It is good to follow a hobby but claiming to be professional without knowing basics is arrogance
We live in the era where almost everything has been digitalized. It wouldn’t any be wrong to say that today social media has dominated our lives. The impacts are both positive as well as negative. But unfortunately the needle deflects more towards the negative ones. One of the worst impacts is that it kills creativity and badly affects the mental health.
We cannot deny the fact that social media tools are designed to be addictive. They lead to fragmentation of attention which in turn reduces the capacity to concentrate. They do so by offering shiny treats in exchange of minutes of your attention and bites of personal data.
Social media is more an entertainment tool then a fundamental technology. It wouldn’t be wrong to compare it with casino slot machine which plays with your mind. And market values deep work. It values the ability to produce the things that are thin on the ground and valuable. What the market dismisses are the activities that are easy to replicate and produce a small amount of value. And social media use is paradigm of that.
Earlier (before the advent of social media) a person had to go through an expert review in order to publish his word. But today anyone can write anything on social media, whether it makes sense or not. This degrades the writing culture in our society. Any Tom, dick and Harry unreluctantly posts on any topic whether he/she is expert of the topic or not. People start judging their writings on the basis of reactions of others. This is an unhealthy practice which sometimes can discourage a person to write.
Not only it can discourage you but sometimes it can make a person overconfident which is rather more fatal. Earlier if anyone had to convey creative ideas he/she had to go through a process which was essential for the growth. But today anyone gets a platform whether he/she deserves it or not without any struggle which in turn hampers the growth. And the serious consequence of this is that deserving and talented people get downplayed.
The other thing is that people start sharing their small achievements which are not much significant. This may develop the habit of instant gratification in people. And the urge to achieve something big may vanish.
If on one hand, social media is a part of professionalism on other hand it can be threat. Like today we can find a lot of self claimed photographers even if they don’t have camera. It is good to follow a hobby but claiming to be professional without knowing the basics is arrogance. These things are unhealthy for the art.
Not only creativity, social media can badly affect our mental health too. The centre for collegiate mental health found that the top three diagnoses on university campuses are anxiety, depression and stress. Numerous studies from the US, UK, etc. have linked it to high social media use. There is no denying that we spent a good amount of time on social media, even more than the time we spent while eating.
We usually put our best moments on social media. We put the moments where they look great, we put our wins. But this has a very bad effect on our mental health. Steven Furtick says, “We struggle with insecurity because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
These things used to happen even before the advent of social media with TV and celebrities but now it is happening all the time and is directly linked to us. We let others to attribute value to us. We start judging ourselves in terms of social currency that is likes, comments etc. This is changing our sense of identity. We are tying up our self worth of what others think about us.
But what is the solution. We have two options. We need to practice safe social and we should avoid using it. We need preventive and coping strategies. The first step towards fixing the problem is recognising it. That’s why awareness is critical. After recognising problem what we need to do is audit our social media diet.
As we know input determines output. What we feed our brain determines our actions. So we need to make sure we give healthy diet to our brain. We need to create a better online experience. We need to model good behaviour. But these things may not necessarily work for all. Then the better option is avoid using it.
Initially it can be difficult but after that things settle down and life after social media can be quite positive. It can be quite productive. Outside social media things can be quite peaceful.
For example it is far better and aesthetic to start your day with reading news paper out in the sunlight than scrolling down your Facebook feed. It may sound retro but for some life without social media can be pretty nice.
Author is pursuing Masters in Physics, University of Burgundy, France