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Opinion

Opinion: The dark side of social media

Even with its positives, social media can be harmful.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/briianchenn/" target="_self">Brian Chen</a>

Brian Chen

February 6, 2022
In our new era of technology, we are constantly being fed a stream of nugatory information, killing time and communicating with others through social media. 

Subsequently, social media has developed to the stage where it is overrated. Although social media can help us on a daily basis. Many of its features distract us from reality and are mainly to help social networking companies profit.

Being powerful and alluring, commonplace social media apps can be highly addictive, which is proven by many of its creators avoiding social media usage completely. 

According to The Guardian, a renowned case of a social media developer Justin Rosenstein blocking himself from social media arose when the Facebook tech lead and creator of the “like” button cut himself off from various social media sites. He revealed during one of his interviews that he had “tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat” and “set up parental controls on his phone to keep him from downloading new apps.” 

This clearly reveals the ominous side-effects and alternate motives of social media that the companies do not want their users to realize. Instead of being a gathering place, social media apps keep users glued to their screens for the company’s benefit. Understanding the destructive and unhealthy mechanisms behind social media makes it even more clear that it is overrated.

Another aspect that users often fail to attribute to their smartphones is the distraction it is to our own social lives. Personally, I have had many experiences seeing peers, including myself, avoid social interactions and simply scrolling through their feed or watching short videos. For example, when at my school before a class period begins, most students wait in their seats, browsing through their phones instead of talking with their classmates. 

Contrary to human nature that requires us to stay connected to others through social interaction, social media has given us the ability to seek and gain connection through digital methods, which stunts real rapport with those around us. Using a device that severs real connections with others while producing pseudo-friendships online can seriously make one experience less enjoyable relationships, which makes the joy of social media artificial and overrated.

Social media also comes with more responsibility. With millions of posts people scroll through every day, very few of them are socially fulfilling and are rather mostly created for marketing purposes. An expression coined by an American scientist Herbert A. Simon, “attention economy,” describes the reality of attention becoming more valuable as there is more information available in the world. 

With such an abundance of information, it becomes harder to grab the attention of the public. It often results in carefully designed and strategically targeted flashy videos or glamorous pictures pouring through your social media feed. The videos are meant to get you to keep viewing, causing you to be a living digital product by selling your attention for profit. 

Even though social media may be a place to entertain yourself or a place to connect with others, it becomes more important to be aware of what you are looking at. Having the burden of constantly avoiding falling into a marketed trap while also trying to enjoy social media makes it overrated.

Although social media is a potent and significant advancement of our generation, it is overrated. Being dangerously addictive and pulling time and attention away from reality, social media apps can cause detrimental damage to our lives if overused. Social media also leads to more alienation in our daily social interactions

Lastly, the pressure of being pulled into all the user-targeted content can all contribute to the gradual exhaustion of the user. Integrating social media into your life may seem harmless or maybe even exciting, but in the long run, the repercussions of long-term social media usage begin to reveal themselves and make the initial delight of using social media overrated.

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