Social media is now a staple of our daily lives, for better or for worse. There are so many reasons to engage with and use social media now, which has essentially changed the way we navigate the world and our lifestyles as a consequence.
This piece will discuss just some of the ways that social media has changed our lifestyles.
Social Media is the New Newspaper
Long gone are the days where we walk to our doorstep to pick up our newspaper that had been tossed by the local teenage boy on a pushbike. No, now not only do we not have to wait for the news to be printed and delivered anymore, but we do not even have to leave our beds to have 24/7 access to what is going on, not only in our country but globally.
Like everything, there are pros and cons to this development. While it is useful to be informed, a constant barrage of news, often negative, can wreak havoc on our mental wellbeing. It is not uncommon to be going about our day and have several notifications pop up on our phone with anxiety-inducing headlines, which is certainly a significant change to the way we used to consume the news.
Social Media and the Thief of Joy
Social media started out innocently enough. We would give each other love hearts, ‘like’ pictures of each other’s dinners and write on each other’s ‘walls’, reserved for when we got home and could use the computer. Social media has now transformed into an embedded part of our daily lives, where not a second goes by that is either not documented or does not have the option to be. Our lives are in full view for anyone to see, right down to even the most mundane, daily parts.
Unfortunately, because of the human’s innate desire to be accepted, this can mean that the constant display of our lifestyles is often turned into a performance. This is essentially another worry, especially for teenagers who already face the ever-growing pressure of not only establishing their identity but also hoping that their identity is welcome amongst their social circles. Teens and anxiety go hand in hand as aging through those years is a trying time when going through such changes and social media can have a significant impact on this process.
Meeting People, Friendships, and the Internet
Before, meeting friends would consist of school classes, extracurricular activities, a trip down to the pub, or a dance. Social media has changed tenfold how we meet people. We can now connect to anyone in the world who also has social media, at any given time. No longer do we have to put in the groundwork, wait to call people, or even see people, and we can dig through people’s online lives to get a better idea of them (or what they portray) in minutes.
This is a significant lifestyle change, and it offers both pros and cons. While the cons may be obvious, such as people not being who they say they are, there are also some positives, such as now it is easier than ever to connect with like-minded people who are into similar interests, have similar beliefs or have gone through similar experiences. Now we can find these connections at the touch of a button, rather than having to work our way through everyone we meet.