What does social media show about society?

This past month social media has been coming under fire with some of its worse criticism yet. Over the past couple of weeks various social media celebrities have been carrying out social experiments in order to uncover trolls and to understand the way people behave on these global platforms. Many people have also been radio interviewed, particularly secondary school children, commenting on how they are becoming ‘tired’ as they have described it, with social media.

Many teenagers wake up and check their social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook for updates. As they scroll through their feeds many of them remark that this sets them up for a bad day, claiming that people’s photos are over-edited and that a constant reminder of what their friend is doing while they’re sat at home makes them feel inferior and less special.

‘Social media is a way for people to over-dramatize what they are doing’ person x told me, ‘people take photos with captions such as ‘out with friends’ or ‘going to London, so excited’ and yet really if you were with them it would be a relatively average day out.’ Another thing is that people are now seemingly living in the thought of getting a picture onto social media rather than making the most of the good time they might be having. It makes people’s personal moments feel less special to them as they compare their evening meal to that of their friends’ in a Michelin star restaurant.

Recently, famed pilates teacher on YouTube Cassey Ho also known by her YouTube name ‘Blogilates’ set up a social experiment where she took a photo of herself and photoshopped it, enhancing her breasts and creating a thigh gap, she received many comments such as ‘you still look fat’ and ‘ew, you look anorexic’ but perhaps the most worrying comments of all were from people saying ‘omg, I wish I had your will power to starve yourself, you look great!’.

After creating a video on YouTube showing how her body had been computer modified she said that ‘the goal is to show that cyber bullying and mean comments really affect people, and to think before you say something.’ She herself has had her own share of nasty comments after posting photos of herself.

So social media appears to bring out the worst in some people and makes others feel insignificant or not as good as they could be and yet what does this reflect about society? It is clear that there is a whole different society on social media than the outside world. Few people who don’t know others would go up to them and describe how fat they look, or how excited they are to go out as they make their way to the supermarket. This is not the case for everyone, but it is very clear now that some people disregard human justice completely when on social media and the consequences of this are serious. So think before you post.

By Nadia Gokcemen, Sutton High School