A girl I am friends with on Facebook recently announced that she has made the decision to delete the Facebook app and forego social media altogether. She claims “We spend so much time worrying about other people that we don’t take time to really improve on ourselves” so she’s decided to go and find the “real” her. Here is her announcement:
She’s certainly not the first person to take such a drastic action. Many people have deleted their accounts. I myself have often toyed with the idea of cutting social media out of my life, then had a panic attack so I quickly changed my mind.
Many have never even had social media accounts to begin with and are the happier for it. So the question is: Would our lives really benefit from deleting Facebook and social media for good?
Does Facebook lead to unhappiness?
Studies show that people check their Facebook accounts an average of 14 times a day. That’s an awful lot of time being spent looking at other people’s lives instead of living our own. There are so many other activities we could be doing, but instead we are choosing to compare our lives to others all day. We’ve become such a voyeuristic society, watching what other people do instead of taking time to improve our own lives. We spend hours reading negative comments which then makes us feel bad. And we seem to be permanently glued to our devices like drug addicts, causing us to lose sleep, which can lead to memory loss.
We see things on Facebook and instagram that other people have and we wish we had it too. We see people who seem to be living perfect lives and have perfect relationships and we begin to get thirsty for everything they have. This envy leads to drama, and drama leads to depression, and depression leads to… the dark side. But is social media really to blame?
We have a choice
No one is forcing us to check our social networks as often as we do or even at all. We have always had a choice. But it doesn’t have to be between using social media and not using social media. It doesn’t have to be between a good option and a bad option. Most things in this world are neither good or bad; they just are. And social media is no exception. It is nothing more than a tool. Whether it’s a useful tool or a hinderance is up to you.
When I’m already feeling low and insecure, I can always count on Facebook and instagram to make me feel even worse. I am reminded of the relationship I’m not in, of the hard washboard abs I don’t have, and the expensive schools I didn’t go to. But this isn’t social media’s fault. This is something only I can mend.
For every person having a negative response to social media, there is someone having a positive one. Instead, they are finding things to laugh about. They are being inspired by quotes posted or being happy for others’ successes. It’s all how you decide to look at things.
Get some perspective
So take a moment to see what your situation is like. Do you find yourself being more excited and inspired the more you use social media or more depressed?
Maybe taking a social media vacation is the answer for you. It’s easy to blame Facebook, or technology, or other people. But nothing really has meaning unless we give it meaning. So why not give it a positive one?
Choose to appreciate the positive aspects of social media. And if you just can’t, then take break until you can. Choose to use the social network in moderation. Learn to see it as a tool instead of the enemy.
Because technology and social media are here to stay and will be a part of our lives in some form or another. So we might as well all get along.