Perceptions of Social Media
Every Saturday morning I lay in bed and catch up on what all of my friends did the night before. Typically, I’ll see as many as seventy-five Snapchat stories of barely recognizable people dancing in a dark room, twenty pictures on Instagram of girls in their cute outfits posing for the camera, and a couple of Facebook albums updated with even more of these pictures.
Social media posts are incredibly strategic. Most people would agree that there are good and bad Insta times, the less people in a picture the more likes it will get, and if a post doesn’t get enough likes it will be deleted. Even the timing between posts is something to be carefully thought about. A Snapchat story that lasts longer than a minute is considered too long and Instagramming multiple times in a day is annoying because it fills your followers feeds. However, a common saying in my apartment is “I haven’t Instagrammed in a while, I NEED to take a cute picture tonight.”
Most of the time the goal of posting on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat is for as many people to see and like it as possible. And even if it is done subconsciously, the purpose of these posts is to show everyone in your friends lists that you went out and were having a good time.
I’ll admit that I’m a big culprit of doing this too. It I want to be considered cool and I definitely don’t want to be forgotten about.
However, the impression of people that’s given off by their social media accounts is a massive misrepresentation. No one is that happy all the time.
The study in this article explains that heavy social media usage can be a major cause of depression and anxiety among teenagers. This is because they feel that they’re lives are less exciting and therefore inferior to those of their friends because they’re not always traveling, having fun, or going out to eat at nice restaurants. They start to feel alienated from society because they’re different OR they begin to pretend they’re someone that they’re not in order to conform to what they think are the norms of society. Either way this is detrimental to one’s health. What they don’t realize is that these posts only reflect a small subset of their friend’s lives. But it’s hard to notice that because most people have hundreds of friends between the all of their social media accounts so someone is always posting.
The idea that social media is a harmful and wasteful use of time is what immediately comes to mind because Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular and used on a daily basis. However, these three platforms are only a small subset of social media sites. I often forget about other websites such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Goodreads that are vastly different from the stereotypical “social media” site.
Social Media Isn’t Actually So Bad
Social media can actually be informative, motivational, and just really fun.
Kayla Itsines is an Australian personal trainer that started a fitness blog because health and wellness was something she was passionate about. Her blog blew up and quickly became an empire. She has her own website, is Instagram famous, and sells self-developed fitness programs worldwide.
Over time, she has transformed her blog from a hobby into a career but her goal has remained the same: to provide resources to women who want to lose weight and live all around healthier lifestyles.
Her three main focuses are education, motivation, and creating an inclusive community.
Kayla Itsines blogs about a variety of topics that provide her followers with a comprehensive guide to being healthy. Her blog posts include
- Low-Calorie Recipes
- Meal Prep Guides
- Workout Tips:
- General Lifestyle Advice
I personally think her Instagram account is her greatest asset. She occasionally posts short workout videos or inspirational quotes but her Instagram is mostly filled with the transformations of her program participants. Her Instagram inspires her followers. She posts on a platform that is checked regularly and therefore the message is ingrained in her follower’s heads. They see that all of these other “normal” people can achieve their goals and start to believe in themselves.
Finally, Kayla Itsines has used her fame to create communities where her followers can personally assist each other. Being from Australia, it is hard for Kayla Itsines herself to really have a presence across the globe. Therefore, she has created groups that regularly meet in several cities across the United States. They workout together and use each other as motivation.
Social media is commonly thought of as a distraction and a depressant. However, after really thinking about what “social media” entails there are a lot of beneficial uses. In this class I am looking forward to exploring new forms of social media (such as blogging) and reading the ideas and perceptions of others.