Social Media: Friend or Foe?



In the modern age of technology, a lot of us feel obliged to have our phones with us at all times. What used to be a device for calling people has turned into so much more, and in a way, so much less. With the creation of social media, we were able to connect with others like never before, but this has left some major impacts on society today. The question is are we the victims of our own devices?


Recently, while watching "The Social Dilemma", the topic of surveillance on social media was covered, as well as the various other pitfalls. The documentary covers topics including how we are all just pieces of data being passed around from one company to another. The worst part is that we voluntarily post our information online and it is seen as normal.


In addition, we are always trying to be sold something. If you are just browsing through the web and see an ad pop up for a new purse that you had been thinking about, chances are that is not a coincidence. Artificial intelligence, which was originally created to help us, is now trying to get the most money and information out of its consumers.


Social media is a reflection of our society, and I feel that if we as a society change, so will social media. We need to be conscious of the ways we are being targeted, and to have a mind of our own.


Do we really need that? Or do we want it? The bottom line for companies is to get money, that is what society relies on and the best way to make money is to try and hack your mind and give you recommendations, based on what you like. If we become less materialistic even in our own personal lives, we can learn to be smarter than the algorithm.


As well, I learned that a lot of things in life were not created with bad intentions. In fact, as discussed in the documentary, the Facebook "Like" button was originally created for the purpose of supporting one another., Even the creator wouldn't have known back then how the amount of likes someone gets dictates their worth!


The truth is, if we have the power to change the initial implications of a tool, then we can do it again. The reason why social media is so toxic, most of the time, is because people scroll through it aimlessly, often times refreshing their feed over and over. As well, not everyone on social media is genuine about the way they live their lives. We only see what people want us to see, and most of the time, it is their highlight reel. But life is not always like this.


If we take a more mindful approach to social media and become aware of all the attention-grabbing tactics, we can overcome our addictive tendencies.


The only way to truly control social media is by taking control of ourselves. Social media, over the course of the last few months, has been extremely useful in "seeing" family members that we cannot otherwise see because of social distancing. In the end, it is not so black and white. There still remains good sides to social media, and it should not be seen as an entirely bad thing.


Social media still remains a window into the lives of others and allows us to connect with loved ones and like-minded individuals. So instead of allowing ourselves to be disconnecting from the real world, be aware of your digital surroundings and social media could be used to your advantage.