Social media has become the primary means of communication for billions of people around the globe, especially younger users. But is being connected and giving everyone a voice 24/7 really such a good thing? Does it improve our lives at all?
To answer some of those questions and more, The Guardian recently asked several younger readers that have quit social media to chime in on the subject. The results may surprise you.
Daisy, a 23-year-old from Manchester, said Facebook made her feel anxious, depressed and like a failure as she watched others with seemingly perfect lives land great jobs, get engaged and so on. Her life changed for the better after deleting social media, she said, as she now enjoys catching up with friends. The experience also made her realize who her real friends were and how social media can zap the joy out of sharing news with people.
George Lincoln, a 17-year-old from Hampshire, said he has been off Facebook for two weeks and hasn’t felt tempted to return. What started out as a place where friends could talk has become much more trivial, replaced with articles others “like” and comments he isn’t interested in.
Ben from Surrey said he’s always seen social media as a platform in which people constantly seek attention and validation through one-upping the comments of others. He notes that we haven’t needed social media for thousands of years yet now some people think their lives are over if they don’t have it which is ridiculous (his words, not mind).
Rosanna Cassidy of Nottingham said she was sick and tired of people trying to force their political beliefs on her and found it depressing that people would repeat views they had heard that weren’t even true. With Facebook three months in the rear-view mirror, she said she feels much happier and more content. Part of that has to do with being able to live her life instead of trying to shape it into one that simply looks desirable online. Very well said.
This subject hits home with me as I personally quit Facebook a little over four years ago. While I can certainly relate to the benefits of leaving social media behind, it’s not quite as simple as it seems. Perhaps one day I’ll elaborate on my journey since saying goodbye in August 2012.
Image courtesy Tom Grill, Getty Images