Can you remember the days that your life was a complete mystery to your friends? Do you recall the days of recording your holidays by taking photographs and putting them into a physical photo album book? For a lot of people those days are gone, or for the younger generations have never existed. For many of us our everyday lives are uploaded onto the Internet. In this day and age where privacy is a different concept to what it was a decade ago we look at whether a person can be happy while living a very public life.
In many ways we are all mini-celebrities, our lives are up there on the web to be view, examined and, let’s be honest, to be judged. Every photo you post has become in many ways an advertisement of your life. The Huffington Post wrote how social media can hide signs of trouble. In their article they cite an ivory league student who presented the perfect life on her social media accounts but who unfortunately killed herself in 2014.
It is very easy to create a false persona on the Internet and maintaining the illusion of this identity can become an unhealthy obsession. In this case social media loses the social aspect of it and a person’s life becomes a glorified media advert. Individuals making a lot of money by making their private lives public haven’t helped this craze. This ranges from reality stars such as the Kardashians to Instagram users who make revenue through advertising.
The Independent recently touched on a study, which concluded that staying off social media sites such as Facebook made you happier. The researchers found that when asked to give a rating of their lives out of ten, the participants were happier away from Facebook.
It is not all doom and gloom with Facebook. There is research that does suggest that social media can make you happier. Time Magazine states that researchers found that positive posts on Facebook had a positive affect on people. James Fowler a professor of medical genetics and polities who ran the research argues that social networking is positive for our emotional states. Happy feelings can be spread.
Facebook is the world’s biggest social media site and will be for the foreseeable future. How has Facebook been able to dominate and influence our lives so much that we feel compelled to keep on posting on it? Financial trading website FXCM states that Facebook has thrived because its “corporate culture is based on the ability to innovate and maximize creativity.” This creative culture has made sure that Facebook has stayed ahead of its competitors in the social media world and adapted to both technology and people’s needs.
The answer to whether social media can make us happy can only be answered on an individual level. For some people like Alex Bastiras who wrote on The Advertiser about giving up social media life, he got to prioritize other things in his life. He found that he had more time to concentrate on his grades and spent more quality time with his friends. For others they find social media a comforting part of their lives knowing that their friends are just a click away.
If you find yourself obsessing over every photo you’ve posted, or worrying what people will say, or how many likes, then we suggest taking a step back. But if social media is just a useful tool to connect with people you care about then use it to make your life happier.
This is a guest post by Tom White. Tom is an online blogger who believes that maintaining a happy life is the key to living a successful and fulfilling life. His belief is that we need to adapt our lifestyles in a positive way to the modern world.