Last week I was chatting with a friend of mine about the damaging effects that Instagram can have on our self confidence, and in turn, our mental health. What she said really stuck with me because on reflection, it worried me. She said that before long, she reckons social media will crash. Unsaveable rubbish. We won’t go on it anymore out of fear and in the interests of self-care. The social giants will drastically decline in usage and in popularity.
Undoubtedly, she had a point. Our mental health should be valued above all. So why did th thought of deleting my social media accounts for good create such a flurry of dread inside me? Probably because I’m among a generation swept up in the obsesion of constantly updating faceless followers with personal information, driven by some kind of need to show them just how happy and perfect every inch of my life is.
What I don’t think is fair, however, is that social media should be cast aside as having no positive benefits at all.
Pyschological support – the surprising research
Not all comments can be bad. Research was found by Stuart Grande into how peer support on social media can actually help sufferers of sever mental illnesses, using YouTube. His report states that the support networks formed in comments sections can in fact “offer hope, companionship, and encouragement to others facing similar challenges”.
It’s sensible for everyone to think about why they use their phone. For some it creates work, prevents social isolation, or provides a liberating platform. Others may use theirs too much. Comparing it to smoking, which has zero benefits and tears the body apart, feels unhelpful. https://t.co/VxEaV6zghD
— Lewis Wiltshire (@LewisWiltshire) 24 January 2018
Inspiration for all
There are many hobbies, interests and oppurtunities I know that, I, personally would never have found without social media. It was made for those who inspire and those who yearn to be inspired, and I don’t mean just on Instagram. Feminists, vegetarians, and LGBT+ groups can come together, forming larger communities that create incredible positive influence on our societies.
(If you find a way to stop gawking at fitness Instgrammers and actually get to the gym, you’ll see what I mean.)
Growth (not just personal)
Small businesses and news organisations have boomed in growth due to social media and the platforms it allows them to create. Breaking news has never been easier to access, and those same media outlets are now hiring people to run their social media.
Did someone say graduate job…
I could go on and list more reason why social media is a perplexing and vital tool to our modern world. It’s one that shouldn’t hide beneath fear because ultimately, it’s here to stay.