Updated: Nov 12, 2020
By: Kyra Garabedin
Anchor Staff Writer
In a time where staying connected is more important than ever, I find myself feeling more isolated from friends and family than ever. Call me old fashioned, but I have never been a fan of using social media to keep in touch with anyone in my life. After the pandemic intensified, watching Snapchat stories and scrolling through Instagram posts became the only way to maintain relationships for many. That’s what social media is designed for, right?
Something changed over the past few months that prompted me to think about what social media truly reveals about its users. Carefully considered posts only highlight areas of a person’s life they wish to share with their followers. I began to question whether seeing my friends post on their various social media accounts actually gave any information about how they were doing.
It seems most social media platforms know exactly how to make someone see posts that make them feel upset and become further disconnected from society. Have you ever noticed how Instagram puts your significant other’s name, front and center, for you to see on that person’s photo whom you don’t trust? Did you lose your Snapchat streak with them, or worse, lose your place as their number one best friend? This can easily cause anyone to start jumping to conclusions, which leads to tension in relationships and even worse, trust issues. Again I wonder, if social media’s intended purpose is to allow us to maintain connections with people we care about, why does it leave us feeling worse than we did before we started scrolling?
I recently spoke with one of my peers who wishes to remain anonymous about how social media makes her feel. As an active user of mostly Instagram and Snapchat, she recently struggled with trusting her boyfriend after discovering he frequently chats with girls who are just his friends. Even though she has no reason to believe he would ever betray her trust or risk ruining their relationship, the nature of applications such as Snapchat make it difficult to feel at ease. She described the uneasy feeling of no longer being the person he chats with the most on Snapchat, even if he is just having casual and friendly conversations. My friend added to our conversation, “I wish Snapchat just didn’t exist and I wouldn’t have to worry about it”, and that is when I realized the true toxicity of popular social media platforms used today.
The digital world we live in truly is amazing and surely allows for connections to be possible, but that is not always the case. Some of us might not realize how our simple actions on social media platforms make others in our lives feel. All I ask is that we be mindful of how we use social media to ensure it fulfills the purpose it was intended for. It should connect us with others we can’t see everyday. Sometimes the best we can do in the meantime is take a breath and disconnect for a while.