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Healthy or unhealthy?

Gazette student columnist asks: Are we consumed by social media?

Student Life | Student View

By Brittany Taylor

It is undeniable that social media has had a tremendous impact on many of our lives.

It has such an influential role in today’s society that it has wormed its way into our daily routines. A typical morning for me consists of scrolling through my Instagram and checking my Facebook newsfeed even before making my way out of bed.

Personal branding

Even politicians and businesses have jumped on the social bandwagon and use it as an advertising tool in order to promote their brands. On one end of the spectrum you have Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has used social media to his advantage to effectively create and promote his brand as a man of the people.

It is through his use of social platforms like Twitter and Instagram that Trudeau is able to make himself more relatable and can appear as though he is an everyday citizen like you and me. On the other end of the spectrum you have Donald Trump, a man who has preyed on the fear that routinely arises online to further his political campaign.

“The content we choose to upload to our personal accounts is a direct reflection of who we are as individuals.”

Brand promotion and political agendas aside, social media serves as a means for us to promote our own individual brands, as well. The content we choose to upload to our personal accounts is a direct reflection of who we are as individuals. We are essentially promoting ourselves via social media in the same way that businesses and politicians do. But does that necessarily make it a bad thing?

Social platform

Social media certainly has its pros and cons. Overall, though, I think it has had a positive impact on our culture. It allows us to communicate and connect with people we may not have had the ability to otherwise. It also serves as a platform that helps spread social movements and effect social change.

For example, the Bell Let’s Talk Twitter campaign helps to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health-related issues.

It is also helping the feminist movement to grow and to shed light on gender inequality. This has helped to trigger a social call to action and has aided in the creation of campaigns, the Slut Walk for example, which aims to help bring about a society with more gender equality.

“I think the issue with social media doesn’t lie with social media itself, but in the way we choose to use it.”

Another positive impact it has had is serving as an outlet for bloggers, artists and musicians to gain recognition they may not have otherwise received. In this sense, it has cultivated new job opportunities for our generation.

Lately, it seems as though many people, particularly those of the generations before us, tend to only recognize the negative effects social media has had on our society. I think the issue with social media doesn’t lie with social media itself, but in the way we choose to use it.

Social media = Choice

We choose what to share on social, we choose how we conduct ourselves on social and we choose how much time we spend on social. How social media affects our lives is entirely up to us. We can choose to allow it to consume us by spending countless hours absorbed in Snapchat or Facebook instead of in the world around us, and we can choose to post comments and photos we will later come to regret.

Or, we can choose to use it as a platform to illustrate our talents and abilities or to encourage some form of social change, all while remaining present in the world around us.

The power is in our hands whether we allow social media to consume us or allow it to simply become an extension of who we are as individuals.

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