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Social Media is the Silent Trigger

Cara Davis, C'22

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Welcome back Mounties! We have made it halfway through the semester, making it almost three semesters in a pandemic. At this time, classes have become more time-consuming, and Easter Break creeps closer resulting in stress and excitement at the same time. Throughout the blog, we have talked about dealing with anxieties and how to help ground yourself when it becomes overpowering. Next, we need to talk about what could trigger or intensify anxieties: social media.

Is social media a silent trigger in many people's anxieties? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by social media? Do you feel the need to create a public image that doesn’t match what you feel?

Social media has had vast growth over the last decade and has become an influencing factor in our lives. It is hard to find a college student that is not active on any platforms, let alone one who isn't a daily user. Social media is beneficial when it comes to exposure to news and cultures along with being a space to interconnect different parts of the world. It is a creative space that allows its users to speak freely and showcase themselves to the world. These platforms provide innovations while also creating small changes in our daily lives. I have become accustomed to having social media and technology in my hand that it is the first thing I check when I wake up. It has expanded my human interactions while also shrinking them at the same time.

I didn't think about technology impact before taking communication classes like Social Media and Media and Society. It was scary to learn how much technology influences us and how companies use social media to target customers. We willingly give up a ton of information about ourselves through social media. Despite knowing this information, we still use the platforms.

Social media platforms have provided us with an opportunity to create a persona that we show to the world. It helps us to outwardly portray the expectations we create for ourselves or what others create for us. This is one of the problems. Images shared on platforms like Instagram have laid out expectations on what one should look and act like. Both genders have an impractical body and life expectations pushed on them because of social media. Interactions are narrowed down to likes on a single picture. By creating a culture of likes, we are elevating specific expectations for ourselves that are mostly unrealistic. We cannot determine our self-worth based on likes on an app.

Where expectations of the perfect person are not met, anxieties brew. So much of our everyday lives are consumed by scrolling on an app that we let influence our actual lives. It is impossible to meet the expectations that social media portrays and be human.

It is easy to spend an expansive amount of time scrolling through social media especially when there is nothing else to do. However, we have to remember that what we see is not the reality. Everyone is going through their own personal struggles behind the camera and the idyllic picture you see on your screen. It is important to remind yourself to look away from what you see in your hand and look up to see what is around you. Taking time to appreciate the people and things in your life that bring you back to reality and ground your center.

Catch you next week Mounties! In the meantime, check out the grounding exercises in my last post (Finding Your Peace) to help with staying in the present.

Cara Davis, C'22