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Is social media bad for society’s health?

There is very little that social media cannot do…

Social Media can tell you what’s happening in the world. What companies to like, where the latest pop-up is and what you should, and shouldn’t do with a blowtorch. In fact, the only thing social media can’t do is make you a cup of tea, but someone in China is probably working on that as we type. But all this comes at a price. As the potential of social media grows, so, too, does its ability to corrode at the very fabric of our world. Social media; help or hindrance to society?

Social media, with its ability to tag, like and mention, has created a new generation of self-awareness. Where our every action is watched, not only by ourselves, but by the cyber-world. The awareness of the world’s gaze propels us towards a more exaggerated and favourable version of ourselves online. According to Psychologies Magazine, there is a condition called ‘E-Personalities’, in which we create a false online personality: supposedly, we devise an alter-ego on sites, a cooler, more eccentric, bolder version of ourselves, that, in reality, we can’t live up to. Hence our real personality pales next to our Facebook one. I, for one, am a lot paler in real life than on Facebook (but that’s largely due to fake tan), but I’m glad to say that I’m hilarious in real life too.

The Guardian recently published that there was a proven correlation between your number of Facebook friends and your tendency towards Narcisstic Personality Behaviour. The more friends, the more likely you are towards things like self-absorption, vanity, superiority, and exhibitionistic tendencies. My grandmother was recently hijacked by Bath Rugby Club, marched around the town by blue-painted half-naked boys like some kind of Mahi ritual, all part of a Facebook prank – point proven. So basically, if you already have the tendency to spend a bit longer than normal doing your hair in the morning, or the majority of your photos have a hidden elbow in them from where you have tried to disguise the fact you are taken a photo of yourself, before social media, you’re in trouble now.

And it isn’t just social media sites that control our daily behavior. If one looks at the platforms we use to adapt the content of our posts, applications like Instagram, where all photos are given that wonderfully kooky, homemade feel, straight out of 1960s Brighton Beach postcard, the link between post and desired effect is clear. It isn’t enough to post a photo of your dinner online (if you actually think about it, that in itself is odd enough), it must have the Instagrammed, hipster-sheen of something you’d find at Heston’s own dining table. We need to make our lives stand out, but, the irony is, the way in which we go about doing this means that in fact, we’re all exactly the same. Wouldn’t it be refereshing if just once you saw a photo that hadn’t been Instagrammed – now that really would be unique…

So Social Media comes at a price…

But, then again, would we change it? I for one would not like to imagine a world where I couldn’t write, tweet, post and blog about every daily event and expect the world to read it. We must be extra vigilant about how our online activity affects our real-life world, however, and question who, exactly, is controlling our posting. But, heck, if the world wants to see a photo of my dinner in black and white perfection, then see it they shall…

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