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The Purpose of Social Media

Watching some of my students completely ignore me because they’re caught up in TikTok, Instagram, or (surprisingly) Facebook got me thinking about social media and its purpose.

Everyone has a different reason for joining any social media platform. For example, the only reason I have a Facebook account is to connect with relatives I’ve never met and discover more of my family lineage. Of course, along the way as I’ve changed jobs several times, it’s become a way for me to stay connected with previous coworkers who once felt like family.

In another instance, I joined Threads because I wanted to have a place to share my intrusive thoughts without feeling weird because literally no one follows me on any platform (which I am totally okay with).

Besides those two instances, a reel I saw on Instagram (funnily enough) by @syggaaa perfectly summed up why I have social media. She said, “Your social media is not for your friends. Your social media is for you and your dreams and your self expression. And it’s meant to… Put something out in the world INTENTIONALLY. So that people who are looking for you, & who NEED you, Can find you. That is what social media is for <3.”

If you find yourself comparing anything about what makes up the beautiful you to someone on your social media feed, it’s time to alter your feed. If altering your feed doesn’t work, it might be time to delete the account sis.

The generation coming up, as well as my generation, are very open about mental health and our battles with our brains. Sometimes, part of our struggles with mental health and dangerous thoughts is what we are seeing on our screens. Having a negative reaction to whatever you’re seeing on the screen can lead to depressive episodes, suicidal situations, anxiety attacks, etc.

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, what we are seeing every day when we casually check our social apps to bypass the time are playing a big part in our mental and emotional well-being. And in situations when dangerous things start to trend on TikTok, they play a part in our physical well-being.

Kudos to everyone I know who does not have a social media account and who has the strength to not join social media.

Over the past couple of years, I feel like I’ve gotten better at limiting myself with social media use. I’ve cleansed my feed several times, and I now follow people I find inspiring on Instagram and Threads. With all of the other social media platforms I have (TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat), I follow people from my personal life I want to keep up with. Honestly, I’ve gotten to the point where if I get tired of being nosy and keeping up with people from high school, I can unfollow them in a heartbeat.

As much as I hope to maintain my good habits with social media, I feel like it could change next year. It seems like with the strikes going on, next year will be the year of content creators as people look for a way to fill their desire to watch something new.

The most important thing to remember as we fill our minds with social media content is that its meant to inspire and be a space for us to freely express ourselves and connect us with like-minded people.

Social media is not meant for tuning your teacher out to get by while you spend less than eight hours at an institutional building.

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