Is social media stopping us being social?
Is it making us anxious ?
Let’s admit it most of us a love a bit of social Media, we get to see friends who live a long distance away we can watch their children grow and stay connected, we can revel in each other’s triumphs, congratulate the weddings, wish happy birthday, all from the comfort of your own home. For those living away from family or in isolated areas Facebook and all can be a godsend and keep us from feeling isolated from the rest of our family and friends.
But does this mean that social media stops us connecting on any real level? Have we produced a society where people poke you on the internet but can’t even manage to smile at you in the supermarket? What about those who have 1500 Insta followers but no one to go out with on a Sunday afternoon no one to call when they are at a loose end?
Where we would normally pick up a phone and speak to a friend, we instead post a simple message on a Facebook page, does it mean quite as much? Are we losing the ability or need to communicate face to face?
Does looking at these pages and galleries of beautiful, happy people in fabulous places have a detrimental effect on us? Does social media give us unreal expectations? Does it increase anxiety and low self-esteem? Constantly observing daily these oh so perfect lives.
Going through personally difficult times lately has highlighted the thought that social media may have a detrimental effect on us. As we are struggling with certain aspects of our lives now we have noticed that social media can often increase the panic, enhance fears, heighten paranoia and poke at your self-esteem.This is not one person’s fault and everyone’s fault as we are now programmed to post perfection or our own idea of perfection or sadly is it what we think others think is perfection.
There are also those amongst us who are mere voyeurs, those of us who watch but do not comment, observe but but do not post. The ones who watch from a safe distance do the effects play the same to them?
Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK. States that…..
Social anxiety and the need for social assurance are also associated with problematic use of Facebook to the point where Facebook use can become an addiction and has even been shown to activate the same brain areas as addictive drugs such as cocaine[!This addiction poses a threat to physical and psychological well-being and interferes with performance at school or work, and staying away from Facebook is viewed by users as an act of ‘self-sacrifice’ or a ‘detoxification’. So the vicious cycle is that loneliness and social anxiety generate use of social networking sites, but then problematic addiction to these sites itself causes further forms of anxiety and stress.
We both post happy pics on our personal pages, our idea of perfect pics, if we are having a bad day why would we want to spread the misery. Why would we want to share that stuff, who would find that entertaining? Now don’t get me wrong in the moment we take those pics we are happy, that’s a true adaptation of the moment! But that’s all it is a moment and they are posed unlike the photos we used to have as kids, the unedited, happy smiling, unconsciousness Polaroids long before facebook.
On Sharkey and Duff we try and be more honest with how we are feeling we will post quotes if we are struggling etc but our pics are still filtered and edited . I Duff, find the full length shots traumatic to take, i take a million to get one shot that i am ok with posting. I have never been happy with my body shape and am hypercritical of every pic, if you really look at them on the S&D page i think you can tell how uncomfortable i am.
Listening to some of the younger generation lately has made us become more aware of what we are posting, we always thought of our page as more a link to our main focus, the blog. But are we falling into the same trap by posting our pics ? We set out to help empower and support other women especially those over 40, who feel like we did, that as you age you can feel like you become invisible and a little surplus to requirements in a society where the young and beautiful rein. The constant need for us to find content to fill the page brings with it its own anxiety issues.
On our insta stories we are happy to post our bare pics or videos of our unmade up faces, but would we have the courage to post them to our page or to Facebook where they could be constantly viewed and judged without feeling anxious ? I don’t think so ……
If we are going to share our lives if we are going to document our pictures shouldn’t we all be more honest, post the good the bad and the ugly?
When we post images of ourselves they are a staged snapshot. When a certain camera angle, good lighting, a shed load of makeup and my personal favourite a greasy camera lens (better than any filter) all come together to give you an Insta worthy pic. Its not in any way a reflection of how we really look on a day to day basis. We put out the best of ourselves , we put forward a heavily edited version of ourselves and our daily lives!
Reality vs the made up edited version us !
Does this damage our outlook? Do other people’s pictures leave us feeling deflated/dissatisfied ? Will the youth of today judge themselves and their lives on these perfect picture galleries,where everything is airbrushed, and everyone is happy! Does this take peer pressure to another level? Are we all becoming exhausted with living up to this ideal or tired with the thought of not keeping up? Are we constantly comparing ourselves and our lives? Has keeping up with the Jones, gone off the scale?
Before social Media...
When we were young you could go out and get drunk, have fun, make an absolute fool of yourself and it would only live on for a few short weeks in the hazy memories of your friends. You could happily hide under a stone until you had recovered your dignity and everyone had forgotten most of your shameful behavior! Now the evidence is photographed uploaded, tagged, shared and documented for the world to see within seconds with or without your knowledge. There is no privacy in fact there is a definite invasion of it.
Have we forgotten how to enjoy ourselves and watch things that are happening around us without seeing it through a camera lens, without documenting every single moment of an event. Observing a gig or a club night mostly on screen. I can still remember the anticipation and excitement of dropping my films off at the developers after a holiday, waiting the long days for the images to be ready only increased these feelings. When you got to actually pick up these dodgy, blurry, unedited unstaged photographs of the fun times you experienced, they would only usually be viewed by those who were part of the experience. These images were also often few and far between most of the memories were in our head replayed in private.
How is it affecting the younger generation?
What are we teaching our children, rather than getting to know and like people, rather than living in the moment we are teaching them to live for likes. Will only positive affirmation from others bring them happiness and self-worth?
” I would say it has effected most of not all of my friends too. It’s hard to find someone who isn’t suffering from some kind of anxiety generated by social media. The expectations that it sets… from all sorts of angles …
being single (effects the expectations within relationships), working in fashion (there’s so much pressure on what you’re wearing, how many followers you have, what brands you wear) my body shape (cellulite isn’t seen on ANY bikini pics on my feed this summer But also in terms of personal goals and experiences – you question whether your goals are big enough and if you have travelled to Instagram worthy locations! Like you said I feel like if you can acknowledge that it’s happening on Instagram and not get sucked in by it, then fine. But there’s so many young girls who think that because the majority of people they follow are influencers and making money from it- that they too need to lead an IG perfect life” ….
Georgia Boys 23
I mainly use social media as a bystander, browsing the lives of others and posting the occasional momentous moments in my life.
I’m not a person to take lots of pictures. I’m not sure what my reason is for this, maybe I prefer to live in the moment or maybe I prefer to keep my life private. I personally think it is due to the judgmental platform social media has become, and this isn’t just the feeling that everyone else will point out all your flaws, but the fact I know I will. Taking a picture will make me focus on everything I don’t like about myself and my body, rather than enjoying the moment. Everything on social media seems to be perfect, so you began to question why you aren’t.
The accounts I follow on social media are those of friends, fashion bloggers, celebrities and Gym fanatics. Many of these accounts are ‘influencers’ but who knows what is real these days with the amount of filters and photo editing that goes on. I scroll through my news feed and constantly wish I looked like someone else. It increases my insecurities. These ‘influencers’ are influencing people in the wrong way.
It’s quite scary thinking about the impact social media has on young girls.
I must admit though there are a few people I follow on Instagram who are true and honest with young girls. They post pictures, unedited, fat rolls and cellulite, and in this sense social media begins to make you think that you’re not alone.
Millie Sharkey 23
Social media is a great platform for alot of people in pursuing a career in fitness, fashion and lifestyle but it comes with it’s suffering that I can truly say are effecting everyone.
The way in which you look is the most pressing issue that I as an individual faces through media and I know many of my friends have too.
I follow a lot of fitness enthusiastic which I feel put pressure on the way in which I should look exercise and live my life.
I am one to have at time been unfortunate to be sucked into the life in which Instagram has made many people. It makes me and I know many other insecure that they them selves don’t fit into the criteria of today’s beauty.
With my pregnancy you go through so many pages of people who are to be inspiring towards women and how they look through pregnancy but there is still a small percentage who evolve the experience about the size they are the weight they have gained when reality is everyone is different. This then makes women feel insecure that they have gained too much weight etc which I was feeling a couple of weeks ago. Only you can love the body you have got and the changes you are experiencing.
Instagram and social media will continually make anxiety in women stay alive until the perfect life is shattered and reality is show.
Megan Sharkey 27
Do not our fails shape us as much as our triumphs? Our flaws are sometimes what we learn from, our mistakes what we grow from. So why are we filtering our whole lives to just show a tiny piece of what makes us unique of what makes us who we are?Is it time things started to change, do we all need to stop showing our whole existence through a soft focus lens ?
The picture perfect holidays……….
I have started to see a glimmer of hope with the brave move of some young fashion houses, who have started to use real women of all shapes and sizes as models and are putting out relatively unairbrushed images on their marketing. There is also a big backlash starting to appear towards celebrities who post heavily edited and distorted pictures of themselves. Applause go to ‘Insta influencers’ Stacy Soloman and Chessie King who are leading the way posting real body images.
Are we starting to see the real harm in this alternative reality of the all too perfect? A reality where beauty and material goods are put forward as the main thing to aspire to, before, education, ambition , courage, strength or integrity. Is a pretty picture with 1000 likes the only thing that will bring happiness ?
So what is the answer? Do we all start posting unedited pics ? Do we keep our children off social media for as long as possible, so they have time to gather a sense of self, to see life beyond the lens. Do we all leave social media completely ? Can we all self regulate and limit our access ? Or are we all now far too addicted ?
Food for thought ………
Sharkey and Duff xxx