Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, Flickr, Foursquare and Tumblr… I could go on. We’ve all heard of these social media platforms, we all use at least one. Social media is fantastic, if you use it right (like most things in life). However, people who abuse social media have blacked the media towards the evil it holds within … (someone hire me at the Daily Mail). So I’d like to highlight the benefits and the negatives.
Recently, I’ve been helping local businesses to set their online presence, via the three main platforms I find I use the most: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Twitter for short and snappy, straight to the point info injections with pictures; Facebook for the longer rambles; Instagram for the cute seasonal themed pictures to grab the attention of the potential buyer. Having an Internet presence is very important to survive these days, not only will it attract new customers, but it helps businesses to engage with their customers, ensuring that they feel involved and giving them more of an incentive to support.
The use of social media on a personal level however, has major downsides. A few months ago, my friend decided that she wanted a slice of being ‘social’. Within a day she (finally) had her very own Facebook account. She went on to express dismay at how her friends portrayed their lives on the site. “A wonderful day with my hubby now watching Friends on the sofa” – to most people, this ‘status’ would be fine, people would like it and it creates the impression of leading a ‘perfect life’. She later told me that some of her friends who were painting out their lives so perfectly were incredibly unhappy in every way, shape and form.
It seems to me therefore, that social media is a way to tell your friends how happy you are and to mask how you really feel. Social media can be used to boast and paint an idyllic life but isn’t this a little sad? Obviously this is purely from my own experience, but after speaking with other friends, they seem to be seeing a similar trend.
So is social media really all that social? It feels more hostile and alienating to those who don’t post about how good their lives are. On a personal note, I like taking pictures of the cows that live in the field next to my house or tweeting about how the autumn leaves sound underfoot. I’m not disregarding those who tweet about their trips with the family, but I think instead of just reading, we should communicate, meet up and get involved instead of sitting back and scrolling endlessly on our screens.
NOVEMBER 2014 from Cat’s Monthly Column with TSOTA