Finding a Healthy Social Media-Life Balance
Over the past decade, social media has become an integral part of life. Whether it’s for personal use or business, the majority of us are guilty of Instagramming our best angles and scrolling through Facebook at 11 pm. But when does it stop being fun and start becoming dangerous?
My favourite social media channel is Instagram, followed not so closely by Facebook. Facebook, I now feel, is a huge waste of my time. My feed is dominated by people complaining, arguing and sharing fake news (my biggest pet peeve). Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook when the community comes together for a good cause, when I see engagement/baby announcements or when I see photos showing what my friends are up to in different cities. I'm also a sucker for a meme (OK, I'm a meme-a-holic) but when I read statuses about terrible friends or the di**head in Asda who just double parked, I find it pretty hostile. This is why I choose to avoid it whenever I can, and, according to a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen, those who spend less time on Facebook are actually more satisfied with their lives. Something to bear in mind!
Instagram on the other hand is aesthetically pleasing for me. I enjoy scrolling through well-taken photos of Utopian places around the world and/or weddings that I would never be able to afford myself, and I do like to express myself through amateur photography and witty captions. However, we are all aware that unrealistic images either taken by professional photographers or filtered to absolute death can have a negative effect on users, and this in when things start to get silly. People are bending over backwards for likes on their pictures and are dangerously starting to compare themselves to others, which is one of the biggest links between social media and depression. I won't pretend I don’t actively use social media or take a million photos whenever I'm on holiday, but I do draw the line at doing something fake or something I’m not particularly interested in, just for a picture.
So, do I think I have a healthy social media-life balance? Most of the time, although I do have an OCD-like habit of making sure I’ve scrolled down to the 'You're All Caught Up' part of my home feed, which I should probably ditch (especially when my eyes glaze over and I'm not even taking in what I'm seeing). But I do limit the time I spend on my phone, I don't feel obliged to post online and I only do so when it feels natural.
Most of what I’ve written deserves an award for stating the obvious, but I do want to stress how important it is to avoid social media if it ever makes you feel anything negative. Because really, it's not important at all. If you don’t like what you’re reading on Facebook, stop reading. If you feel like you’re comparing yourself to others on Instagram, spend less time on the app, focus on you and remember, no one posts their whole life on social media. No one.