At the beginning of 2016, I decided to remove Facebook. I was only going to temporarily deactivate it at first just to have a break. But after a little while of not using it, I forgot about it. My main reasons for removing my profile were: I was wasting too much time aimlessly scrolling through my timeline and reading lots of unnecessary information. I have met so many people on social media from the blogging community who are so nice and distribute helpful information. I have only used Facebook for a personal account. I may have one for my blog one day, but in this post I am only talking about Facebook from a personal account perspective.
My Facebook was full of people that I used to know or friends of friends, whom I would never actually speak to or see in real life. So what was the point in reading all of their information on Facebook? It’s the constant updates, baby pictures, ‘happy couples’ and those seeking attention. I personally feel this information is toxic, what purpose does it serve? What value is it adding to my life and why am I spending my time reading it?
As social media has evolved it has come to light how things aren’t always what they seem. Users paint pictures in order to seem like their life is better than it actually is. This is incredibly harmful to those consuming this information. My favourite quote in relation to social media is: ‘Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel’. People may try to portray a perfect life on social media but as the reader it’s so important to remember that it isn’t always a true reflection, so don’t feel bad if everything isn’t going as well in your life.
Studies have been conducted on the effects of social media and how it can contribute to mental health problems:
“Why would heavy social media usage cause depression? The exposure to “highly idealized representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives,” says the study.” – Amit Chowdhry, forbes.com
We all have good and bad moments. This all links to why I enjoy blogging – I talk about everything; the ups and downs and not just how I want my life to be perceived.
At this point in time I only use Instagram & Whatsapp as social media platforms for my personal use. I believe that if people want to be in your life they should make time to see you in person. Of course it isn’t a one way street, If i want to catch up with someone I ask them to go for a coffee. I don’t need to be constantly tagged online and recently peoples extensive updates to feel included. I understand that social media helps us keep in contact with people whilst managing busy lifestyles. But when people post everything online, what else is left to discuss in person?
I believe when it comes to mental health, happiness and purely the consumption of information that adds value to your life. You need to be the one to make the decision to remove a social media platform if it’s not contributing to your happiness. Don’t worry about feeling excluded, what are you really missing out on? Don’t be caught in the trap of an illusion that is making you feel negatively about your life. I am discussing Facebook throughout this post because it was the platform I didn’t to remove myself from. If you enjoy using it, great! This is just my opinion.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and I would love to know your thoughts on this topic:
Do you believe social media can negatively affect mental health?
Which platform do you least enjoy using – or have you removed any?