Jessica Latshaw

musician. writer. dancer.

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Why social media is a double edged sword.

Posted By on September 11, 2013 in Funny Stuff, Thoughts and Feelings | 8 comments

Social media is wonderful and social media is terrible.

It is wonderful because:

  • You can connect with people who you care about, but who live far away.
  • You can see hilarious memes about things like “WHO NEEDS A MAN WHEN YOU CAN HAVE CHOCOLATE?”
  • You can see pictures of people you don’t really want to talk to, but would like to see what’s up in their life, anyway (as long as it means you don’t have to talk to them, of course).
  • You can read inspiring quotes and thoughts.
  • You can read statuses that are either juicy, interesting, funny, boundary-less, or all of the above.
  • You can find out news seemingly right when it happens, thanks to Twitter (that was very helpful during the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that ensued later in the week).
  • You can hashtag things. Anything you want. I can hashtag myself, even–see? #JessicaSarahElisabethLatshaw #Bam #HowBoutThemApples
  • You can stalk your fiance (WHAT? Can we find a less pretentious word, please? I feel like I have to dress up, fix my manicure (who am I kidding–GET a manicure) and curl my hair, just to say it, guys!)–but I can stalk TJ very easily. Not in an I-don’t-trust-you way. But just in a way to ensure myself that he’s still alive and well. He must be, since twitter says he tweeted a minute ago.
  • You can, quite literally, write to the world. Well, the world wide web, anyway.
  • Even if you don’t have money to promote, you can use free sites like youtube, facebook, and twitter to let the world know what it is you do and how they need to see, buy, listen to, or read it.

It is terrible because:

  • You find out things that you would never know, otherwise. That would be better for you NOT to know. You see parties you’re not invited to; read intimate thoughts between two people that make you feel like an outsider.¬†Fifty years ago, we all went around blissfully convinced that our friends did nothing without us. Now we know differently, and I am not sure that the change is for the better. There is nothing wrong with smaller groups and exclusivity. Heck, I love a good small group over a large group any day. Sometimes you want to have dinner with just one person, and that’s perfectly fine. But the kind thing is to not broadcast it. Social media–which compels us to document every moment of our life–lets the world know how good a time they’re having without US, in a sense. And that can lead to feelings of, like I said before, being an outsider looking in. I, myself, prefer the pure bliss of being unaware. What we don’t know, literally don’t hurt. In fact, in some cases it helps.
  • You find out that your ex has moved on, and that can hurt. This has not happened to me, personally, but I have friends who didn’t expect to get slapped in the face with evidence that their ex-boyfriend is now so much happier with so-and-so, just by opening facebook on a Wednesday morning.
  • You can see hilarious memes about things like “WHO NEEDS A MAN WHEN YOU CAN HAVE CHOCOLATE?”
  • You can be badgered and bullied into copying and pasting statuses, because if you don’t, you clearly don’t love God, babies, the earth, or whoever is considerately stinking up your timeline with the status in the first place.
  • You can be going through hell, nursing your own broken heart as best you can, and simultaneously reading about how much Susan loves Brody and he’s the best husband ever and he would never ever cheat and wow! God is so good to me to give me a man like him! and there aren’t enough like buttons in social media to express how awesome my HUBBY is! Again, there is nothing wrong with how much Susan loves Brody!!!!!!!! But, when you’re feeling quite the opposite, a status like that is a bitter little pill to swallow. Also, one should never have to read the word: HUBBY. Not even when they’re feeling like a million bucks. Which leads me to my next point…
  • You are subject to words like: ‘hubby,’ hubs,’ and ‘other half.’

These lists are not exhaustive, either. If you have anything to add–please! Feel free!

8 Comments

  1. Mom September 11, 2013

    I so agree with everything you wrote. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. You didn’t mention the cruel things people say about political figures. It seems to me like FBI can be like road rage. There no longer is a filter of respect towards other people.. People say things they would never say face to face. I also have talked to several people who are sad and feel left out of parties and get togethers. I think fb can give people a false sense of relationship and connection with little effort or it can create more isolation.

    On the other hand I do use social media. Love/hate..

    • jessica September 11, 2013

      Yeah, I wouldn’t want to not have social media. I just think it’s sad that so many people use it as license to act unconscionably and also so many people feel left out as a result of it.

  2. Rob the first September 11, 2013

    I definitely agree with this list, especially the “why social media is terrible” part. And how apropos (that word makes me feel like I should be drinking tea with my pinky sticking out) considering how a certain someone just announced on social media that she was engaged.

    I thought somehow that social media would make me feel more connected but I have found that it has really had the opposite effect; it makes me feel even more isolated and like I’m the only introvert on the planet.

    Social psychologists have done studies on social media and have discovered that it’s actually harmful to people’s well-being. The studies were conducted on college aged people and found that people who were more active on social media showed higher rates of depression, anxiety, and negative self-talk.

    Humans evolved as a social species and social status–no mater how much we may deny it–is still important to us. Our evolutionary ancestors measured status by hierarchy, e.g., who got to eat first, who got the best mate, etc. Modern Humans tend to measure status by comparing ourselves to others, so when we see people who we perceive to enjoy more friends, better vacations, better lives, better relationships (or ANY relationship), it can leave us with a feeling of inferiority. And those perceptions are magnified by the fact that we can log onto a site and see who is taking a vacation that we can’t afford to take, or who got invited to a party that we didn’t get invited to, or who just got engaged over the weekend while we were perusing online dating sites wondering why everyone that we are interested in isn’t interested in us (I’m not saying that was me, but I’m not saying that it wasn’t).

    • jessica September 11, 2013

      Aw Rob. That is a tough place to be. But, I would say that the same boundaries and thought patterns that promote a healthy and confident individual in every day REAL life apply on social media. So there are people who are doing things differently from you–have “better” vacations, etc–the first thing to remember is that it has nothing to do with you. Not good or bad–just really and truly irrelevant. Also–we never see the whole picture. people can have all the money in the world and not be happy. Also, people can be in a relationship that makes them miserable. The best thing to do ALWAYS is to not compare yourself and realize that your life is for you and make it awesome. I am sure you know this–but I can also see how all that stuff becomes harder to do when staring at what seems like a better everything than what you see in your own scenery.

      Also, your day will come. Hold on. Live a full, joyous, passionate life. THAT is what will draw people to you. That is what will draw the right one to you:)

  3. peaj September 11, 2013

    Hmm. Oddly enough, I was never under the illusion that my friends only ever got together when I was around, so I never had the sad feeling you and Robert describe. In fact, FB was a boon to me at first because I interacted with people far more than I had previously.

    However, I have mostly quit social media as a contributor, and only use it as a consumer. Mostly, I don’t want to share so much of what is really going on with me. But if all I contribute is only fluff, what use is that? There is already plenty of that on the Intertubes.

    But I will add this: Social media is wonderful because I get to see pictures and read stories of my friends’ kids that I in no way ever would have seen otherwise. FB must be great for grandparents.

    • jessica September 11, 2013

      I agree with your addition, for sure, PJ.

      And I was using hyperbole when I said I never thought friends got together without me:)

      And I understand not wanting to share what is *really* going on on social media. I think a lot of people feel that way, actually. But, I will say you do participate and you do add. I have definitely benefited from your presence on social media!

  4. pam April 3, 2014

    OK. This was a really good one. They are all good, but this one was super. So super that I felt guilty about taking pleasure for free. Slowly, Jess, slowly, I am catching up on your posts. Like the webite, too. Brother did a very nice job.

    • jessica April 3, 2014

      Aww, Pam, you are so kind to send that donation. But please! DO NOT ever feel pressure to do that–my brother Jase set that up for me cause he’s like that:) BUt I am glad that you enjoyed the post. And thank you for the comment AND donation…xoxo

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