An overwhelming amount of options, never-ending feeds and a place to share thoughts. When it comes to social media usage, it can feel impossible to avoid the pressure to consume. Social media has been built up so significantly that people are able to make entire careers out of it, whether it be Instagram models, Tik Tok creators, YouTubers or multi-platform influencers. The potential is endless and the power significant.
Research indicates that social media has the potential to be both helpful and damaging to one’s mental health. Recent studies showed an increase in depression, anxiety and eating disorders as a result of too much social media consumption, according to an article from Psycom. In 2018, the average time spent on social media daily is 136 minutes, Statista reports.
Hallie Cunningham, Instagram influencer and BGSU student, had much to say on the addiction and effects of social media usage.
“I check social media a lot, so it does consume parts of my everyday life. But to me, social media is just an outlet to express yourself creatively. I rather find a lot of inspiration. Mainly for clothes I think are cute or places I would like to travel,” Cunningham said.
Typically, each person has a specific platform they use most often. For Cunningham, it’s Twitter.
“I think it is because it’s my platform which I am most political. I am able to directly see what legislators are posting about, rather than waiting to read reports or to watch videos later,” Cunningham said.
Another side of social media is the business platform. Cunningham’s main business platform is Instagram where she is a brand ambassador, influencer and blogger. When discussing her time as an influencer she expressed she ultimately found her purpose.
“You almost have to make yourself marketable and you attract the energy you want. There was a period of time in which I took it super seriously. I was doing brand deals and reaching out to other influencers for collaborations. But now, it has just been more funfor me lately,” she admitted.
Social media sometimes holds more power over users than they are willing to admit. Getting stuck into the never-ending feeds, comparing experiences and longing to be someone else can happen when spending time on social media. As much as social media is useful in terms of giving people community, it can take the biggest toll on someone’s inner-self. Below are a few points to remember:
Find the happy medium
Research shows a person should spend at most30 minutes on social media per day, Huffpost reports. Find the balance between having a creative outlet and a dependence on media feeds.
Remember it’s the highlight reel
Instagram and photo feeds are often show the posed and perfected parts from someone’s life. Don’t compare the entire reality of life to the best moments in someone else’s. Take the social feeds as inspiration, motivation or a way to celebrate a person.
Social media can be a real addiction. Most of the time it can become second nature to click on those app icons. However, many app developers and the latest Apple software helps with this. Instagram monitors how much time consumers spend on the app daily and gives the option to set a daily timer. Apple takes it one step further and gives every app on their products the ability to have daily times.
Cunningham doesn’t compare herself to people she sees on social media and encourages others to do the same.
“I think each person defines their own success in their own terms,” she said.