Yesterday was an eventful day. To start off, I listened to first year students doing their orals on various topics. One of those topics was Social Media and the impact it has on the way you perceive yourself. It was an interesting topic and one student even asked me if I have been a victim of Social Media, implying that I looked at myself differently (maybe even despising the way I look) because of the image Social Media portrays of the perfect man/woman. My answer was , “I use Social Media everyday, so therefor I might have been?”
Retrospectively, after some serious thinking, I was certain that I am being influenced by the way Social Media portrays this “perfect man” (from my perspective). It is not necessarily as negative as they portrayed it to be. I am a confident young man, and when I see other images or posts about how successful one can be it motivates me instead of making me feel bad about myself. However, self-perception of many students are negatively influenced by Social Media.
I make use of Social Media to my advantage and there are many ways this can be done. I do not measure my self-worth on the amount of followers I have on Twitter or Instagram or the amount of likes I get on Facebook. I am going to admit that it feels great if someone does, but it is certainly not changing the way I see myself. One of the things I do use Social Media for is to store my photo’s and other things online. After discovering Google Drive and Drop Box my life has been changed. I can now be certain that my projects, assignments, photos, videos, etc. will be save and secure. I save it on a flash drive, external hard drive and of course, online. (Yes, I am a bit paranoid. I have lost quite a few files in my life.)
I am also aware of the fact that Social Media is used to share your life’s happenings and interesting events with others, usually friends. Social Media is therefor not a competition I need to win. There is no real fame and fortune in having countless of followers. It is like monopoly money in reality, maybe a little useless. Having a certain amount of followers or likes may improve your stance in your social group but does it really ensure true happiness? Why not just enjoy what you enjoy and not what others has socially constructed for you to enjoy?
Me and a few other people are working on a project that we are going to launch at Clover Aardklop this year which makes use of Social Media. It is an interactive reading experience we are experimenting with. Byderhand is the name of our project and we have various sub-categories in this project. We would like users to scan a QR-code they will receive at various points and then give feedback on Social Media. This is one of the positive uses of Social Media. As part of the project we need to do some trial runs to ensure the links work for when the actual project is launched. We were at out university’s Botanical Gardens yesterday and there I took some photos that I shared on Instagram. I wanted to share my experience with others. This is the main reason I make use of Social Media.
So go out there, share your experience with others, but also to save your photo’s online. It doesn’t necessarily have to be to the likes of other people, it may just be for you.
Be who you’re ought to be.