Social media really blossomed right before I entered college with the dawn of Facebook. What started as friends and classmates connecting on Facebook turned into Tweeting, posting to Tumblr, checking in on Foursquare, pining, etc.
Now, social media is ingrained in everyday life. In any given moment you can pause, look around and see someone hovering over their phone.
Just the other day I was sitting in a coffee shop where students were “studying.” When I glanced around (because I love to people watch #guiltypleasure), I noticed five of the seven nearby coffee goers looking at their phone instead of talking to the person next to them. Several even had computers in front of them, too.
So how connected is TOO connected? And when does it become unhealthy?
19-Year-Old (Former) Instagram Model Reveals Truth Behind Her Social Media Addiction
Essena had more than 700,00 followers on Instagram and 260,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her proclamation was posted YouTube, announcing that social media had made her “miserable” and that online and mobile-sharing platforms can be unhealthy.
Ironically, she used the very thing she was mocking to spread her message: social media. Instead of posting fashionable selfies to Instagram, you’ll find her blog at www.letsbegamechangers.com.
Unfortunately, Essena is an example of today’s youth being born into the pressures of social media “reality.” Our best moments captured in a split seconds to live online forever.
With Balance There is Possibility
Social media can add value to your life if used appropriately and if you do not allow yourself to be consumed by it. Social channels allow you to connect with like-minded people
Since I moved more than 2,000 miles away from my home state of Wisconsin to California, I value the connection I get with family and friends thanks to social media.
I get to see my nephew via Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Skype. My parents are even Snapchatting! It’s a great way to feel like we’re always having an open conversation and keeping up with each others’ lives.
That being said, social media shouldn’t replace real-life experiences. Nobody should parade a false identity for the approval, likes, favorites and comments of others.
Be true to yourself and only use social media if it’s adding value to your life.
Social Media Can Make the World a Better Place
Humans of New York (HONY), by photographer Brandon Stanton, is an incredible community that highlights everyday people of New York City.
Brandon is an incredible storyteller that grabs your attention and draws you into the lives of his subjects. He captures their vulnerable moments, caught around the city, and shares their story with the world.
Thanks to HONY’s wide-reaching social audience, he has changed the lives of countless “humans.” Brandong usually chronicles everyday New Yorkers on the Humans of New York blog, but this last summer he went on a trip to Pakistan.
It was there he met a woman named Syeda Ghulam Fatima who exposed him (and the HONY audience) to bonded labor in the brick kilns. Through powerful imagery, Brandon demonstrated the unbelievable treatment in those caught up in the kiln businesses.
Through his efforts and the support of the HONY community Brandon raised 2 MILLION dollars to help end bonded labor in Pakistan. all thanks to meeting Syeda during his trip and sharing her story.
How Will You Use Social Media for Good?
Social media can be a way of connecting humans around the world in a healthy way if used correctly. The opportunities to engage with one another have multiplied in the last 10 years and they will continue to grow.
Choose the channels that feel authentic to who you really are and engage with the right people who will be positive influences in your life.
How will you use social media to change the world?
(photo via Flickr)