Social media gets a bad rep, and I get why. In a world where we base our self-worth on likes and experience events through our phone screens, it can give us a warped sense of reality. Aimlessly scrolling through strangers’ highlight reels when we are feeling at our lowest and then feeling the pressure of sharing every second of a good day we are having so that people we have never met are aware of what we are doing. And then there are trolls. No longer can we escape bullies from the playground as they sit behind their screens and follow us with their damaging words into our seemingly safe homes.
But is it all bad?
These negatives are spoken about A LOT and for a good reason. Life is changing and evolving and we need to be aware of how this is affecting us and our happiness. It is still very new so we need to be cautious and question things so that it doesn’t become dangerous.
But what doesn’t get spoken about is the positive way it has changed our lives. It may sound dramatic that a photo sharing app can have that power, but when you think about how many hours you spent on social media in the last year, it is undeniably going to affect and shape our lives. And some of it can have a really positive impact.
The circle of people we know has grown substantially. No longer are you limited to meeting people from work/social occasions/out and about. You can now meet anyone from literally anywhere. Our network of people no longer represents our town or city but the entire world. The more different types of people you come across, the more you are able to learn and question and develop.
Not everyone has a huge group of friends or may struggle to find people who share their core fundamental values. But when you have the whole world at your fingertips, you are able to connect with people you may have otherwise never have known. Social media allows people to share their stories and help others feel a little less alone when they might be going through something. We can inspire and be inspired.
And with this comes the power of sharing. Whether that is sharing a story, a message or asking for help, you will be surprised how people you have never met in real life will want to support you.
There are far more good people in the world than bad in my opinion. The bad ones are often remembered, noisier than the kind people. But what I have found remarkable is the time people you have never met take to comment on your photo and reply to your story.
I was diagnosed with coeliac disease last year. Neither my parents or my friends have coeliac disease and the doctors even lacked the knowledge and understanding I was looking for so it could have been a very lonely time for me. But the first thing I did was search #glutenfreelondon on Instagram and suddenly I was introduced to a whole network of gluten free people who were sharing foods, experiences and more than anything else, reminding me that I wasn’t alone.
And since then I have been able to meet some of those people I saw on the internet when we were all brought together for a gluten free food event. How cool is that? People coming together to create new friendships through a social media app.
And let’s not forget all the jobs which now exist thanks to social media. I know these jobs can get a lot of criticism but that is just lack of understanding. I think it is exciting that a whole new industry has been created where people are able to set up their own businesses. And on the topic, social media has the power to share and get awareness for small companies. The reach they have can give them the opportunity to expand.
We cannot deny that social media makes us all more connected. But that doesn’t mean that we can stop connecting in real life too. People may appear fine on the internet but may be struggling in real life so keep asking your friends and loved ones how they are. That can be the same if they appear fine in real life too.
So let’s keep connecting in every way. Face to face and online. Unfollow accounts which don’t make you feel good about yourself. Find people online who inspire and motivate you. Allow social media to unleash your creativity or to spread a positive message. But keep your eyes up so you don’t miss what is going on outside.