Browsing Tag:

social media

  • Articles

    Life Without Social Media– is it Possible?

    Wake up and turn alarm off. Roll over in bed. Grab phone and check Instagram. After scrolling through recent pictures, check Twitter. Becoming bored with the timeline, check Facebook. Finally, and only when everything has been seen, get up and get ready for the day.

     

    This is my typical morning routine, and if I had to guess, many others spend their mornings in a similar way. If nobody had fallen into these bad habits, we would have a lot of extra time in the morning: time to eat a good breakfast, work out and organize the day, all if we didn’t waste it on social media.

     

    If cutting social media out of mornings could drastically alter them, how else could daily life be affected?

     

    Would we stroll down the street, actually noticing the people and our surroundings? Would we devote our full attention in class, not constantly worrying about the text messages and notifications we’re missing? Would we make better, unforgettable memories, being entirely present in every moment?

     

    It’s easy to become wrapped up in a funny tweet, aesthetically pleasing Instagram picture or entertaining Facebook video, but how often do we take a step back and realize what we’re actually missing? Would our lives feel more complete by cutting social media out?

     

    There was a time where people didn’t have to worry about constantly refreshing their applications, and as our parents and grandparents say, it was a much simpler time. We’re too stuck in our ways to reverse them now, but surely there’s a way to climb out of the social media hole that we’ve dug ourselves in.

     

    I believe the main problem is treating our smartphones and other gadgets as a priority; we prioritize this technology over others and even ourselves, choosing to indulge in social media rather than activities that could advance our education, health or social lives.

     

    If we could divert our focus away from our phones and social media for a small amount each day, it’ll start to add up, resulting in better relationships and a fuller life– the type of life our parents said they grew up in, without phones.

     

  • Articles

    How to Avoid the Social Media Comparison Trap

    How to avoid social media comparison trap

    Scrolling through our Twitter timeline or Instagram dashboard has become second-nature to us, much like the air we breathe. It’s instinctual to take that quick glance down at your home screen while waiting to cross the street. It’s an everyday occurrence to open the Instagram app while waiting for class to start. It’s a part of our night-time routine to check each social media platform before we fall asleep, assuring we didn’t miss out on anything during the day.

     

    Although social media has brought our society so many great things, it has also left its users in a constant state of insecurity and comparison.

     

    “Why isn’t my relationship that perfect?”

     

    “Why doesn’t my skin look that good?”

     

    “Why do they get to travel the world while I’m stuck going to work or school?”

     

    Nobody has the answers on how to avoid self-doubt stemming from social media– I still battle with it constantly, so I won’t pretend like I have some anti-insecurity secret formula. What I can offer, however, is a collection of thoughts I run through whenever I’m not feeling as confident as I should.

     

    Always remember, the number of followers you have and the number of likes you receive doesn’t dictate your character. However silly it may seem, everyone feels a flicker of disappointment when a picture doesn’t reach a certain amount of likes. Everyone checks up on their number of followers, wondering why it has gone down. Don’t let that number define you. Internally, if you know you’re a good person, that’s all that matters.

     

    Remind yourself that social media, Instagram in particular, is someone’s highlight reel. It’s a collection of their happiest moments, the moments where they look and feel the best; nobody’s life is that put-together and aesthetically pleasing 100% of the time. You never know what is going on behind-the-scenes in someone’s life, so don’t become discouraged over a fabricated image someone is trying to emanate.

     

    Unfollow accounts that make you feel negative about yourself. Post for yourself, not because you think it’s what others want to see. Take a social media vacation and assess what aspects are toxic to your self-confidence.

     

    Above all, at the end of the day, realize that there’s only one you. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. We’re all worth so much more than the snapshots of our life that we post on social media.

     

  • Bullying

    The Truth About Your Voice on Social Media

    Girlspring social media

    When I first started middle school, we passed notes on little pieces of paper until the paper was nothing more than a grey scale.

    It was our version of texting. It was tedious and involved a system of people willing to pass them back and forth for you. There was always the risk that someone you didn’t want to see or read it would, but it was a risk we were willing to take.

    I remember a girl in my sixth grade English class being made fun of in a series of notes. The class kept passing them back and forth for some hateful little girls without seeing the contents of what they were sharing. This went on for days, with the girls snickering in secret.

    Then my teacher caught wind of the notes passing and halted one of their letters before it reached the second reader of the day. I won’t repeat what was said, but just know that the girl who the note was about left the room in tears. The mean girls looked horrified. They didn’t think what they were saying was that big of a deal.

    They felt that there were no consequences for something that was written down versus spoken aloud. This would have been true if the teacher had never apprehended the letter. Or would it have been?

    Would it still be mean if the person you were writing about never knew you were writing hurtful things about them?

    This brings me to the topic of Social Media. As our technology grows, so do the opportunities for communication. What was once a simple note in the classroom is now a string of characters on someone’s Twitter feed.

    This gives more power to the speaker or texter. The words that are posted online are there for the public eye and will forever have a paper trail. With all chances to be good, there are equal amounts of chances to be bad. It is what balances the world, but it is something that does not have to support us. As a human race, we can choose to find other measures of entertainment and morals rather than basing them on being horrific to others.

    Unfortunately, there is a sort of confidence boost when we don’t have to see the consequences of our actions.

    Those girls from my sixth-grade class eventually apologized to the girl they hurt, and notes were banned from the classroom. But this did not stop people from sneaking more notes around. It did, however, change the mean girls’ opinions on what they put on paper.

    With social media, there is no immediate action. Even if a series of posts are written concerning something hateful, it could take days before an adult does something to handle it. And too often do we hear that we should ignore our bullies and let them get away with it simply because we are “the better person.” A better person would let them know that what they are doing is wrong.

    If they can use their platform to spit fire, then you can use yours to voice positivity.

    If someone is mean to you on social media, try responding to them once with a heartfelt comment on why what they are saying is problematic for you. Then, seek adult advice or council. You are not what those people say about you. You are what you make of yourself.

    It is okay to seek help from friends, family, or professionals when you are feeling uneasy about something. With so many paper receipts for posts today, there will always be evidence of how the other person hurt you. But in the end, it will affect when they try to get hired for a job. Or if someone is doing a character assessment?

    Try to blend the idea of ignoring your bullies and facing them together. Give them a single response at the start, then move on with your life. If they realize that you aren’t going to bite, they may just get bored. But at least you will have publicly announced how terrible they are behaving and have addressed the issue before moving on.

    If what people are saying about you online is getting deep beneath your skin, you are not alone.

    Everyone experiences self-doubt, insecurities, and sometimes depression. It is up to you how to handle it when you face it. I will provide some links below that can help guide you through some tough social media situations. Hopefully, some of them will be relatable and helpful if you’re in this situation:

    https://www.girlspring.com/what-you-can-do/

    https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ abuse/bullying-and-cyberbullying.htm

    https://us.ditchthelabel.org/cyber-bullying-top-9-tips-on-overcoming-it/

    https://www.girlspring.com/cyberbullying/

     

    Some key tips for dealing with social media drama, whether it is being bullied or unfairly treated:

    Remain professional or as adult-like as possible

    Give short answers when your words become too aggressive

    Remind yourself that this is public information and that future employers will likely have access to it

    Think of positive thoughts

  • Photography

    To Post or Not To Post, That Is the Question

    To Post or Not To Post, That Is the Question

    Social media is a huge part of most teens’ lives, specifically Instagram and Snapchat. It sounds great–sharing your life with your friends and family through pictures, videos, and limited characters. While that may seem innocent and unharmful, this is the ideal situation. Realistically, you open Snapchat or Instagram and see your friends all hanging out without you. You see a party that you weren’t invited to. Or you post a photo with all your good friends except the one who wasn’t invited. Even though looking at these social media sites can be helpful, informational, and just enjoyable, it only takes one picture to ruin your day. We can all admit that our feelings can get hurt on Instagram and/or Snapchat, so what are we going to do about it? Ignore other’s feelings? Not post anything out of fear of excluding someone? No. There must be a balance of awareness and good judgment.


    Before you post anything, put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
    Think about how you would feel if you saw this post or story, and how it would make you feel. Ask yourself these questions:

    1. Who are you (not) with?
    2. Is this something that needs to be posted?
    3. What are you saying in this post?


    Who are you (not) with?

    Who is with you at the moment? Who is in this picture or video? Before you post, pause and think about which people are included here. Is it your small group of friends? Is it a huge non-exclusive party, or is it just one other person? Stopping to think about the people in your post is important because it can give you the opportunity to see whose feelings will or will not be hurt. If it’s just one friend or your small group of friends, that’s usually not a big deal, whereas a bigger, exclusive group of people can be a bigger deal. It’s up to your discretion.


    Is this something that needs to be posted?

    After thinking about the people in or not in the post, you may want to consider if this post should even be posted. What is your reasoning behind posting this? It may be that you are celebrating a friend, or you had a great time at a retreat and want to share your experience. It could also be to bring someone down. If that’s the case, then you need to rethink your motives.

    Another thing to think about is that when you are with your friends and family, you should be with them in the moment. Yes, it’s nice to have pictures to look back on, but you don’t want the memories from those pictures to be of you on your phone the entire time; find the balance of being present and making sure to document fun, important moments. When you are about to post something, stop to think about why you are posting it, if it’s necessary to share, or if it can stay a memory for yourself and friends.


    What are you saying?

    Think about why you want to post this and what you’re saying by posting this. Whether it’s a selfie of yourself, some new gift you got, or a group pic of you and your friends, you are saying something when you post. It may be that you have a lot of friends, or that you have money to get all of the latest new clothes or technology. You may even be saying that you’re better than others. Whatever you are saying, whether you’re aware or unaware, you must be careful about what your post relays to everyone. Before you post, think about what it is you are saying in this post and why.

    Since we all have been hurt by others’ posts on Instagram, we should do something to stop the hurt instead of encourage it. There is a balance between awareness and good judgement. Before you hit the post button, remember to think about who is with and not with you, if this memory should be shared or kept to yourself and friends, and what message you are telling in the post.

  • Articles, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    Unplug and Experience the Present

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    Do you have a hard time concentrating on one thing? Do you check your Instagram or snapchat first thing in the morning? Do you seem to lose track of time? Do you panic if you lose or forget your phone? Do you take the phone into the bathroom with you? If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these questions you may have a cyber addiction. This can have a negative effect on your health and life without realizing it. These habits can contribute to ADHD, anxiety and low self-esteem.

     

    Discover the Real

     Being online can feel like an escape from your emotions, but it’s not, because it’s not real. Some people put more value on the experience they create online than what they encounter in real life. The danger is that you can become immersed and sucked into the online presence they created instead of what’s truly real. That turns into an attachment to a fantasy. If you can relate to this, take small steps to reduce your time online and replace that reduced time with true human engagement. You can start with calling someone you’ve known for a while but only engaged with them through social media. Commit to finding real connections with people in your life and find ways to deepen those connections without technology.

     

    How to Unplug

    Disengaging and limiting your screen-time  is easier said than done. So, what steps can you take to help you unplug from your smartphone?

    Give yourself a list of things you must do before you get online. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do:

    • Read 3 chapters of a book
    • Create something – draw, compose a song, write a poem, write a short story
    • Practice playing an instrument
    • Play a board game with a friend or sibling
    • Take a dance class
    • Create a new hair style without recording it
    • Work on a jigsaw puzzle
    • Meet a friend at Starbucks

    You may be damaging your mental health while missing out on life by needing to see what’s happening online instead of connecting with the people right in front of you. It will still be there when you look an hour or two from later. I promise it will (unless you’re on snapchat ????) Until then……Find your balance.

     

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Body Image, Health

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see how a young woman’s body standards can be so easily influenced by outside factors. Ever see a girl scrolling through celebrities’ Instagram pictures and hear them say, “They’re so flawless, I want to look just like her”? This scenario happens every day with teens and young women. Although some might express this as a light-hearted and innocent comment, some truly want to change their appearances to please society and their peers to be more desired and fit in better.

    This isn’t to confuse with wanting to improve someone’s appearance for a positive reason, such as a healthy weight goal or changing the way one does makeup to enhance their beauty more. The problem arises when a girl wants to change how she looks due to seeing unrealistic perfection or because of the constant pressure from society’s standards of beauty.

    It is no secret that, for years, the beauty industry has given this idea of looking flawless 24/7 to impressionable young women. We grow up looking at beautiful magazine covers, gorgeous makeup ads, and perfect looking hair, nails, body, etc. Although it’s understandable for a company to want beautiful models to sell their products, it gives off unrealistic beauty standards. Why? Because regular people on the street don’t usually look how companies and social media portrays women to be! If you don’t have an hourglass shape, that’s okay! If you don’t have white, straight teeth, that’s okay! Everyone is unique in their own way and should not change who they are because of what society says is “the best.”

    Since social media is so prevalent among celebrities and young people, it worsens the problem even more. Different types of apps allow filters, editing, and photoshop. If a girl wanted to improve her appearance online, she has the tools to do so. This applies to physically altering one’s appearance as well, whether it be through plastic surgery, injections, fillers, etc. Of course, most celebrities do not like to admit that they have used certain measures to make their appearance seem better, but the girls viewing their content can easily think that “this is what perfection looks like, society likes this type of look, and I want to obtain it too.” These types of thoughts usually make girls compare themselves to others, and that is not a healthy thing to do, self-esteem wise.

    Thankfully, companies are starting to realize the self-deprecation girls and can feel while looking at beauty ads or models selling clothes. More and more companies are allowing diversity into their ads, and this gives off a very positive message to young women who do not always fit the “perfect body type” or other types of standards that society has deemed to be “perfect.” Many people, including myself, are applauding these companies for their realistic models that look like the majority of people and not the small niche of beauty and fashion models that have a very specific and hard to obtain look.

    This is a great step in the right direction for the beauty and clothing industry, and more companies should follow their example. The good thing for girls is that if you are aware that today’s beauty standards are unrealistic, then you won’t be as influenced. You can recognize that there are so many different looks of being beautiful. One person’s ideal may not be someone else’s. Don’t be focused on pleasing everyone else. It’s okay to focus on yourself! Self-love is very important for self-esteem and one’s mental health. Sometimes we’re so focused on little details, like always covering up your body or always covering up blemishes that they can take over our lives. Just be yourself, be happy with who you are, and everything else will fall into place.