6 Reasons Not To Apologize For Liberally Abusing Social Media, Because It Goes Way Beyond Selfies And #TBTs
Using and abusing social media is something that's still quite polarizing. While some people (me) tweet their thoughts and Instagram their lives, others (maybe you, I don't know) still oppose the liberal use of social media. And they're not entirely wrong. Social media is dehumanizing, distracting and sometimes very unhealthy. But you should never apologizing for overusing it. Especially if you work in a digital industry, because social media knowledge is now a requirement for most digital jobs. But even if your job doesn't involve using social media, you should still free free to use it as liberally as you choose with impunity.
Social media can be toxic when it sucks you in, especially if you're the kind of person who obsesses over comparing themselves to other people and stalking people that make you feel bad, like your ex or their new partner or the person who got the job you wanted. But I'm still a big advocate for social media, because as difficult as if can be to navigate the emotional baggage we take along with us when we use it, and the trolls that only add to that baggage, it can be a very useful tool for work, socializing and knowledge. Here are 6 reasons why you shouldn't apologize for your love of using social media:
1. You can actually make friends on it
I've made IRL friends on social media. Weird, right? Moving to or visiting a new city has been eased by existing friends introducing me to new friends on Facebook. Or people I've tweeted at turning into social acquaintances. Or that childhood friend I thought I'd never see again popping back into my life. When you're so busy all the time and mostly staring at a screen all day at work, social media can be a great way to make little human connections in the middle of all the mind-numbing technology. It shouldn't be the only way you socialize, but it's certainly one from of communicating with friends.
2. You can build a career on it
As I briefly mentioned, social media and work these days are pretty intertwined for those in digital industries. Being social media savvy can be the difference between getting a digital job and not getting it, even if that job isn't directly related to social media. For instance, when I was looking to hire an assistant when I was managing editor at a website, I was looking for candidates who were active across all social media, even though their role wouldn't necessarily require them to use the company's social media. For myself, I was able to get paid work by having my blog posts gain traction on social media early on, before I had a full resume as a writer or any editorial contacts. And if you're particularly passionate about social media, that could lead to a job in itself!
3. You can learn from it
I swear by social media for my daily news. If you curate your Twitter feed well enough, 5 minutes in the morning will fill you in on all the news from around the world. You can quickly and conveniently browse the headlines and relevant links, and real time reporting means you're constantly and easily up-dated on the news.
4. You can keep up with everyone you love
If you live far from home, social media is the perfect way to easily catch up with everyone you know. I live in another country now, and enjoy browsing social media as a way to see photos from the weekends of everyone I love. I can see what's going on in their lives, when they start relationships, when they get new jobs, etc. You can say "but you can email or call", but I've lived away from home before social media was so pervasive, and I know from experience you say you'll do these things but they rarely end up getting done. And while this kind of communication works for your mom and maybe one or two best friends, it's hard to keep up with a group or community of people you love in such a time consuming and personalized way on a daily or even weekly basis. Social media is the easiest way to catch up with the people you can't easily see, but whose lives you still care about.
5. It can be inspiring
Seeing what other people are doing doesn't always have to be an exercise in comparing and diminishing yourself. Social media is full of inspiration, whether that's funny jokes, fantastically written articles with well-reasoned ideas, cute pictures of puppies, or beautiful images of picturesque scenery. Whether it makes you laugh, think, or gives you ideas for projects of your own, social media can be inspiring if you approach it with a non-critical attitude.
6. It's kind of just the way the world is now
I know "everyone's doing it" isn't a good argument for anything, but social media is genuinely hard to avoid. It's what keeps us connected now, for better or worse. It's how we get information. And for those of us stuck to our screens all day, it's a form of communication and entertainment that's more useful than the naysayers would have you believe.