Ah. Social media. It’s only been a few months since I last wrote about thee.
On Monday, October 4th 2021 Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were down for around six hours. I personally thought it was glorious. But I’m sure there were many people around the world who didn’t know what to do with themselves. Such is the world we live in.
The last time I blogged about the mental health implications of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter it was on a very broad scale. This time however, it’s going to be on a much more personal level where, to be honest, I’m faced with a slight dilemma.
I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The number of friends I have, likes my photos receive or interaction on my tweets is very minimal.
When meeting new people I’m that guy who is hard to find on Facebook. I’m also fussy over who can follow me on Instagram and have no issues having a clear-out from time to time. It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t touch dating apps (Find out why by clicking here).
My social media usage
I try to keep my social media activity and consumption to a minimum.
I’ve never been someone who cares what others think when it comes to my social media content. Conversely you get some who purposely upload at certain times, such as commuter hours when people are more likely to be on their phones. As well as those who delete photos if they don’t receive a certain number of likes within the first hour.
In all honesty that is bonkers to me. My point of view on the subject is that we’re all going to die one day. Sounds bleak, I know. But I just can’t imagine I’ll be laying on my death-bed full of regret because a photo I put on Instagram in 2018 only got 9 likes. Seems like a lot of fuss over what is essentially just data.
When I do use social media apps, especially Instagram, I like it to tell a story. That way if I want to show someone the highlights from January 2016 when I was in New Zealand for example it’s right there on the app.
However, we live in a generation where people use social media as a tool to tear people down instead of praising them or being nice. It happens all the time. I’ve had it in the past where people comment on my travel photos laughing at me for something petty like I haven’t got a tan. Or tell me to kill myself after reading my surname (Camp) as a byline in one of my journalistic pieces.
I’m cut from the cloth where I can brush that kind of thing under the carpet. As I said earlier we’re all going to die one day so I’m not exactly going to lose sleep if Joe Bloggs is laughing at me for whatever reason. From my point of view I’m not the issue if people are offended by my surname or because I don’t tan.
The other reason I keep my social media usage to a minimum is because I don’t like fuss, and I loathe being the subject of it.
I don’t like the idea of people knowing anything and everything about me and spreading gossip/starting rumours. Which is why my social media content is very repetitive. Pictures from West Ham games I’ve been to and Tweets about this blog to ensure readership etc.
I’ve never posted anything about my private life on social media. Just before lockdown back in March 2020 a minority of people I worked with took an interest in my private life. They used that information to make assumptions about me and ripped my life apart with it. It got so bad that I was in therapy for the first time in over two years. Imagine what damage it could do if the information was right there on social media. I would’ve effectively been spoon feeding them.
Why I hate social media
My stance on social media is that I like the idea of what it can do for us, but like most things it is used appallingly by the public.
On Twitter it’s an egocentric journalist talking about how great they are. Instagram is full of vanity and on Facebook we welcome the unwanted addition of anti-vaxxers sharing Daily Mail articles.
The only social media app I’m not annoyed within 30 seconds of opening is Untapped – an app where you record the different beers you drink and give them a rating out of five.
There are few things in life which make me hate people more than when I see Alex Scott’s name trending on Twitter and I click on it to find out why Alex Scott’s name is trending on Twitter. The vile abuse aimed at her for being great at her job is simply disgusting.
So yeah, all in all, I’m not a massive social media fan.
Why I love social media
In the past i’ve described myself as an ordinary person who occasionally does extraordinary things.
When these extraordinary things come along I always meet the most amazing group of people. Whether that be backpackers from all walks of life in the most random places. Or part of an incredible group of people fundraising for Mind as they train for the gruelling task of the London Marathon.
As we become older and pick up more responsibilities it naturally becomes much harder to stay in touch. Especially with friends that live on the other side of the world.
Social media makes that incredibly easy. Within seconds you can send them a message over Facebook or see how they’re getting on with their lives over Instagram. During the pandemic I had numerous Zoom reunions with people I met around the world and it was great.
Another reason social media is superb is for fundraising and campaign awareness. I get countless messages from people telling me how this blog has helped them. And while fundraising for the London Marathon we’ve raised almost £8000 for Mind so far. Which, during a pandemic year where we were in lockdown for months, wouldn’t have been possible without social media.
The positives of the whole thing are definitely out there. It just seems like they are being pushed further and further away by the negative.
My social media dilemma
I’m not usually someone who plans too far in advance. However, there are certain long-term plans I have that include a high reliance on social media.
As I said this is a long-term goal so for the foreseeable future I’m going to leave it. Not quite a case of ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I get there’ but it’s a way off yet so it’s not worth stressing about.
I think I’ll end up using social media on a more professional level. By that I mean the things I get up to outside of that will mostly remain offline.
As I said earlier we live in a generation where people use social media as a tool to tear people down for whatever reason. I’m not one of those people so my ideas as to why this attitude exists are purely speculative but I have my suspicions.
All I’m certain of is I’ve been a victim of this treatment in the past and – despite not caring what people think of my social media content in general – it’s not good for my mental health. At all.
It’s exhausting having people flick through my social media, make assumptions (often the wrong ones) and rip my life apart with them. In terms of avoiding something that triggers my anxieties it doesn’t get much easier than simply not posting something directly into people’s Instagram feed.
I’m not saying I won’t post anything about my personal life on there ever again. As I said earlier, I like my Instagram page to tell a story so if I do something significant that I want to remember I’ll happily post a picture. It’s just going to be few and far between. I’ll certainly keep posting story updates about this blog every week.
I’ll keep my London Marathon/challenges account going. As it stands there’s a lot of positivity there and I’ve got plans for future events which I want to document. However, if the feedback from that turns toxic and negative I won’t hesitate to reduce my usage.
I’m proud of what i’ve achieved in my life, particularly over the last seven years and I’ve had enough of people trying to turn those positive experiences into negative ones by constantly talking them down for whatever reason.
We live in a world where privacy has become a luxury, and in my eyes, privacy is peace.
2021 London Marathon
I RAN THE LONDON MARATHON FOR MIND!
You can still donate until November 30th 2021. If you wish to do so you can by clicking the links below.
Fundraising Page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My blog post about the event
Mind Website: https://www.mind.org.uk