Social Media: Asset or Liability?

I think we’ve all been there, in front of our computers at home or at the office with an important task to complete or a deadline to meet and what do we do instead of really honing in and getting the job done? We check the gram for the 40th time.

The crazy part is, most of the time it’s not like we are looking for anything specific, but picking up our phones, going through the four apps,(Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and SnapChat) has become muscle memory. When people are in social settings its natural to see people looking down and scrolling aimlessly. There have been times I’ve told myself out loud that I will not pick my phone up for two hours so I can get something done, 20 minutes go by and what happens? Without even realizing it I pick my phone up, scroll through my timeline and for 5 minutes, which turns into 10, then turns into 15 next thing I know, I have completely lost focus.

We are distracted on a level our parents don’t understand because they didn’t grow up in a world where they could open up their phones and entertain themselves in an instant. Not to make excuses for our lack of focus and disciplne, but to say it is just a matter of turning our phones out may be too simple, social media has literally become a part of our lives. People are now able to run businesses off of social media and need to have a consistent presence to grow their brand. I feel the problem lies when we go on and lose hours from our day because we scroll and get lost in the lives of others, while losing precious time to better our own. When you are trying to build your business your phone can be your biggest asset or liability, but its up your own self-discipline to decide on which it will be.  

On the other hand, if you only have social media for entertainment purposes, it’s pretty tough to not subconsciously compare yourself to your peers when they seemingly have their lives all figured out. Going on your timeline on a day you personally feel down can make you feel worse.

Oh you didn’t get the job you wanted? Sucks because he got his dream job in your field and your grades were far better when you guys were in college. Oh did your boyfriend just dump you? Well that girl just celebrated her three-year anniversary with hers.  

Sometimes a simple detox may be needed so you can realize none of it really matters when it comes to your life. When people post their good news it may not be solely to show off, but to celebrate their personal wins. Who knows, that new job could have come after 100 rejection emails. You would never know because a person’s social media is a carefully curated look into their best selves. We make the mistake of judging what is shown to us.

a person’s social media is a carefully curated look into their best selves.

When I was in elementary school and a new pair of Jordans came out, my classmates would come to school the next day to show off what their parents go them, while simutanisouly putting down anyone who didn’t get them (I rarely participated because Jordans weren’t really my thing, but that’s another story). However, I would always think about how the same kids who were teasing other only had maybe two pairs of sneakers because their parents really didn’t have much. The Jordan sneakers were the equivalent of an IG post because they weren’t going to talk about what they didn’t have; they wanted to show their best selves.

I applaud the people who can be active on Twitter in one moment, and in the next are able to put their phone on the other side of the room, turn on the Do Not Disturb setting, and get to work. It's a skill that I personally am working on mastering, I can't even front, I might have scrolled through my Twitter 5 or 6 times while writing this...

Sue me. 


Malcom X. Bowser is a writer, curator, and founder of Urban X.

Twitter: @Top_Xth

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