Social Media

We millennial kids have a big challenge. And that is the problem of social media.

Probably, you are now thinking to yourself, why is this guy referring to social media as a challenge? and thinking that I maybe from the dark ages. Just read on.

Instagram, twitter, Facebook, snapchat, WhatsApp, name them; they are enemies disguised as friends, and we young people have only fallen so in love with them.

Don’t get me wrong. I like social media. I think it is a good tool,for, as Mark Zuckerberg puts it, connecting people and bringing the world closer together. Only that as we connect with others, we sometimes disconnect with our inner selves.

A celebrity posts a photo on Instagram or Facebook. It’s not just an ordinary photo, but a perfect shot, one showing their expensive lifestyle,the kind that ordinary folk only dream of, with a classy ride in the background and adorned with costly jewelry and designer attire.

The photo depicts to us a perfect, pre-planned moment of that person’s life. It does not tell us the story behind the photo, or the journey that the person had to make to achieve that success, if at all its genuine success.

But, our minds don’t see that. We see someone who is living the life of their dreams, the life we can only imagine of. And then our nature as human beings makes us feel inadequate and unsatisfied with what we already have in our lives. This feeling slowly but surely sinks us into stress and possibly depression; we become unhappy and discontented. And it all began with a photo that we saw on social media.

Or that time when you are going through WhatsApp statuses. Your friend has posted a dozen pics of how s(he) had an amazing day with the buddies. But for you, your weekend was spent tucked in the sheets rewatching a season of the good doctor. You try and type a reply to them, “you must have had a lot of fun!”- simply because you are supposed to be happy for your friends; but deep down you are human, therefore you begin questioning why your life is so messed up-when you actually have a good life but are actually comparing yourself to others.

Social media is addictive. Addictive as in alcohol or morphine kind of addiction. Science has proved that the hormone, called dopamine, that is released in the brain when someone takes a drug, is the same that is released when we use social media; when our photo gets a like, when someone double-taps on your WCW post or when a crush posts on your timeline for your birthday, saying how amazing a friend you are (boom –friend zoned). More likes mean more dopamine, and we feel good. Next time, a cleaner photo, expect more likes, get even more than you expected, brain is happy, more dopamine. Feels good. Post another photo. No likes. Brain is sad. We enter into stress.

So, what do we do?

One thing for sure is that social media is here to stay. And it has its benefits, too. You probably wouldn’t be reading this story if someone had not shared it via WhatsApp or Facebook. Most businesses are thriving today thanks to social media advertising.

There is even a new career description today: “social media personality/influencer”-which is basically jargon for a girl with the best assets or gent with cleanest sideburns, who have a good camera and enough time and confidence to smile before it and some money to buy data bundles and post on Instagram. Do this repeatedly and gain a swarm of followers, then you are in the game and money begins to flow in. Okay that was a bit overstretched. I Also don’t have anything against gents with side burns; I love my baby cheeks just as much(really?).

My take is-let’s use social media minimally. If we spent too much time on it we abuse it, and our minds too. I addition, if we have to post something, let’s first pause and consider, so that we post content that will impact our friends/ followers in a positive way.

Meanwhile, find me on Facebook: Victor K Makau, Instagram: Victor Makau, Twitter: @Victormakau97, LinkedIn: Victor Makau.);