Instagram- WHAT ARE WE DOING?

Should we all delete Instagram?

The question I ask myself everyday …. “Should I delete Instagram?”

I have been reading multiple articles recently about what consistently using your Instagram truly does and what it means for your mental wellbeing. I think when we think of living an unhealthy lifestyle we think about minimal exercise and eating fast food. Yet, what about our mental wellbeing? How do we think our brain handles seeing everyone’s best lives every 2 minutes on Instagram. I will tell you from personal experience, NOT WELL PEOPLE!

We are human beings who love interacting with each other but when do we draw the line? Especially when there are filters now literally called the beauty filter. That cannot be good for anyone’s self-esteem. We must ask ourselves if this type of interaction has turned disingenuous and has come to enable a culture of unattainability?

Sticking with the theme of blogging, I read a great post by Travels of Adam called “How Deleting Instagram for 30 Days Saved my Sanity” and I thoroughly enjoyed his take on the app and how it effected him. He talks about how Instagram was showing him people’s lives and showing him how they were having such a great time while he was sitting at home, scrolling endlessly. This is the reality for most of us. We see our friends and family out doing what we wish we could be doing. Yet, when we are out doing something exciting, we continuously post so others feel how we did watching their content. It is a vicious cycle that is very easy to fall into.

Another great point when it comes to deleting Instagram is that we are living our life centered around a screen and virtual validation. Jessie Dax- Setkus wrote an article outlining the 5 reasons to delete Instagram and she quickly dives into the toxicity of living your life behind a screen. Are we truly living in the moment if all we are worried about is how many likes we are going to get on our recent photo? We are just waiting for virtual validation and I think those of younger generations are allowing silly numbers like how many likes they get and how many followers they have, affect their self-esteem and self-worth. We are not meant to be validated like this, we are not meant to have access to others approval 24/7.

All of that being said, and one great point that Travels of Adam focuses on, is that if you delete Instagram you are really out of the loop. People share funny trends, funny videos, concert announcements, events etc. If you delete the app, it might be good for your virtual presence but it could affect your physical presence as well. I can also acknowledge that Instagram can provide updates on your friends and family that you want to see, not all of it is to seek approval.

I battle with this question a lot, “Should I Delete Instagram?”. The truth is, yes I probably should. I have thought about it for awhile and it is probably the healthiest decision for my mental health. Will I do it right now… probably not! However, I do see it in my near future.

What do you all think? Do you think you should delete Instagram? Do you want to? See my poll below!

Facebook:

Instagram…. good or bad for the psyche? Check out my blog to see if we should all delete Instagram and go back to the stone age of good ol’ face to face interaction. bit.ly/2TU7ZEA

Twitter:

DELETE INSTAGRAM?!? … No way! Check out my blog to see why you might want to reconsider. bit.ly/2TU7ZEA

Do all Gen Z’s LOVE social media?

Do all Gen Zers LOVE social media? I think the logical answer is no. Not every Western World Generation Z loves social media, that is a silly generalization. Yet, the narrative is that we all do. The narrative is that we eat, sleep, and breathe social media. I won’t pretend the numbers do not point to this fact; it is projected that 99% of 18 to 24-year old’s will have some form of social media in 2021. Compared to our parents and those before us, this is crazy. In the last decade, social media has grown exponentially and taken over communication channels. Generation Z’s whole teenage years were centered around the progression of social media and providing constant interaction with their peers via the internet.

As we have grown up in the age of social media, we are the generation that many applications are geared towards. We are tech savvy. We can teach ourselves practically anything; gives us a few hours and a fast internet connection and we can figure it out. With the emergence of social media, we have learned how technology works and how to utilize it to it’s maximum potential. Social media platforms have used this to their advantage and aim new apps at Generation Z and younger. For example, TikTok has boomed since the pandemic began in 2020 being the second most used app for 19 to 25-year old’s. The creators made sure the app was easy to use but also required technical skill to created widely spread content. Generation Z was the audience in mind when creating this app, how can we deny its use when it was made just for us?

BUT, do we truly love it?

I think there are multiple truths coexisting at once.  I believe that most of Generation Z both loves and hates social media. Social media has become ingrained into our everyday routines that I am not sure either one of those drastic emotions is associated with it. It just is. It is always there, ready for us to post, ready for us to log on and stalk our friends, it has become a day filler. I think the narrative of Gen Z loving social media is very misleading. We did not really have a choice; it was how we were accustomed to communicating so we adapted like every generation before us.

Now, I do think that Gen Z has utilized social media for all it has to offer. For example, Forbes wrote an article about how Gen Z has created a whole movement of social commerce. Many have started online businesses, and many have used this tactic during the pandemic when a steady income was hard to find. However, just because we use it as a helpful resource for capital does not mean we LOVE it.

Personally, I do not LOVE social media. I actually go out of my way to limit my time on several platforms. I rarely post and I do not interact with many on these platforms. I would say the only social media I actively use is LinkedIn because I am trying to expand my professional network. I find social media to have played a huge role in my confidence and mental wellbeing in my teens and as a young adult, I am able to identify the unhealthiness of it. However, as I stated above- social media just is so instead of dividing myself from other users in my generation, I changed who I follow and how I use social media.

I know use social media as a way to promote my own self growth and expand my knowledge. On Instagram, I follow Ottawa based thrift stores and body positivity influencers. On Facebook, I follow my favourite news outlets and graphic designers who use their talent to make posters about human rights campaigns. Social media is such a large part of society, I think it is almost impossible to live ‘off the grid’ but you can change how you use it, who you interact with, and the power you give it in your life.

Check out this video on YouTube questioning if ‘All Gen Z Think the Same’.

Do you think you think differently than the majority of your generation? If yes, how so? Comment below!


Twitter Post:

Do all Gen Z think the same? Find out here: bit.ly/3xjNnUr

Facebook Post:

Do you know any Gen Z’ers? Wonder how they think? Check out my blog bit.ly/3xjNnUr and see for yourself!

Influencers: Fashion, beauty and …POLITICS?!?

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels



Facebook Post:

We all do it, posting about politics as become inevitable… but what about influencers? Check out my blog about influencers and politics bit.ly/3gaeHO9

Twitter Post:

Influencers and Politics…. how does that work? Check out my blog to see bit.ly/3gaeHO9 #socialmediapolitics


Citations:

Goodwin, A.M., Joseff, K., & Woolley, S. C. (2020, October). Social media influencers and the 2020 U.S. election: Paying ‘regular people’ for digital campaign communication. Center for Media Engagement. https://mediaengagement.org/research/social-media-influencers-and-the-2020-election

Citarella, J. (2021, April 24). Are we ready for social media influencers shaping politics? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/24/social-media-influencers-shaping-politics

Hmm… Shaylee posting about social media and politics? NO WAY!

As my last blog refers to the polarization of politics on social media, I think it is important to address how influencers play into that divide. To quote my mom, “What are those damn influencers doing now?”. Well, it has been said that a lot of influencers are using their platform to push their followers towards a certain side of politics. This can range from making posts about everyday political decisions, like wearing a mask during COVID, or something as big as who to vote for in an upcoming federal election.

As society turns to social media for many aspects of daily life, it feels inevitable that it would eventually become a platform for the politic sphere. Millennials and Generation Z, use social media as a way to gather information, talk with their peers, and share certain campaigns. Though I agree that social media can be an amazing platform for this type of sharing, is it okay for influencers to use their power on these platforms to sway votes/political ideas?  

The Center for Media Engagement (2021) conducted research on influencers and how they have utilized their platforms as a way to spread political information. However, they came across some slightly disturbing information that I had absolutely no idea had been going on behind the scenes. They found that some influencers can be and have been PAID for their political promotions. Normally on social media when an influencer is paid for promoting a product, it is mandated by law that the influencer state that it is a paid advertisement. Yet, with these certain political advertisements as the compensation is given off-platform, they do not have to disclose their payment for posting.

Though I think this is an important point to address, I also want to preface that many online influencers have said that they do not get paid for posting political content. Instead, they do it to educate and spark conversation amongst their followers. The internet, as scary as it can be, can also be a place of open communication. It can allow for marginalized influencers to speak and tell their stories which can have huge benefits for society and its progression.

A concern of mine is that the argument of influencers posting and promoting their political views can be so subjective. If you follow an influencer and they share the same political views as you, your connection with them has grown stronger and more personal. However, if an influencer you follow speaks outwardly against your political beliefs, you will probably unfollow them or feel some sort of disconnect. This ties into my last post on political polarization, where we will actively fill our feed with what aligns with our values and morals. Therefore, influencers will have a large following of those who think similarly to them which in turn creates more polarization.

I think social media and politics is a sticky duo and without the proper education, awareness, and conversations, we cannot move forward effectively as a society. So, I ask you, what do you think about influencers using their platform for political promotion? Do you think it is fair? Do you think it should be separate- good ol’ church and state- one’s work as an influencer should not entail their political views?

Answer my poll and let me know what you think!!

Politics & Social Media- A Deadly Combination?

A group of people, all crowded together. They seem to be in a protest and are holding up phones. Some look as though they are yelling and pointing at something.
Photo by Amine M’Siouri from Pexels

Don’t get me wrong, I love finding my news via social media. It is just right there- I do not have to click on a million different apps to know what is going on in the world. I open Facebook and see everything I need; my aunt teaching my cousin how to ride a bike, my university alumni page sharing old photos, and news articles about the COVID19 vaccine. Perfect! Or so I thought…

Back in 2020, I watched the documentary “The Social Dilemma”. The documentary addresses many issues with social media but the concept that stuck out to me most was that social media was a key driver in political polarization. I don’t know about you, but this concept made no sense to me for many reasons.

First of all, what is political polarization? Political polarization is the large and continuously growing divide between right wing and left-wing politics, or liberals and conservatives. Second, how is that possible? How could a simple platform where I interact with family and friends, be driving political divide amid North America?

The Social Dilemma and The Pew Research Center addresses that the social media algorithms, the ones used on popular apps like Facebook and Twitter, crafts our newsfeed to what they think we will click on and our interests. Therefore, if someone clicks on an article about Scientology- the app will pick up on that and continue to feed that person articles about Scientology. As the algorithm develops and begins to track the user’s interests more and more, it will then stop showing articles against or criticizing Scientology because it knows the user will not like that. With the increasing exposure to Scientology on the user’s page and the decline of other content, the user is likely to grow an interest in said topic.

This is what the documentary and social scientists are talking about when they say social media is dividing society’s political views. According to the Pew Research Center, over the past 20 years, political polarization has grown with the increase of social media usage. Though this may not lead to a direct causation, it is something to think about.

What can we do?

Now, the REAL question… how do we fix this? How as social media consumers can we combat the algorithms? To answer your question, I have come up with a few call-to-action’s for all of us!

  1. Read articles outside your political views. For example, if you are very left- wing with your political practices, maybe read a news story on Fox News a few times. This will mess with the algorithm and provide you with another perspective.
  2. Don’t get all your news from social media. I know how easy it can be to get all of your information from one platform, but that might not result in the most accurate approach. Instead, go to a few news websites like Global News or New York Times.
  3. Click on articles you normally wouldn’t read. If you see an article on your newsfeed that does not fit your normal content, click on it!! Show the algorithm that you have an array of interests.

As social media consumers let’s fight the polarization and read both sides of every story!

For more information on social media and political polarization check out:

Twitter and Facebook Posts

Facebook:

Curious why your newsfeed is only what you WANT to see? …suspicious huh? Read my blog and find out! bit.ly/3bQwN6n

Twitter:

Social Media- driving political divide? Find out here: bit.ly/3bQwN6n … #LiberalsvsConservatives

APA Citation

Pew Research Center. (2021, April 9). Political Polarization in the American Public. Pew Research Center – U.S. Politics & Policy. https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2014/06/12/political-polarization-in-the-american-public/.

Rhodes, L., Piculell, S., & Wright, D (Producers), & Orlowski, J. (Director). (2020). The Social Dilemma [Video file]. Retrieved from The Social Dilemma | Netflix Official Site