Social media gets blamed for a lot of things nowadays.
Low-self esteem. Violence. Addiction.
Even social media-savvy celebrities like Selena Gomez and Kendall Jenner have popularized the “Instagram Detox” as a way to escape the pressure and potentially harmful side effects that these apps can trigger. It’s true that too much of Instagram or Facebook can definitely have a negative impact on people’s lives, but we’ve forgotten that despite these shortcomings, social media does have the power to do good if it is used in moderation.
A few years ago, I studied abroad in Europe and spent about a month backpacking across the continent. I took a lot of photos, but besides posting them on Instagram, I didn’t do much else with them.
I’m so thankful I used Instagram back then because now when I scroll back through my feed, that section of it is like a travel journal filled with my adventures. I’ve always wanted to put together a scrapbook of my time in Europe, but in the almost four years since I’ve been back (has it seriously been that long?!), I still haven’t done it. (Shocker.)
If I hadn’t posted those photos on social media, they would have simply gotten lost in my iPhoto library, (almost) never to be looked at again.
Social media gives us a way to not only share our experiences with other people, but it also gives us a way to look back on them and reminisce ourselves. I honestly do not care if two hundred or ten people like my posts because I post them mostly for my future self anyways.
Social media has given me an incredible opportunity as an artist to share everything I am currently working on, from our daily posts on Ensemble of Elan to art I create in my classes or recent thrift shop transformations. I love that I can immediately share them with my community at the touch of a button. Not only is it great for sharing daily events,it has also given me ample opportunities for jobs and collaborations.
I started H + L Creations to brand myself so it would be easier for future employers to familiarize themselves with my skills and talents. And I’ve already reaped the benefits with not one, but two jobs as Marketing and Social Media Assistant for RaftUp and Social Media Manager for Waterhouse Market.
I run five social media accounts daily, and to be honest, I can get tired of it too.
There are some days when it is really hard to keep up with everything and it’s mentally exhausting.
So, as much as I love the opportunities these social paths create, I do have to agree that sometimes it’s nice to take some time for yourself and put the phone down.
Social media has brought us closer together and has allowed us to accomplish some pretty amazing things, from creating supportive networks for those living with mental illnesses or pre-existing conditions through the use of hashtags, to raising awareness and sometimes even millions of dollars for social causes around the globe.
Without social media, those feats would have never been possible.
For better or for worse, social media is here to stay.
It’s ultimately up to you if you want to use it, and we completely understand if it isn’t for you. But before you take to bashing social media (on social media, probably), remember the reason it was created in the first place.
To connect with new friends and family.
To reconnect with old ones.
To share and celebrate your life experiences with the world,
And to voice your opinion on a platform where you will be heard.
How often do you really think you would talk to those who don’t live near you if it wasn’t for Facebook? How many “Happy Birthdays” do you think you would get? How many scrapbooks would you have made of your travels if it wasn’t for Instagram?
Social media has made our world a whole lot smaller, and we’re definitely experiencing some growing pains because of it. But, it’s also made us closer to one another and more aware of the events going on around us.
Connections and knowledge are power, and we can’t imagine our world without them.
“Social media are a catalyst for the advancement of everyone’s rights. It’s where we’re reminded that we’re all human and all equal.It’s where people can find and fight for a cause, global or local, popular or specialized,even when there are hundreds of miles between them.”-Queen Raina of Jordan