We have been hearing it for some time now-social media is bad for humans. It increases anxiety, lowers self-esteem, collects your data to use it against you, and may even have the ability to manipulate your behaviors. Not something you want to hear because it started as just a fun thing to do to stay in touch with friends and family. However, social media has morphed into somewhat of a risk and at the same time we have become more dependent on it.
Some time ago, I read a quote for which I can’t remember the exact words but I haven’t been able to forget the main idea. It said: “Social media is free because YOU are the product.” Nevertheless, it didn’t stop me from logging back into Facebook the very same day. The unsettling part is that it should have stopped me, but it didn’t. We, Humans, know that some things aren’t good for us and we do them anyway.
I’ve been wondering for some time about what is happening. I’v come to realize like many other people that social media is not free. It costs quite a bit because you pay with your time, which are hours of your life and potentially even your mental health.
It’s heartbreaking to see how until about 20 years ago, it was common to see kids playing on the street with their neighbors. Nowadays they stay indoors playing on Tik Tok or video games. Less than a year ago, it was common to meet people in person and travel for conferences and networking events, now we attend virtual summits and network on Zoom calls.
There is no doubt that we have become increasingly dependent on technology. But at the same time, not everything is gloom and doom either. There is a silver lining in everything, even in social media. Here are some of the benefits that we can extract from it:
- Learn from other people’s points of view and life experiences- On social media, people will post not only their highlights but some of their most vulnerable moments, which are excellent ways to learn. Discover perspectives that you may have not considered. The platforms are bursting with new ideas, conversations, and thought leaders.
- Build and promote your business- There are thousands of people building legitimate businesses on social media. When combined with video conferencing the possibilities are endless in terms of making connections with prospects anywhere in the world. Social media is an awesome tool for networking, as well as building trust with people who have never met you before that can eventually turn into clients. The lack of geographical constraints makes it possible to market to an audience without having to incur advertising expenses, which is ideal for small businesses especially solopreneurs.
- Modern-day pen pals – Back in the day, let’s just say up until the ’90s, people used to have pen pals, which were strangers that built friendships by exchanging letters through the mail. It took months and even years to build these relationships via postal mail, especially if the parties were not in the same country. Social media allows us to build relationships quickly by giving us access to instant two-way communication in a variety of formats such as video, text, and teleconferencing.
- Building community – You can build a community through the people that you follow and friend. It’s not as good as the real thing, but it is comforting to receive support and encouragement. During times of limited social interaction and this could be a lifeline to some.
- Entertainment – You can get lost for hours watching videos and memes, looking at pictures, and exploring other people’s profiles. There is never a dull moment on social media. Not the same thing as laughing with a group of friends at a restaurant, but it helps.
By focusing on the opportunities that social media offers, and educating yourself about the potential risks associated with it, you can improve the quality of your experience and benefit from the vast resources available.