Social media CON: High social expectations for social media are not beneficial

Sarah Scherer, Managing Editor

Social media may seem harmless, and even beneficial for networking and maintaining long-distance relationships. Due to human instinct, however, social media can easily become a dangerous, time-consuming obsession.

Walking through a city street in this day and age, one might find it particularly difficult to weave through the oncoming pedestrian traffic, a large proportion of which is staring down at their phone screens. Spending comparable amounts of time focused on social media reality and actual reality, for many, social media has become an extension of real life.

The main difference between social media reality and real life is that on social media, an individual designs their reality.

Mr. Frank Caro, AP Psychology teacher said, “On social media, what people do is they put up a designed version of themselves.”

Mr. Caro mentioned a crucial truth – people only post the best aspects of their lives on social media. Scrolling through social media on a bad day could therefore be damaging to an individual’s morale, as they observe all of their peers lives, which appear “better than theirs.”

In terms of upkeep and high expectations for every post, Instagram is the worst culprit among social media outlets. In response to Instagram accounts’ finely manicured appearance, a strange phenomenon has developed. People often have multiple Instagram accounts, one public and one “private,” only for the eyes of close friends. Private account posts are more casual, including posts about common, day-to-day activities. Why are “main” Instagram accounts held to a much higher standard than “private” Instagram accounts?

According to Mr. Caro, the nature of social media has a lot to do with it.

“Social media is always on stage, at any point in time someone could be checking your profile,” Mr. Caro said. “You’re not at school all the time, but your profile is ‘always at school,’ so to speak.”

Constant exposure in the world of social media causes much anxiety among people of all ages, especially when an individual posts new content.

Repeatedly checking social media, even by the minute, isn’t uncommon when an individual posts a photo to Instagram, for example. If the person is unsure about whether they should have posted the photo, the rate they check for peer response is more constant due to greater anxiety.

Humans are social creatures, so the described behavior surrounding social media is not abnormal. Caring about peer acceptance is an instinct for humans. Because of this, social media can become an awful time-consuming agent and a source of anxiety.

Next time you do something fun, refrain from posting about it social media. Oftentimes, a fun day at the beach or a concert can be interrupted by the need to capture a good picture to post. An even more extreme, but all too common scenario would be going to the beach or another location for the sole purpose of taking pictures to post. Ultimately, social media complicates and interrupts our social lives in this way.

Use it for networking, use it for group projects, and use it for staying connected with family members and friends across the country. However, don’t get so wrapped up in social media to the point that the perfect expression of an event to your peers becomes more important, and more prevalent in your mind than the event itself.