The Daily Social Media Dilemma

April 12, 2021

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.”

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.”

— Julia Nisenzon

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.

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.”

— Carly 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.”

I think, in times like these, laughing over a simple video can bring people together, and we need that right now.”

— Tyler Leomporra

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.

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