let special moments pass you by.

2. Social media has a tendency to make us compare our lives to others. Now although you will see the occasional post about a tragedy in someone’s life, more times than not, people only post the amazing things that are going on in their lives. So if you are not having a good day, and you go on Instagram to find that one of you friends got a new house, another just got engaged, one is on vacation in Puerto Rico, and another just got a job promotion, of course this can toy with your self-esteem. But as a reminder from one of my previous blogs, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Celebrate your friends and the wonderful things going on in their lives, but do not compare your life to the partial story that you are seeing online.

3. Social media grants us the opportunity to voice our opinion that is different than any other form of communication. Although we have freedom of speech, I find it fascinating what people will say online that I highly doubt they would say to someone in person. There are a few celebrities that I follow on Instagram. It is actually entertaining for me to read what some people will write under the pictures that they post. First off, not many celebrities actually read what people are writing to or about them. Secondly, would those people really say those mean things if that high profile person were standing right in front of them? I doubt it. So although cyber bullying is a very real issue…one that deserves its own blog post…remember that many times people hide behind their computer screen to say things that they would never place their physical identity to.

I, like many others, am so glad to have many forms of being able to communicate with others. Social media is a phenomenon that has a huge impact on our generation. Although there are so many benefits, try to avoid some of the negative traps social media can have on your life.

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


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