The real you, and the fake you.
As millennials, we know that having a social media life is nearly a requirement to have a real-world social life. By no means is it impossible to have a social life without Facebook, but that’s because everyone else has it. You may not use Facebook, but you are still affected by it through your relation to other people. The fact that social media is everywhere is undeniably convenient, but it’s not without its problems. The information is not new, but it remains that social media can damage an individual’s mental health.
Having a social life as a millennial involves multiple group chats or keeping an up to date calendar via events on Facebook. So much can happen in a group chat. Gossip and inside jokes could contribute to feeling excluded. Group chats can be a hassle the bigger they get, and not everyone likes them or joins them. You are still going to hear about everything that happens in them at some point or another. More important is your social calendar. Social events are on Facebook, typically in order to reach a wider audience, and many events are only online. As a result, if you don’t hear about it from a friend, you don’t hear about it all. Facebook is in your life whether you want it to be or not.
Social media is not all it’s cracked up to be. There is the real you, who your friends know you to be, and then there is the social media version of you that is the ‘best’ version of you - which makes sense because you are only going to put the good stories and the best pictures online because why would you do the opposite? Not to say that its all positive, because people like to complain, but everything is done online to portray a certain perspective. This can negatively impact your life through by thinking that the grass is always greener. You are consistently seeing the best of other people and comparing it to the real version of yourself. Many studies have been done to prove this idea, and it is dating back nearly a decade. However, all of these studies are merely a dent compared to the fact that Facebook itself admits that it’s bad for mental health. These negative effects on mental health are often the previously mentioned lower self-esteem as a result of this idea of negative social comparison.
So, social media is bad for you, but it’s not going anywhere because it is practically a part of everyday life. Things can be done to avoid these problems, like avoiding over-use of social media or using Facebook’s new features that allow you to limit its use. However, I don’t think it will really matter. Social media is a normal part of life and we have accepted that. Now, we have to accept the problems that come with it.