Navigating the whirlwind of the Social Media culture

Times have changed. We are now living in a world saturated with technological innovation and increasing dependence on tech in every sphere of life. We find ourselves in the midst of the era of technological revolution where Smartphones and the internet are ubiquitous and have become easily available commodities.

We’ve always had our personal identities but now we also have virtual ones, which seem to matter more than the former and sadly so. Social media/online presence seems to matter a great deal in this era. It’s a tide we can find ourselves easily swamped into, doing what all others around us are doing without having a clear sense of direction for ourselves.  And not just that, social media has become more than a photo and video sharing platform it used to be years ago when Facebook first hit the market. It has increasingly become a go-to for virtually anything from news headlines and apparel shopping to Psychological therapy and counseling, you name it. With information at our fingertips, the technological revolution has surely been beneficial and truly ‘revolutionary’ in expanding our knowledge, ability to share ideas, and in connecting globally, while also impacting us in ways that are hard to pinpoint but are widely experienced. Mainly its impact on our minds and perceptions, its addictive characteristics, and the associated quest for impact and influence with comes with social media usage. A hunger for likes, follows, comments, shares and engagements.

Although a great tool in enhancing our lives, social media’s impact is also checkered with its widespread unintended negative effects on people of every age.

A ‘blizzard’ of content and a ‘barrage’ of information

Hopping on social media at times can feel like facing a barrage of information, a lot more than what we can take in or absorb at a time.  It’s almost like a whirlwind of content coming our way – random quotes, beautiful looking pictures of places and people, soulful poetry, news headlines, food-related content etcetera. It’s like being a kid in a carnival looking at the fancy rides, tasty food, photo booths, ice creams, and folk musical performance all the same time and becoming too excited to be able to decide which way to go first. I don’t know if that analogy made sense, but I do hope you got my point ;).  In such a whirlwind of options, its hard to think and decide what we want, and therefore it’s very easy to be swept away in the tide of what’s coming our way.

I believe the strength of social media lies in two things. The variety of content on the platform and its visual nature, its both of these things that often keep us coming back for more.

Nevertheless, none of us would disagree that social media and other visual content platforms have great utility and provide tremendous opportunities to learn, engage and grow. Time spent there can be beneficial and can instill knowledge, inspiration, and creativity if it is used in a targeted way, however, if we aren’t aware of our own personal agenda of being on social media, that’s when we can find ourselves scrolling through random content one after the other which wastes our precious time and energy. We may also find ourselves looking at content that is not necessarily useful in any way and also posting content that is not useful either.

The Highway to Freedom

The very first thing to understand when facing the tide of Social media content, I believe is to take a step back and realize that it’s a tool. Social media is a tool that has great utility. More often than not we forget this and become swept away into the tide – we come bridled by it, having a knee-jerk reaction in following its norms and trends, and living a life disconnected from reality. I have been affected by social media quite a bit and I think many of us do every day. It may have caused pain and frustration but much can change when we start to view the social media culture with the right lens. We ought to remember that we are individuals with thinking minds and take a step back from all the rush social media may have created in our lives to realize that it’s a tool, a useful one but it must not become a bridle we must be controlled by.

This is the first article of the blog series – Navigating the whirlwind of Social media culture.

Hope to see you in the next one!