-We can use social media to be entertained, enhance our lives, or both!
In this post, I'm going to outline the positives and negatives of social media. I'm also going to encourage you to use social media for good instead of letting it undeservingly consume your life. Enjoy the article!
I go outside into Austin, TX and I see people on their phones. All day. Every day. Without exception.
Not to bash Austin or anything… It’s the same everywhere. Dallas, Fort Worth, LA, San Jose, New York, Little Rock, Idaho Falls…
People like to be on their phones checking their latest social media updates, watching the game, texting their friends and family, and making sure it isn’t going to rain tomorrow. All of these things are great, but is there a better way to spend time on social media? That’s a question I asked myself two years ago… Here’s what I found.
When I was younger I spent a lot of time playing video games, listening to music, and watching YouTube videos. Granted, it was a very different time and place for me, but nonetheless, I loved listening to Nightcore remakes (or the Drunken Peasants Podcast), watching Minecraft playthroughs, and playing games like Mario Kart, RuneScape, and PUBG.
I thought I was the outcast in this part of life since not very many people were like me in my stretch of the neighborhood.
But when I started to travel I looked around and saw it for myself; California, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Florida, it didn’t matter where I was, people really liked to play their video games, scroll through social media, and watch their YouTube videos, just like I did when I was younger and still living with my parents.
After a while, it almost seemed like my hometown was one of the rare exceptions in the entire US. Almost everyone everywhere else had picked up some kind of gadget and fully integrated it into their life.
With this realization in mind, I started to get a little ballsy. Every chance I got I would look over at somebody’s computer screen, or look over their shoulder to see what they were doing on their phone/tablet, and I would always see the same thing (with few exceptions); Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Gmail.
Sometimes they weren’t even paying attention to what they were looking at. These people were just “going through the motions” and I could see why social media isn’t looked upon with much favor by our elders.
I started to wonder, ” What if I cut out everything I felt to be toxic and only use social media in a constructive way? What if I got out of the mindless drone I see other people in and try to make my life better using social media?” Until I asked that question I had always assumed that screens and social media were nothing but bad and that I shouldn’t do it at all, and I decided I was going to prove my ungrounded assumption wrong by using social media as a tool instead of the other way around.
A Double-Edged Sword
I soon began to realize that social media is America’s main medium for obtaining intellectual enlightenment.
It sounds silly as I sit here and write it out, but back then I was very grateful to study Jungian psychology, astrology, alchemy, to read all kinds of books written by brilliant and amazing people, to watch many kinds of lectures, workshops ran by notable philosophers, intellectuals, spiritual leaders, to study the different kinds of law and where they’re applied, to listen to all kinds of lost and hidden texts that were fairly enlightening but that no-one was talking about… The list goes on and on.
It’s been roughly two years since I decided to use social media for my own betterment and I’ve gone from being a hot mess to being a completely content human being who’s writing this post – I couldn’t ask for more if I tried!
And so I’ve realized that social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, advertisers are targeting us with useless information that seems to stick with the general public (McDonald’s commercials, energy drink commercials, social media commercials, etc). On the other hand, there’s a treasure trove of information on the other side of the advertisers that has the potential to contribute to your intellectual enlightenment with Jung’s books transformed into audiobooks on YouTube being some of my personal favorite findings.
I say it’s very important to make the conscious decision to use social media for our own benefit. If we decide what we’re seeing before we see it then we can be prepared for our challenges, whatever they happen to be. How you may ask? Simple – pay attention to what you’re looking at and ask yourself, “Do I want to look at this, or do I want to look at something else?”
If you feel toxicity when you look at a certain Facebook post, delete it. If you feel enlightened, you know you’re on the right path; it’s all about self-referencing, and sticking with what you think or feel like you should stick with.