My first social media account was a MySpace account. I hesitated creating one at first, because of all the horror stories I had heard about social media. Curiosity eventually got the best of me though, and I finally made my first social media account. I immediately started searching for the accounts of everyone I knew, family current friends, old friends, old teachers, you name it. If the person had a MySpace page, I found it. It didn’t take long for me to become addicted, and soon interacting with people I knew only wasn’t enough for me. In fact, there was very little interaction between me and my friends on MySpace, especially since I didn’t need social media to interact with a good amount of them. I eventually decided to broaden my horizons. I start accepting friend requests from people I didn’t know, and I enjoyed the extra attention I started getting once I did. I felt excitement build up every time I saw a new notification.
MySpace started to take up a lot of my time. Every time I went out I had to make sure to take at least one good photo to post on MySpace. When I switched to Facebook there wasn’t much change, except for my privacy settings. I decided to only interact with people I knew. Getting a flood of notifications was important to me, so I started putting up posts on Facebook that would probably help me get some attention, and started to feel a little bitter whenever I wasn’t receiving any. I was always wondering why people wouldn’t respond to my comments or messages, and why my pics or status updates weren’t getting enough likes. Some self reflection forced me to eventually realize that I was building an unhealthy relationship with social media. I felt like I was turning into a different person, and I didn’t like who I was becoming. To fix my problem, I made the decision to temporarily disable my Facebook account, and I was happy I did. I felt instant relief, and was able to focus on all the things in my life that mattered most.
Social media has obvious pros. However, from time being wasted through scrolling to cyber bullying to the pressure to build a large following and gain a lot of likes, the obvious cons of social media are hard to ignore. There has been an effort to deal with some of those cons by some social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Facebook and Instagram added new features that help users manage their screen time on the platforms. Instagram also started hiding likes in some countries. Users are able to see the amount of likes their own content has received, but not the amount likes on the content of other users. This has been distressing to some Instagram influencers, but I believe the feature might be a step in the right direction.
After some time off of social media, I created numerous accounts this year to help promote my blog. My interactions on these accounts remind me of my days on MySpace and why I enjoyed the experience. However, I realize now the importance of protecting my time and mental health. I love spending time on social media, but I don’t want to miss out on what’s going on around me IRL.