While I’m working and driving, I always have the radio on. So yesterday I heard the same new story at least 10 times and it really stuck with me. The story was that spending more than 2 hours a day on social media can lead to feeling isolated.
Now I work in digital marketing and in my free time I am a blogger. So as you can imagine, I spend a lot of time on social media every day, easily more than 4 hours. But I can’t ever remember feeling lonely or isolated after using social media.
The idea behind this recent research is that people tend to only share the ‘best bits’ of their life, which can lead to you feeling envious or that you aren’t achieving at the same level. Or it could be more basic than that and feel like everyone else is going out and having a good time while you’re sat at home watching movies and eating a huge 18in BBQ chicken pizza all to yourself. (Can you guess which one was my Saturday night?)
Being 22, many of the people on my social media are starting to make big steps in life. It’s rare a day goes past where someone hasn’t gotten engaged, or married, or pregnant, or bought their first house. Whereas I’m still living at home with my parents, away from my boyfriend of 3 years with no means to change this situation any time soon. But I can’t say any of this bothers me and I think the reason why is because most of the time I spend on social media is networking with likeminded equestrians and bloggers.
This online community doesn’t just broadcast the good days on social media, they also share the bad and the funny. The posts are never (or at least very rarely) attention seeking and they aren’t fishing for compliments. They simply want to let everyone know what has happened today. Unlike other online communities, the people responding to the posts are enthusiastic and interested. They don’t just rattle off a bog-standard response. They engage, ask questions and share their own stories. Being part of these online communities it’s hard to come away not feeling a part of something.
So perhaps, the real reason people come away from social media feeling bad is because they aren’t interacting with a community. Maybe they are just lurking on the edge, looking in on other people’s lives. Or maybe who they are trying to interact with are too different to them, with different views and aims. Perhaps they need to find more people they have things in common with.
I think social media is a fantastic way of reaching out to likeminded people you wouldn’t meet in the real world and it can create a really supportive community. Time on social media shouldn’t and doesn’t have to leave you feeling like you aren’t good enough.