When we were younger we were all warned about the dangers of the internet. ‘Don’t accept a friend request from a stranger’, ‘don’t give out any personal information, like an address or a phone number’ – that sermon has been done to death. But the way we use social media now has changed from our MSNing days of the past. So, what is social media mainly used for these days? Basically, we want to show off how great our lives are compared to everyone else’s.
Most social media apps available now are image oriented, Snapchat and Instagram being the leaders. I’d say these two are my most frequently used, more so than Facebook or Twitter. I’m keen on photography so Instagram is the one I use when I want my life to look like it comes out of a magazine, and Snapchat is the one I should be banned from using after one too many Jägerbombs.
With all these photos circling the world wide web, it’s hard to avoid seeing what people are getting up to. Seeing what the world is doing can be a force for good, and for bad. For example, it’s great for people like me who have moved away and are interested to see what friends are getting up to while we’re gone, but equally, all the photos from days and nights out that you’d have been on if you hadn’t left remind you of everything you’re missing back home. Especially now as it’s Freshers’ fortnight at University of Leicester! But my friends aren’t allowed to carry on without me. They’re supposed to wait until I come back and then we can all have fun together! Sadly, life must go on… But I’ll be back next year when they’ve all got jobs and bosses and I’ll have another (guilt free) year of student life. Hehehehe. I knew what I was doing when I signed up for a 4 year undergraduate degree.
Like I said, it’s Freshers’ fortnight at Leicester, and at most other universities across the UK, so undoubtedly there will be thousands upon thousands of selfies being posted of everyone and their new friends. It’s what you do. I was guilty of doing it! You want to show the world that you’ve made loads of new friends and are loving every minute of it. Or, you may be sitting in your room, finding it hard to adjust to all these new people and feel jealous when you scroll through your news feed and see all your school friends having fun at their respective universities. Have you ever thought that maybe they’re not having as much fun as they’re making out to be? Perhaps they’re finding it difficult to adjust too, and are posting all these pictures as a show of bravado. In this respect, social media can be a force for bad. It lies to us. You can never tell what’s truly going on in a person’s life by what they put on Facebook. No one’s going to post a crying-on-the-phone-to-my-parents-cause-I’m-homesick selfie, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said about the people who rarely post anything online. Judging by their online profiles, they’re not having fun at Freshers’, or enjoying university life at all, but maybe they’re enjoying experiencing life as it happens, rather than thinking ‘This needs to go on my Snapchat story’, or ‘Damn, that pudding is Instagrammable’. I wish I could be so wise and refrain from using social media as much as I do, but I’m a slave to it. However, after some years of using social media on a daily basis, I’ve learnt to take things with a pinch of salt. Afterall, scrolling through someone’s Facebook timeline is a bit like watching the 15 minute highlights show rather than the full 80 minute rugby match.