Social media isn’t the problem, it’s you

Photo by Darien Funk

Social media has such a large reputation for presenting a false reality, setting unattainable expectations, and stealing time from us, that we actually forget who is in charge. Yeah, that person is us. We are in charge of the content we see! 

Every like, share, and comment shape our future social media experience; let’s dive a little bit deeper.

How the algorithm works is that instead of being arranged in chronological order, our feed is personalized to what the platform thinks we would enjoy most. Rather than blaming social media for presenting a false reality, let’s check in with ourselves and really look at what we are interacting with. What posts are we saving, liking and sharing? 

The goal of social media is to make sure users keep on coming back. The algorithms involved in many social media platforms are things we all comply with as soon as we make an account. 

It’s no surprise that the infinite scroll matches the user’s desire to consume more. We saw this clearly when Tik Tok blew up. Around that exact time, Instagram’s user engagement dropped steeply, which birthed Instagram reels, allowing users the comfortability of using one app for the function of two. 

Acknowledging social media’s intention behind the algorithm is the first step in gaining back control, but there are questions that we should all be asking ourselves when reevaluating our time on social media platforms.

If you unfollowed so-and-so’s account right now, would you miss their content? Are positive feelings created when you see their posts? 

Whatever you view on social media, you are actively giving time to it and prioritizing it over other activities. Every single time we say yes to a certain activity, we are saying no to another. 

Let’s direct these pockets of time towards things that give us genuine joy, contributing to the life we want to build-and the person we want to be.

Luckily, there are ways that  you can (almost) instantly change your social media experience.

We are fortunate that social media platforms allow us to almost instantly curate our feed! We have the ability to hide people’s posts and stories and dislike suggested posts for a better tuned explore page. 

If you find yourself comparing your life to that one specific person, but don’t want to follow them, you now know what to do! 

Until we can scroll through social media completely unscathed, which is easier said than done, this is a small step in the right direction. What is vital to remember here is that this step starts with us. 

Being aware of the effects social media has on us will lead us to change even the smallest habits that will give us so much more value and time.

Social media is a tool for genuine connection and/or to showcase one’s “highlight reel.” While people are taking many moves to authenticate their social media presence, let’s remember life happens outside of screens as well.

Remember that we are all in the same boat when it comes to social media’s influence.

It has the potential to create some nasty emotions and toxic atmospheres, but this doesn’t take away our own responsibility in how we use it. If you’re a social media user, just remember that you are in control of your social media experience. No, ifs, ands or buts.

    Leave a Reply