A Closer Look into Social Media
April 12, 2021
Social media has taken over our generation. In this day and age, people all over the world cannot spend a day without accessing their various social media platforms. Whether people use social media to post a video on TikTok, view someones Snapchat story or reach out to a friend, it has become an interference in our daily lives. Everyone feels so obligated to access their social media at all times of the day. Whether we realize it or not, social media has become such a big part of our lives. Although there are negatives of using social media, there are many positives as well. To learn more about social media and its impact on the East community, read below.
The Pressures of Social Media
Peer pressure is a difficult influence to steer clear of as an adolescent, however, younger generations have been presented with a new type of pressure: the pressure of social media. Some teens feel pressured to always be available while others feel pressured to impress. Regardless, teens all over the world are experiencing the same unhealthy social media habits, resulting in an extreme disconnect with reality.
Both iMessage and Snapchat have been detrimental to the amount of time teenagers spend away from their phones, and the new features of social media platforms are no help at all. Features like the Snap Map and Instagram’s “last seen” increases the need to be available. Individuals who view these features could potentially feel ignored and insecure when they notice someone is active on social media yet not responding to their texts or snapchats. Checking snap scores has become a popular way of checking whether or not someone is active on snapchat, but ignoring someone’s snap in particular. Because of these features, teenagers evidently struggle with the constant pressure to be available on social media in order to feel as though they are not deteriorating their relationships.
If you haven’t heard or experienced FOMO, you have finally been introduced to it. FOMO is the acronym for a fear of missing out. You can find teens who experience FOMO typically checking up on what others are doing by purposefully viewing Snapchat/Instagram stories, or checking where there are by purposefully viewing their snapchat map. Social media has become a dangerous place for those who have a severe insecurity with what themselves are doing. According to Trust Pulse, 45% of people who experience FOMO can’t go for longer than 12 hours without checking social media.
For girls in particular, Instagram has become an extremely harmful platform. Teenage girls usually feel an immense amount of pressure to live up to the societal standard of looking pretty or having a good time as a member of the younger generation, however this presents more negative emotions than positive. A goal of most teenage girl’s is to upload pictures that present a perfect image in order to receive positive feedback through comments, likes, views, or even shares. No matter what form, most teenage girls expect positive reactions, affirmation, and compliments, but it continues to normalize an unrealistic image that does not exist. It is much healthier to post a picture because one feels confident and happy with the photo, not because of a goal of validation through likes and comments and reposts. According to Trust Pulse, 40% of people say they spend money on something once per year to post it on social media. Taking this into consideration, it is clear that many individuals are motivated to attend certain events or accomplish certain goals by posting on social media in order to be seen by others
Deleting these apps is surely a way to reconnect with reality, however, teens feel pressured to stay on social media in order to stay in touch with friends. The circumstances presented by the pandemic have been a big factor in this decision considering many teenagers aren’t seeing the people they would typically see on a daily basis in school. The fact that some friends have a preference of communicating through snapchat, makes this worse for the teens wanting to check back in with reality, almost forcing them to stay on social media in order to stay connected and in the loop.
Recently, a junior from East, Sophie Angulo (‘22), has disabled Instagram and deleted Snapchat.
Angulo believes “ both [apps are] great platforms for communication, but they sometimes interfere with [her] concentration on school”.
She claims to have a “love/hate relationship” with Instagram.
“I love taking pictures and sharing them with friends, but I find it really hard to not care about the amount of likes and other types of reactions I get,” she says.
Angulo also touched upon the fact that instagram does not present the amount of hours she spends on school work or the long shifts she works after school.
“It only displays the good parts of my life which can be so misleading”.
Angulo proves that it is very possible for teens to step away from the screen and take a break from social media, however the larger steps she took like deleting the platforms can be difficult for those who have become so attached. Several good alternatives would be setting time limits on the apps as well as logging out for periods of time to ensure the amount of time away from social media.
A closer look into the most popular social media platforms
The Daily Social Media Dilemma
Social media has been implemented in both positive and negative ways over the last two decades. Whether it be apps like Facebook and Twitter, or Snapchat and Instagram, millennials are attached to their phones more than ever. And the effects of these platforms are grand.
Junior Julia Nisenzon knows firsthand the pressure that comes with being a teenage girl on social media. Posting on Instagram has become less of a joy and more of a chore for her and millions across the United States. And turning off her phone leads to anxious thoughts of missing out.
“My friends and I spend hours taking photos, and when we are done I spend even longer over-analyzing every single aspect of the photo,” said Nisenzon. “These anxious thoughts and feelings are quite honestly ridiculous because an Instagram post really should not be that big of a deal.”
Like most teenage girls, Nisenzon must overcome the initial thoughts concerning her reputation and how people will view her with each post. This mode of thinking is way too frequent and can become taxing, leading to thoughts of decreased self worth and depression.
“Social media has given people, especially teenagers, an unrealistic sense of reality,” Nisenzon said.
She is referring to the culture on these platforms that revolves around looking as good as possible, creating standards for yourself and those around you.
Meanwhile, senior Carly Fowler, a potential valedictorian, attempts to balance a 7.0 GPA and a life online. This can only be done through prioritizing her schedule.
“If I know I have a busy week at school, I will try to leave my phone in another room or delete apps for a little to focus on my work rather than get distracted by social media,” said Fowler.
Students these days have trouble balancing an extensive workload from school, extracurricular activity participation, and continuing to have a presence online and amongst friends.
“I have also recently turned off notifications for social media so I don’t get alerted every time someone posts,” said Fowler.
The physical attraction to one’s phone is known as nomophobia, or a “fear of no mobile phone.” And while this may sound silly, it is no joke. Most people’s phone usage tops several hours over the course of a day, a number unprecedented and seemingly unimaginable just years ago.
Yet with these negatives come lots of positives when it comes to utilizing social media for good.
Senior Mason Bulicki’s brand “BeHated” has gained popularity over the past few months, and he has Instagram and TikTok to thank for it. The fitness and motivational account sells merchandise, and he is able to interact with his audience directly through these apps.
“My brand relies solely on connecting with people, inspiring people, and helping people,” said Bulicki. “Without social media, my account and brand would be nowhere.”
This ability to help people around the world comes from the apps where he has built a presence. Daily content allows for lots of cool interactions like Q&A’s with his audience and the marketing of his clothing line.
This is somewhat similar to the path that Tyler Leomporra (‘21) took to fame on TikTok. A few of his videos have received over 1 million views, and with over 71,000 followers, he has spread a positive message to his fans. While he does not post as frequently, TikTok is a place he goes to daily for content consumption anyways.
“I think, in times like these, laughing over a simple video can bring people together, and we need that right now,” said Leomporra.
With over 3.96 billion users, it is easy to get lost in the world of perfection that people show off, but with all of the possible distractions, a healthy dosage of social media begins with an understanding of self worth and strict priorities.
So while social media has received mixed connotations when it comes to both social interactions and mental health, one thing is for sure- it isn’t going anywhere, and we all must spread positivity in a world shrouded with hate.
The Pros and Cons of Social Media
East students express their opinions on social media
There is no denying that social media plays a role in the everyday lives of highschoolers all over the world. While social media has many positive effects, there are also downsides that come with these platforms. East students have many diverse opinions about the effects that social media has on their lives.
Gaby Matro, (‘23) said, “I am easily able to keep up with friends who I may not talk to as much. Especially this past year, social media has been a great way to communicate, but it’s not the same as seeing people face-to-face.”
Many East students agree that social media creates a false sense of reality.
Lisa Gorbati, (‘23) said, “Social media is a great way to interact with people online and can lead to many exciting opportunities. However, people try to make it look like their lives are perfect online when in reality, it is far from that.”
Julia Rosten, (‘24) said, “I think that social media can be detrimental if I overuse it. I try to limit my time on all my social media apps, even though it can be hard. I can easily lose track of time getting mesmerized as I scroll through my feed.”
Furthermore, East students agree that it is common for people to compare themselves to others because of social media.
Jesse Sklar (‘24), said, “You can see what others think of you, and you can start to judge yourself based off of the people you see online.”
Some East students feel grateful for social media, especially during the pandemic.
Max Gaffin, (‘22) said, “I like social media because it helps me connect with my peers in new ways and has helped greatly during the Pandemic. It is a great way to interact with people from all over the world and share new information from around my community.”
Tharunika Govindasamy, (‘22) said, “Social media is a bitter-sweet thing for me. I feel fortunate to have access to social media because it gives me an outlet to express myself, and it also helps me expand my knowledge. However, there are times when I wish I was born in an era where social media ceased to exist. Social media can be harmful to one’s mental health. One can’t help but compare their own reality to the romanized version portrayed in social media, which can be damaging.”
Max Becker, (‘22) said, “Social media has transformed how we communicate with each other in the past ten years and makes us all think very differently about the regular things we do in our lives. I think that it is a good thing that most people use in the right way.”
There are many useful purposes that social media plays a role in. However, many East students agree that social media should not replace forming connections and building relationships with the people in your life.
East student creates social media platform: BeHated Fitness
Through hard work and the power of social media, Mason Bulicki (‘21) has turned his love of fitness into the brand BeHated Fitness. Ever since middle school, Bullicki has had a passion for making sports, lifting weights and making people better and the brand combines all three. The BeHated Fitness brand includes subscription based workout programs/lessons, workout routines, the BeHated Podcast and the BeHated basketball league. Currently the brand is featured on Instagram (@BeHatedFit), Tik Tok (@behatedfitness), Youtube (@BeHated) and the new website (https://behated.square.site/more). Bullicki also uses his personal Facebook to promote the brand. During the pandemic, social media allowed Bulicki to connect with members of the community while people were quarantined.
“Social Media has allowed people to get to know me on a level that they wouldn’t really get to in person if they didn’t know me before” said Bulicki.
In the past few months the BeHated TikTok account has reached over 600 followers. Bulicki credits Tik Tok for allowing him to interact with a wider range of people all over the world.
“My goal on Tik Tok is to reach and help as many people as possible, even if I only help one person its a good day in my book” said Bullicki.
Bullicki is also the commissioner of the BeHated Fitness Basketball League. The league consists of 7 teams of players ranging from 9th grade to college. Games are played every Tuesday and Sunday and there is a regular season and playoffs. Ever since Bulicki started the brand he has wanted to create and run his own league. Bulicki uses the league Instagram (@behatedleague) to promote the league and also post league announcements, schedules and power rankings.
“I’ve always wanted to put something together for people that have always loved the sport and I just wanted a fun, 2 day a week thing, with competitive basketball where you just have fun with your friends” said Bulicki.
Although keeping up with social media along with school, cross country and track is extremely time consuming, Bulicki is ready for the challenge. Bulicki makes sure to take 1-2 hours every day to write in his notebook and reflect on his day and his next idea for the brand and social media.
“I always have a plan, I feel like if you do not have a plan you won’t be able to accomplish anything.” said Bullicki.
In the future Bulicki wants to become a fitness franchise that combines fitness, everyday sports and streetwear recognized all around the world.