The Clutch of Social Media

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The Clutch of Social Media

May 01, 2020

As a young boy, getting my first social media account meant everything. It opened up entire worlds that I was not yet a part of. I thought these platforms would help make my life a little better, if not at least a tad more interesting. Little did I know at the time, but I was living in a much more simple, carefree, and peaceful world. I was unlocking a chest that would lead to lots of anxiety, pressure, and negative influences that would affect me for years to come. If I had the chance, I would go back and change it all.

As a seventh grader, a 13-year-old boy, I got my first social media account. It was Instagram. To be completely honest, I don’t think I was too young for the platform, but I don’t think that I had a need for it. What positive impact would an Instagram account have on my life as a 13-year-old? But, at the time, having an account meant so much. It was a sign that I was maturing and growing up into a teenager. At first, Instagram didn’t have the same impact on me that it would in my later years, merely because I was a bit naive as a seventh grader. Once I got into early high school, I felt that my Instagram account spoke a lot about who I was as a person. The amount of followers I had, the amount of likes that I got on photos, and the vibe or image of my account all meant so much to me. Social media ended up consuming a lot of my time and it even influenced a lot of my relationships and perceptions of other people. The people around me truly made judgements and assumptions about you based on how they perceived your Instagram account. Instagram sparked drama, messy relationships, and immaturity during those years. Eventually, my Instagram account gave me stress and even anxiety at times. Too many of my friends felt the same way.

Nowadays, I hardly check my Instagram or other social media accounts. I truly find them boring and a waste of my time. I’ve completely lost interest in the platforms because I realized how much they don’t matter to my everyday life. I’ve overcome my obsession with my online image and have given up trying to impress others or simply be presentable on social media. Whenever I do check my accounts, I hardly dedicate any time and quickly forget about them. I’ve debated deleting my accounts many times and cleansing myself of social media. However, I’ve never pushed myself enough to actually do it. It’s a strange concept; I still feel like I’d be giving up an entire world if I deleted social media. I’ve met lots of people my age who choose not to have social media and aren’t fazed by the teasing they might receive or lack of knowledge about what’s going on in their friend circles online. These people amaze me and I’m genuinely proud that they would purposefully refuse what the rest of society praises. One day, I want to join them in their quest to be different and free from these societal norms. But frankly, I still find it extremely difficult to do so.

Social media is a realm exactly like drugs, alcohol, and crime. While its effects might not be as harsh, it certainly is a world that once you enter, it’s very difficult to get yourself out of. For the youth of today, as they make their decisions to enter the social media circle, they should at least be educated of that simple fact.

Joshua Hill, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: How old were you when you first started using social media? How have your social media habits changed over the years? The class covers copyright and social media. Josh is an Integrated Marketing Communications and Multimedia Design major.

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