Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues
Social media is in many ways a good thing. It is now a lot easier to be in contact with people, whether it be friends, family or that special someone you’ve met online. The amount of events I personally have found through facebook and thus attended have been numerous.
The problem is the smartphone usage constantly mean’s you know what is happening online, you know the feeling when the little ‘World’ sign flashes up on facebook and something is happening. Much to your disappointment you usually find out that someone has posted in some worthless group you joined years ago on facebook. My prime example is the ‘stuff for sale’ in …… (You fill in the blank). And it’s perhaps very disturbing that we are so often disappointed when we find out that it’s not someone liking our new profile picture, or the status that say’s where we are currently eating, or the many other status updates we can post on facebook.
Being born in 1989 I am part of the last generation that remembers a time just before social media became one of the main time usages on the internet. Myspace was just becoming a ‘thing’ and though you could put status updates and picture’s on it, it was still not as addictive as social media is today. There was never a point in the past where you saw so many people constantly looking down at their phone’s when walking, at restaurant’s, in the cinema and anywhere else. Perhaps this addiction can be blamed on our smartphone’s. After all, you are constantly just one ping away from hearing what the latest message, status update is. On this note, the constant news updates on our smartphone’s can also be annoying and yet addictive at the same time.
I’ve been on both sides of the fence in regards to how social media can make you feel. When you are doing well in life, it’s the place to be. When you are not doing so well it should be avoided at all costs. Whilst going through a financially very difficult situation it just wasn’t great seeing people tagging themselves in various holiday destination’s and putting their photo’s up along with their new status updates. It was also frustrating when someone changed their profile picture and would get a guaranteed 70 like’s (courtesy of the big blue thumb) within the first five minutes. In regard’s to this situation, I confess I’ve grown out of it but I still believe some people could change their profile picture to a dustbin and get as many like’s with blue thumb bizarrely.
Currently my fortune’s have changed and I am perhaps guilty of participating in the ‘look at how good my life is’ on social media. I rarely change my profile picture and refuse to put ambiguous status’s up such as ‘heartbroken’. I do however usually post pictures of my trip’s away and I do usually post status update’s whenever I am attending a concert, eating out, visiting some new city or anything similar to that. Part of me accepts that there is a chance that I could be making someone feel frustrated that their life is not currently as adventurous as mine, or they would like to attend something that I am attending but do not have the financial resources, or time to attend. Yet I feel there will always come a point when this person say’s enough is enough and they thus decide to delete me off facebook. And rightfully they should if they feel that way.
It’s a very strange dilemma, that many of us feel we need to post these updates as though we are in competition with one another – for who is having the best time. We of course do see the odd frustrated update, or the textbook ‘Joe Bloggs changed his status to single’ after a relationship breakup. We do see the occasional picture of someone showing their car, where someone else has vandalised it. Yet these posts appear to be in the minority as opposed to the majority. Generally it feels as though most of us are always having a good time in our lives. We never see the arguments behind the scenes with couple’s, we rarely ever see a person putting a picture on facebook of themselves looking sad. We only see what is there and in the virtual world it can be dangerous. People are having problems in their lives. People are struggling behind the scenes. Life is not a 24/7 constant holiday, although some try to make it appear that way.
We do waste too much time scrolling down the endless page of facebook. We do waste too much time looking at silly cat videos or people doing silly things. Most of us who use social media do have FOMO (Fear of missing out) as a problem because of our constant anxiety waiting for our phone’s to ping and hoping it’s something to do with us. Personally while doing an activity I now turn my phone upside down and on silent and I am fortunate enough to do a job where I am not allowed my phone on me. So my attention to reading, writing and all the other thing’s I need to do is met with the care and attention it deserves. When you want to give 100% to a task or a person – put the phone down, life is too short.
Oliver Wilson, (2018)