Guest Column: Does social media improve modern life?

Social media
Social media

With technology constantly advancing, it is not surprising how much social media has progressed over the last decade or so.

I remember when I was younger, and I would borrow my grandparents’ desktop PC to log into my Facebook account once or twice a week, tops.

And back then, social media was not an essential part of our lives. Meals out and concerts were left undocumented, and private messages would have to take a backseat to reality. But, with mobile devices and apps and mobile data, social media has become integral to our lives.

While sites such as Facebook and Instagram are invaluable for communicating with old friends, and raising awareness for different issues, they have their negatives. Every smart-phone owner with an Instagram account has fingertip access to, well, everything. Take millions of selfies, hundreds of artistic images of avocado-on-toast breakfasts, and a constant ‘behind the scenes’ of celebrities’ lives, for example. It’s unsurprising the sites can become so addictive.

I know that scrolling through these platforms is the first thing I do every morning, and the last thing I do at night. But, do benefits outweigh the disadvantages?

It’s crazy how much times have changed. Many of my family nostalgically recite details of the pre-internet days to me.

Nowadays, children are born with screens being thrust into their faces, and have their own iPhones, complete with all social media accounts before their 14th birthday. I acknowledge that this is simply progression, and that the world is changing, but I ask, is it for the better?

With so much online content, everybody with an account wants to contribute. Their ‘date night’, or ‘new outfit’ are depicted, and almost rated by the ‘like’ system. I know that I personally feel the need to portray my life as much more exciting than it is, and constantly compare my day to that of online sensation Kylie Jenner, and am left feeling slightly underwhelmed.

The truth is that online, most of us construct a completely different identity in an attempt to gain attention.

This is an issue typical of Snapchat or Instagram, and it makes me question whether life was better without social media.

It’s so easy to sit and consider the pros and cons of each platform, and the simple answer it to delete your accounts, and remove yourself from the platform.

But it’s not that easy because social media has become a huge part of the younger generation’s lifestyle, it’s almost essential that you participate. I know I’d feel very in the dark without my snapchat account.

But, did you prefer the times before you knew what everyone was doing all the time, or do you think social media is a blessing?