Social Media: Influential & Powerful or The Place Where Reality Dies

Social Media, a blessing and a curse to many, this crazy world where both joy and pain coincides. Whether you are on Instagram, my personal favorite, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or one of the many other platforms; you are engaging in one of America’s favorite pastimes. Yep, sorry baseball; you’ve been replaced.

On the left is what I posted on Instagram on the right was me fusing at everyone because it was hot and these shots were taking too long.
Instagram vs. Reality

What’s the Appeal?

The question many non-social media folks ask, like my husband, is “why?” Why do people enjoy spending time posting about their lives or the things that they find funny? Why do people take the time to search for and look at others peoples’ lives as though they have personal relationships with most of their followers or those they are following?

Well in my opinion there are a few reasons:

1. People enjoy sharing parts of themselves with others - Some do it to inspire. Some do it to create jealously. Some do it as a form of therapy. Sometimes putting something out publicly allows you to be accountable for whatever that thing or situation is.

2. People want a break from their own reality or want to find a place where they can relate – There are all kinds of content available on social media. You have videos, pictures & lives. You may follow a travel blogger because you aren’t able to travel right now or are looking for new places to travel to. Likewise, you may be the only mom in your group of friends and you are in need of content that you can relate to. Let’s face it for most moms, kicking it every night with your girlfriends is not your reality.

3. You have a business and you use social media as a marketing tool – Social media can be a great marketing tool depending on your industry. There are many free opportunities and you can also pay for ads on different platforms to increasing brand awareness.

4. People use it to keep up with family and people they know – I come from a large family and calling each member every day is simply not realistic. I loathe Facebook at 39. Up until about 35 it was my platform of choice but now it’s just TOO much. I keep Facebook around, though, because most of my family is on there and I can keep up with some of the smaller happenings going on. Most of the big stuff, someone is texting or calling me!

5. People follow to troll – You thought I wasn’t going to talk about it huh? You should know better. YES, some people are on social media just to troll, be mean, and stalk other people. These are the people who find something negative to say about someone’s child, mama and everything in between. Depending on my mood I may block you or tell you a thing or two... don’t try me, I digress. There are people who use social media for a myriad of horrible things. Those are NOT your people.

Influential and Powerful?

Absolutely! There are two sides to every coin. On one hand there is influence. Like I mentioned above, people want to see images that make them happy or cause them to think of ways to improve or better their own life experiences. There are college courses, now, on how to be a social media marketer. Many of my purchases come from following influencers or bloggers and even celebrities who promote different brands or products. Through social media you are able to see an influx of products daily that you wouldn’t typically have been introduced to. Not only that, social media is the place where you find out what coming next. This may be the next new movie, album or concert series. The influence can definitely be a good thing.

Sometimes people are influenced negatively, though. This is a huge debate for many because some argue that you can’t be influenced to do something that you don’t want to do, that choice is still involved. (I am “people”, although more recently and especially raising a teenager I am starting to see how real influence can be, even when people “know” better) Really, though, it’s no different than music, movies, TV or any other medium where you can see a spectrum of life experiences. Things that people consume online can influence them to do things that are outside of their normal personality, so they say.

When it comes to power, social media is definitely one of the most powerful tools used. Through its influence, social media has been able to take relatively unknown people and create entire careers. It has been a driving force in political campaigns and elections (don’t get me started). We are able to exchange information almost instantly through social media which is so dynamic and scary at the same time. Social media accounts have been used in trials because of its ability to store and track whatever you are doing and putting out there. It’s the epitome of power!

The Black-hole: Where Reality Goes to Die

Yep, social media can be that too, depending on who and what you follow. Some people I follow, I know in real life and I’m like “ma’am that is NOT where you are right now”. I often remind my oldest daughter that most times people are only showing you the highlight reel of their life. Sure, there are people who hop on