How Social Media Changed Us and How We Make That Change Positive

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#ItChangedUs

It’s also crazy how dated we sound when we reminisce about our times—before social media changed us. “I remember when hoppin’ in someone’s DM’s was sliding shorty a letter in class!” or “Remember when you actually had to like someone to ‘like’ someone. I can see Generation Z looking at me like “What are you talking about old man?”.

Social media changed us, man.

I remember when you actually had to like someone to ‘like’ someone…

It’s overcharged us and shortened our attention spans—to the point that we have become desensitized to things that would have probably blown our minds half a decade ago. Dave Chappelle talked about this in his recent Netflix standup, about how Social Media and just the internet, in general, has made information so tangible—how before we can fully process one event we are being pinged, tweeted or notified about something even crazier. Look at the recent police shootings, for instance. These types of things have always been going on but now because of social media it has become an undeniable truth. Yet in the same scope, we are way too quick to push it aside and move on to the next trending topic. All of this due to the constant flood of social and political events constantly at our fingertips.

Hand Coming Out of Phone

Social Media definitely changed us. You. Me.

Look at what we are faced with—an overstimulated, over-sexualized, over-image-conscious society feeding off of likes, retweets, shares. But who can blame them, especially when you see the impact social media can have on someone’s life? No need to chase a modeling career,  just take enough half-naked pics, get your likes and followers up on Instagram, add a contact email for booking in your profile and wallah you’re a working model! But don’t stop there. You can be whomever and whatever you want to be. Wanna be a baller? Take a picture holding your tax return, add a bottle of Ace for effect #done. Wanna be attractive? Add a few Snapchat filters to your profile pic, delete all tagged pics of yourself elsewhere #done. You can be whatever you want to be on social media—all from the comfort of your couch, and [I guess] that’s part of the intrigue.

Cell Phone Prison

Social media changed us.

I mean we are living in a time where the Commander and Chief of the Free World’s preferred platform for delegation and commentary is Twitter. It’s unbelievable, really. Let’s not even start on the whole hacking element that comes with social media, remember #thefappening? Good times… We have literally witnessed feuds, battles, beefs begin and end with social media #twitterfingers. How many times have you witnessed celebrities & social figures blast out controversial statements only to claim that they were “hacked”?

The bottom line is, no one is safe, not safe from cyberbullying, not safe from trolls, and not safe form stalkers. These are things that we accept because they are part of the social media picture, they come with the territory.

iPad Face

Social Media changed us.

It has dramatically changed the way a business even markets and peddles its wares to the masses. The monetization of our information shared via social media is astronomical. You ever get that feeling that someone is watching you, what you do, what you say? Well, they are! However we ignore that fact when it comes to what and how much we share online.  We have been trained to trust the process. We trust that our jobs are not going to look at our Facebook page, trust that our private online conversations can not and will not be used against us in the court of law #trust. Look, I’m not saying that we should invest in the most secure decryption software, firewall protection, or VPN before we leave a comment on Facebook. What I am suggesting is that we are more conscious of the fact that there will always be an element of intrusion when it comes to social media.

When we post that picture or that quote and the likes and the shares start coming in, it does something to us, it makes us feel…good.

I don’t want to be the guy that rants about this like it’s all bad—because honestly it’s done a lot of good. I mean, it has revolutionized the way we communicate. Never have we been so connected with our friends, family and loved ones. We are able to trade ideas, share content, collaborate like never before. Some have found love, and inspiration on Social Media. It has played a powerful role in sparking positive change and in highlighting the wrongs of social injustice around the world.

The fact is, we all want to feel relevant and involved in the things that are happening. We want to matter and social media allows for that to be possible. It gives a voice to those that would regularly not have a platform to be heard. Let’s be honest. When we post that picture or that quote and the likes and the shares start coming in, it does something to us, it makes us feel…good.

I know social media has changed me, not all for bad and not all for good. It is something that has become so entwined into my lifestyle that it would be hard to see life without it. It has always been said that information is power, but without ways of distributing this information, we cannot harness that power. Well, we now have the distribution. But if we really think about it, is it making us more powerful or highlighting our weaknesses?

How are we using the power that social media provides, not even necessarily from a cumulative standpoint but on a personal level? How am I portraying myself? Will I look back on a Facebook memory and say: “What the hell was I smoking?” or will I say: “That was a quality post.” and repost it. One thing is for certain, what is posted on social media stays on social media, regardless of how fast we try to delete and forget it, so if it’s already changing us, let’s at least try to make it good.

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  • This is impeccably put. I subscribe to the idea that what you see isn’t what you get and realize that a whole generation under us now don’t know a world where there was no internet. They live off of vanity numbers and social acceptance from peers that they will never see or talk to in person. It’s a sad existence and really hard to combat with, as you say, the media perpetuating and glorifying those who exploit it. The idea that notoriety and infamy (which are supposed to be a bad things) have become keys to success is frightening…

  • Robert Curney

    I was talking with a friend about this topic the other day, but our conversation was more about how social media affects people’s self esteem. I’m sure a lot of people wrestle with this. Being overstimulated with images of people you perceive as doing “better” than you or having something you don’t/ can’t have in this point of your life can really take a toll on mental health. It’s harder than ever to stay confidant with instagram for instance, filled to the brim with wealthy and/or attractive (Wo)men and the lifestyle they life.

    Before social media, we didn’t know what famous people were doing day to day. Outside of award shows, their movies/music, or tabloids, we had no idea. Now they show us, and the veil is lifted in a sense (I believe now more that ever it’s still a supplemental marketing performance to their push brand, especially in music). The other kicker is now anyone can get it by posting the right pic on instagram, especially “baddies”. Add tv and movies pushing the idea that you can live in a Brooklyn apart at 24, barely employed, and people on your feed posting island vacation pics. People see that and think “What am I doing wrong?” “Why doesn’t my life look like this?” “Everyone is doing better than me, am I failing?”.

    The real culprit to all of this is our culture, which equates hard work to financial success. If you’re paying attention, you know that idea to be VERY debatable (and a whole other rabbit hole lol).