However you may feel about it, social media looks to be staying for good as it continues to play a big role in our day-to-day lives, especially with new platforms starting to emerge. (Yes, I’m looking at you Tiktok.) Personally, I believe it connects us with family, friends and even potential significant others. Professionally, it links us to colleagues, upper management and potential employers—and for those who are business owners, it bridges the gap between the customer and the company right away.
Conversely, going overboard with social media can lead to a disconnect from the real world. These apps play a huge role in blocking self-awareness, which results in less face time and true connections among friends and family. In a worst-case scenario, it could also put a strain on someone’s mental health.
According to Dr. Konstantin Lukin, P.h.D., co-founder of The Lukin Center for Psychotherapy in Hoboken, NJ, it’s not uncommon for people to obsess over what is on their feed. He says conversations about how social media affects mood and emotions are a common occurrence in his practice. In some cases, it can certainly trigger feelings of anxiety and depression in many individuals, especially the younger demographic since they utilize social media for longer periods of time.
“It is important to realize that, on social media, individuals are portraying their best selves which can lead to one having thoughts of, ‘I wish my life were like that’ or ‘I wish I looked like that. What we see easily triggers thoughts of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Younger individuals can leave social media with the implicit message that they are not good enough, not attractive enough, not successful enough, etc.,” he explains.
On the other hand, since everyone seems to be on their phones, exposure opportunities are endless when it comes to social platforms. If you’re an aspiring model, your account is somewhat of a portfolio. As a financial planner, you can discuss research with potential clients to entice them. For businesses, it attracts customers and spreads information quickly.
For local Hudson County favorite, O’Bagel, they rely on visual platforms like Instagram and Facebook because people eat with their eyes. Therefore, O’Bagel aims to make them drool before people even step foot through the door. No matter how big or small, restaurants should put money towards creative and marketing assets, says O’Bagel’s Marketing Manager Kendall Dickieson. Especially with COVID-19, marketing has become as crucial as ever to stay relevant and communicative with their customers about new hours, specials and systems.
O’Bagel’s co-owner and chef, Stephen El-Hassan, believes in connecting with customers which he’s been able to do through social media and even considers them family. Growing an account with a big following is great, but creating connections that last is O’Bagel’s purpose, “Relationships beat everything at the end of the day. We always make it a goal to not only produce content that puts a smile on your face or that makes you want to engage, but we aim to go deeper than wider,” says El-Hassan and Dickieson.
Social media has even helped people flourish in their professional life and leave a job they hated. Jarry Lee, a local model, actress and influencer, credits social media for allowing her the freedom to be her own boss and has never felt happier or more fulfilled after leaving a job where she felt burnt out.
Despite social media’s reputation, local Hoboken food influencer Krista Stucchio, the creator of the Instagram account @hashtagfoodpic, actually uses social media to connect with a community that isn’t outside her front door; she’s even made close friends and countless connections just from her account. “Yes, I love the feeling of having an audience that ‘likes’ what I do, say and post but I also love to help people. It’s been so fun to collaborate with others and hype people up for their creativity and hard work. It’s even better when it’s reciprocated as well,” says Stucchio.
Stucchio agrees that social media fatigue, however, is very real. As a creator, she feels the need to constantly put in effort into her page and stay active every day. When she feels exhausted or like she’s forcing herself to post, she tries to remind herself that she’s allowed to take a break and recharge; there’s no need to share details or interact with people every day, you are human!
When social media overload does start to take place, Dr. Lukin believes it’s time to evaluate if you really need it or not. He suggests asking yourself this question: will the amount of time, mental energy, stress and effort that I am putting into social media be worth it in three years? Five years? “Social media should be used for enjoyment and pleasure. If social media becomes more of a ‘need’ than a ‘want’ it is probably time to unplug. If we begin to have negative thoughts from social media (i.e. “I didn’t get enough likes on this picture!”), that needs to be a signal that this app on my phone is causing me distress, rather than enjoyment.”
As someone who is a young professional, it’s important to now use social media as a way to network yourself and your passions. From my own experience, potential employers and colleagues love to hear your voice on platforms such as LinkedIn and see work you’ve accomplished. Socially, these platforms allow you to share content with friends and family.
Below is a list of statistics and numbers that speak volumes only if you allow it too. For example, if you’re someone who is always on their phone browsing on social media, maybe it’s time to use it for good like for a passion or to help your profession. Let’s not forget as well that when it’s time to have a conversation with someone important in front of you, then disconnecting is needed.