The Bright Side of Social Media

“You can run, you can hide
But you can’t escape, my love.”
–  Enrique Iglesias, “Escape”.

In today’s world, no matter how hard you try, you cannot completely be off social media. Yes, there are people who have deactivated their Facebook accounts, or who can survive without posting pictorial updates of their lives on Instagram, but they are still surrounded by people who are active social media users. At the very least, everyone you know uses Whatsapp as the primary means of communication, these days, and at some point, you do get a glimpse into their world thanks to the new Status updates!

Social media has always come under a lot of criticism – it is believed to have driven the youth to engage in more self-centred behaviour, and distract them from being productive. It has also given rise to cyber-bullying. Sarahah is the latest fad on social media that’s gone viral, and it’s no surprise why – it once again encourages a user to believe that they are the centre of the universe, and invites them to seek honest constructive feedback from people. Since the app guarantees anonymity and the user has no way of knowing who has sent a particular message, there are people who’ve reported receiving vicious, unpleasant messages and they have no idea why.

Recently I wrote an article on how anonymous messaging apps like Sarahah do come with a dark side, but that in no way implies that just being on Sarahah will make you a victim of cyber-bullying. Yes, there are trolls out there and people who will try hurting you with a lot of unwarranted hate and abuse, but simply having the knowledge that it’s unwarranted and that you deserve better is self-care. Assuming you’ve shared your profile with people known to you, getting mean messages simply implies that you need to seek better circles and re-evaluate your equation with people who exist in your space.

And just because you are seeking support, validation or looking for positivity on social media, it does not mean that you are a narcissist. We all need that from time to time, and sometimes when we cannot find it within us, it is alright to seek help from external sources and use social media as a means to boost our spirits.

Social media amplifies the voice that you have. If you are a voice of compassion and kindness, remember that that will travel too via social media. So, be kind.  We are all hoping to hear something that some people may shy away from telling us, or there may be stuff you wish to get off your chest – Sarahah is useful, but don’t restrict everything to the virtual world alone. Don’t shy away to offer (and don’t go beyond that without consent!) a hug, a kind word, etc. You will know immediately if your circles can provide you with what you need if you don’t cloak your message, and just speak your mind.

Life would have indeed been so much simpler if we were all able to directly ask for what we wanted – be it a kind word, a listening ear, a hug, or even sex. There would be so much less drama, because being direct really helps! Most people look at you disapprovingly if you inform them that you are on Tinder or TrulyMadly because they’ve judged dating apps to be just perfect for casual hookups, but there is nothing wrong with simply seeking that especially if the person on the other end is aware and well-informed of your intentions. What takes place between two consenting individuals is nobody’s business, and social media is a good way of finding supportive people who may not be present in your immediate environment, and having them as a part of your life. If someone tells you that you are being foolish or attention-seeking for turning to social media as a means to express yourself and fulfil your needs, do not believe them. Being able to ask for support or whatever it is that you need is a sign of strength.

If there’s one thing I like to do, it is generously giving compliments and kind words to people I like. People need to hear that! If you ever feel that your words or opinions on social media are insignificant, remember that random kind words and honest compliments can make anyone’s day. At the end of the day, we are the ones behind the screen. We can make or break anyone with our choice of words and our usage of social media. Let us strive to use this tool just to spread love and brighten up someone’s day!

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