The potential DANGERS of SOCIAL MEDIA.

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Social media (and the world wide web) is a fantastic tool in todays age. We can share our thoughts, our pictures and videos, advertise business, read the news, discover new music and communicate with absolutely anyone worldwide, instantly.

It's almost impossible to now imagine a world without it. 

But are there any disadvantages?

I have been known to take regular breaks from social media. Be it for a weekend, a fortnight or longer, I believe it's important. When I mention to others I am taking a break or say something like "I won't be online during {insert time frame here}" they ask why, how I will keep in touch or even believe it to be a risky move in terms of business!

Some people don't want to leave social media for the sheer fear of missing out!

I think a majority of us choose not to address the disadvantages of social media, simply because it's now integrated into our day to day. But as with anything I believe to promote a healthy relationship, we should always take a step back from time to time in any situation to reflect and understand how a particular platform can support us.

Below are some potential "dangers" not aimed to scare, but to simply bring awareness and context to our daily usage.   

1 - Wasted Time

Most of us lead very busy lives. Most of us have dreams or aspirations. A quick google search shows that we spend now AT LEAST 2 hours on social media each day. That's insane! It's also on the up as we advance our technology. Think of how much time you are currently on social media now each day. Then think of how much of that usage actually serves you. The amount of time spent on social media could be potentially cut right down, allowing time for the things that do serve. You'd be amazed at how much free time or what you could do instead of scrolling aimlessly through Facebook. If you have a goal, whatever it is, choose to invest as much time as you can into it. 

2 - Perception

Every image, post, article or video we see online will usually form a response or even create a deep visceral feeling as a result. The perception we have of others can have a huge impact. We may see someone having "the best time" on holiday. We may assume people have way more money at their disposal than you may have. We appear to see kids look and act as good as gold, that relationships are perfect or that certain people posting images of themselves have that "ideal" body all year round. Perceptions can affect our own lives if taken that way, so with anything it's important to take most things online at face value. We all have struggles. Most have baggage that they don't wish to share. Social media will in most cases only display the best.

3 - Comparison

This ties in with the above in that we can quite easily get caught in comparison trap when browsing social media. Seeing what everyone else is doing can make us compare and wish we were doing, looking or living the same. With whatever that is displayed on social media it's always important to reign it back in and ultimately focus on you. If it inspires you, great. If it fuels your purpose, it's done it's job. What we don't want to do is see something online and wish yours was the same. The chances are their life isn't like that 24/7 and the chances are your personal path will look a lot different.

4 - Seeking validation

This one is over done a lot I find. Putting content out with the aim to seek external validation never ends well. Likes and shares can take over if you're not detaching yourself from the content posted. We can get caught in the trap of consistently checking images and posts for comments or likes of approval. Share images and posts for that reason only, because you want to share your own thoughts, ideas and successes. Not because you want to notch up the likes or receive some compliments. It is nice when you do receive positive feedback, or when people give you praise for a piece of information, but as with anything, I believe it's important to detach from what others say, both good and bad and stay true to your personal mission. This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson has always stuck with me...

"Every action is measured by the depth of the sentiment from which it proceeds"

5 - Isolation

It can be easy to shut yourself off from the real world and isolate yourself in the world of social media. Seeing photos and posts online may literally stop you from contacting people in person. Loneliness, depression and anxiety can all stem from this. Relationships with friends can become distant because we almost feel like we see them every day on our social media feed. We assume that everything is good if social media says it is, or that if they've been quite online that there is no exciting news to share. Pick up the phone, meet face to face, go out for food and more importantly keep the phone off whilst out with partners, friends and family! I've seen countless times where a group of friends are out all with their heads in their phones. It can be so easy to isolate yourself from the world and get lost in social media. When in reality, social media is nothing, the real world is what is real!

With all that said and done I'd like to point out that I do use social media daily, 95% of the time to assist my followers become stronger, fitter and healthier individuals.

But at the same time, I'm not afraid to take breaks from it to reflect.

I think its important to truly understand how and why we find benefit from social media, for it not to just become an habitual addiction, to take most content at face value and to ensure every browsing action serves us in a positive way. 

Gaz BurrowsComment