English gardens . . .

Sitting waiting at Gatwick for our flight back to home — a two day journey, spending tonight in Boston, catching the bus for Portland on Wednesday where we will pick up the car and head for Port…


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Exploring Social Media

The topic I am interested in writing about from different aspects throughout the semester is social media and the addiction and influences lead to self esteem issues. After considering multiple topics, I have found the most interest in social media, in particular, due to its impact in my life. I have seen different perspectives, both positive and negative in considering social media use.

This topic matters as Americans, and so many others throughout the world, are addicted to social media. While this is true, social media doesn’t always have to be negative. For example, it can connect you to family members who live across the country and you can stay up to date on their lives. Social media can assist those in crisis by disseminating vital information during wildfires, flooding and earthquakes. Social media can also help support the community through fundraising efforts and awareness campaigns. Although this is all true, social media has become toxic specifically for teenagers as it sets unrealistic life expectations and encourages unsafe activities. I believe that many young people see the issues with social media, but don’t always do anything about it, which is why researching it would be important to me.

There are some substantial points that arise when thinking and exploring the topic of social media. One thing to consider is that social media is a relatively new concept that has taken the world by storm. Unfortunately for me, I have been brought into the young adult world surrounded by its toxicity. According to the New York Times article “The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers”, many people — adults and kids alike — view likes, loves, comments and followers as a barometer for popularity, even within a smaller, closed group. Teens can quickly get caught up in the feedback loop, posting and sharing images and videos that they believe will gain the largest reaction.(Homayoun, 2017)Social Media Live. I can understand the content in this article in some ways because I do care about likes and follows on my social media account, Instagram. It is a vicious cycle of posting cute photos in order to receive likes and comments. There are many self-esteem issues tied into social media. According to an article from Child Mind Institute, “The fallout from these unrealistic standards becomes more dangerous once kids reach college, where they face higher stakes, harder work, and a largely parent-free environment.” Self-esteem issues have become much more common and widespread due to social media and continue to create unrealistic expectations by the minute. Teens as well as other age groups go through the same cycle of following models and celebrities and constantly comparing their lifestyles and looks to them. It is hard enough for young girls to feel confident in their own skin, but these apps have created an even larger expectation that is nearly impossible to live up to.

I am drawn to this topic because I see many girls in my age group and beyond who are putting up a fake persona of their daily lives. The thing about social media is that everyone posts all of the great things that happen in life while leaving out all of the negative aspects, which is very misleading. Being a young girl, I follow many celebrities and supermodels and I am constantly comparing my life and looks to their daily posts which is detrimental to my well being. While I do see social media in its positive light at times, I also see my addiction to it. Not only have I seen my struggles with social media, but I have seen my younger sister struggle with her image on social media as well. We are only two girls, but I know a whole world of girls are comparing themselves and putting themselves down due to the toxic cycle social media has created. An article/illustration I found on The New York Times with the simple title of “Social Media” (Lahan, 2017) (Schulten, 2017) displays a photo of a boy on his couch who is eating a bag of chips and soda with a large stomach while posting a selfie of himself on the beach living his best life. This is really an image of how social media is can be used and the illusion it creates.

Throughout the essays I will be writing in the upcoming semester, I hope to come to a conclusion as to whether the long hours spent on social media provide benefits that may outweigh the negative aspects as previously discussed. I want to explore all the aspects that have made social media so addictive and fake in our world. I want to question my own beliefs in doing so.

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