Why Social Media is a Double-Edged Sword: Thoughts on the Good, the Bad and the Purpose

Social media has revolutionized how most of us live in the World, today. It can be both, a good and bad thing. Today, I share my thoughts on how social media can be a double-edged sword and some insights on how to go about it.

Social media is what newspapers & letters used to be 50 years ago! Social media gives us so much convenience, especially on the business side of things in terms of marketing, branding and reach. However, it's a double-edged sword in a lot of ways. It can be an amazing tool and do so much good for the World and for people, but...it can also be a complete distraction device and often, makes us feel empty inside, too (especially when we compare our lives to others' and start to feel restricted in how we can express ourselves for fear of being judged as copying someone else etc etc the list goes on...!)

The list goes on, both ways though. The good and the bad. In today's blog post, I share some thoughts on social media and honestly, ramble a lot of the time from one thought to another. As you know, a lot of my podcasts are a single take and today I've added in the transcript of the show for all you readers out there!

I hope it gets you thinking about social media, because a lot of the times things can be conflicting in what's right and wrong with it. Decide for yourself, how you can use it better, use it less, more, whatever it may be for you. I hope it inspires you to just get thinking about it!

full transcript of today's podcast episode:

Hello everyone and welcome to today's podcast. Today I want to talk about social media, how to use social media, and maybe just how to frame how to think about social media. I mean today's world is so different from what it was 50 years ago and social media can be both an incredible tool but also a distraction device. It can be really good for the world, but it can also bring a lot of bad to the world. I honestly believe it can be good and bad depending on how you use it and how you think about it. When you scroll through social media and when you're going on and engaging in social media, you need to remember that everything you see is someone's edited life. Vulnerability is something that takes courage and strength and I think now more than ever, people are becoming more vulnerable and more real on social platforms, but it's a double edge sword. 

It's hard for influencers because people also don't like the post as much. That may be have to do with negativity or vulnerability often compared to the posts of people smiling and laughing and having a good time. However, being vulnerable and real is what we're requesting and demanding of, so it's kind of a double edged sword in that way and I just want to remind everybody listening to this podcast that what we see on social media is edited and it's cultivated for that reason. You never really know what's going on for people in their personal life. Their feed may look so glamorous and so exciting, but they may be feeling lonely and sitting in their room you never really know. So regardless of what someone appears to be always be kind. One thing I also want to mention here in social media is that so many of us get caught up on the numbers, but I recommend focusing on depth of impact than numbers of likes, followers, comments and engagement and so on. 

Because personally, I don't know about you, but I'd rather make a very deep and meaningful impact in a hundred people's lives than a shallow impact on a million people's lives. Now, if you can make a deep and meaningful impact on a million people's lives, that's the goal. That's incredible, but it's hard sometimes to get our mind off of the numbers. We have to be really conscious and aware of the fact that these are just split moments in people's lives. They are scrolling through their feed and there's so many distractions and so many people that are following and if you show up in their feet and that very moment, that is what that lake or common is based off of. It's not based on your worth and you should not be tying your worth to your social media account. Now, like I mentioned in the beginning, social media is both a very good thing, but can also be a bad thing. 

There's been countless studies done on that. Social media makes people feel more lonely and more disconnected than they did prior to engaging in social media for that segment. I'll let you do your own research on social media as there's so much out there in the academic world that's been done even in positive psychology, but I want to share with you a tip that really helped me when I found myself to be obsessing about numbers or social media or spending way too much time on there. What I did is I tried to reframe it in my mind and said to myself, okay, I'm going to be out putting but I'm not going to be inputting as much, so I wanted to increase my output so the posts that I do, but I wanted to decrease my input of what I'm taking in personally on social media. 

In other words, I wanted to focus on my own lane and my previous podcast on a winner's mentality kind of goes over that as well. I want it to be an originalist, you know, not a journalist and nothing against journalists. That's just a figure of speech. But when we're focusing on other people and how they're going about things, it can tend to sway and have an implicit effect on how we're going to be talking and we're going to be doing things. We may feel like, oh, because this person said this or quoted this, or is doing this this way, then I can't do it that way because I wasn't the first person who thought of it. Well, guess what? There can be multiple people across the world thinking of the exact same types of things at the same time, at any given time. For example, if you had never, ever learned or grown up in a culture where they didn't have, say for example a grilled cheese sandwich and your mom one day grilled cheese in a sandwich, you would never know the difference. 

You would think that your mom invented it when there was millions of people eating grilled cheese. I know that's a kind of a very weird example, but you sometimes focusing on other people's lives and journaling about their lives and reposting and seeing all these influences. It can have a major effect on what you want to post and how you were going to originally go about that thing, so I just want to encourage you to be an originalist. Block out all that noise and really get down to what would you say? How would you go about things? How would you design your website? How would you talk? How would you speak? What would you quote? What kind of poetry would you? Right. Those are just some small examples, but I hope you know what I mean, and again, nothing against journalists. It's a figure of speech, but try to focus on your life and how you're going to do it your way. 

Not focusing solely on how other people are doing it. Like I said in my winning mentality, podcasts, Lupita new Ongo, when she tried out for the role of Patsy in 12 years a slave, she didn't want to know how many people try it out. Sometimes. Knowing those numbers and knowing how someone else did something or what they said or something they quoted will inhibit you from doing it your way and running with it. In other words, being a winner, not a follower or worshiper and routers have other winners because to be a winner you have to focus on your own lane and destination fixation, which again, I went over in that podcast on a winning mentality. Social media is something that I love to use for business, for reach, for fundraisers, for anything to do with branding, marketing for getting the word out there for your message or for what you're doing. 

Social media is an incredible tool for raising awareness of so many different topics. However, if you're using it as a popularity contest and tying it to your worth, that is a big no, no. I highly recommend using it as a tool, not a distraction device and having a purpose behind what you're doing. It should not be about posting pictures to appear better than someone else. It should not be about making other people feel inferior to you. It should not be a place where you're sharing extremely personal things either because it's something that once it's up, it's up for ever. So in terms of safety, that's something you need to think about, but also there's a fine line now with lifestyle brands of what you want to share, if it's going to help your brand and your marketing in terms of that's what you're trying to sell. 

Say for example, you're the brand or there's a product or a service that you're offering, then build your feed to that, but keep in mind you social media for business and for a purpose and for a reason, not for popularity or for personal ego and of course it's fun to post fun pictures sometimes or a Selfie or things that you just want to share to the world. And if that's your thing, that's awesome, but you should not be going to social media to pass your time and waste your precious life away. What I like to do is I like to put as much as I can while still leading a present and fulfilled life. So if I'm out doing something, say if I'm on a hike, I will maybe take a story on instagram for 15 seconds and while I'm taking a story of something, I also don't even look through the camera. 

I enjoy what I'm looking at and then I'll post it sometimes in the moment or sometimes later if I want to share that if I think that's going to brighten someone's day or have a positive influence on someone's Day. However, what I used to do and struggle with was focusing on the numbers, focusing on who's looking at my posts, the engagement, and yes, you should know your numbers, especially if you're in business and that's what your goal is to increase your reach and to scale. However, I've realized that when I focus just on outputting and then just turning off my phone and closing the app completely, I was so much more calm and at ease to just not really care about what happened. After that. I just output it the post and then I close the APP. Instead of looking at the numbers and focusing on comparing yourself because we all know comparison is the thief of joy and comparing ourselves to how many numbers someone else may have in the industry. 

You are comparing yourself to other people who are going for their goals and doing great things. It's just such a waste of time because again, winners focus on winning and losers. Focus on winners. You want to maintain your outlook on what you're doing and see things as a collaboration and that everyone is working for the same dream and on the same team even though it may not look like it. Sometimes. If you keep that mentality and that positive mindset, it will definitely serve you. One thing my partner also recommended that he does for social media is that once he posts something and he doesn't want to be on social media that day or that week, he will actually delete the APP and what that does is it makes it very inconvenient. Obviously to go back onto the APP and next time you want to go back you have to install it all over again on the APP store or the play store, so sometimes just creating that little bit of inconvenience detours, you completely. 

If you want to do an entire social media cleanse. Now, none of us are perfect. It's very hard in today's world because there's so much stimuli happening and we are a lot of the times addicted to our phones, so I just wanted to make this podcast and I know it was kind of all over the place to just talk about social media, a little bit about the vulnerability aspect, about how it's people's edited lives and you don't really know what's actually going on and about not to focus on the numbers and to focus on your own lane and to have a winning mentality and don't just be a journalist and repost what other people are doing. Focus on doing great things yourself. Be An originalist and take the platform to use it for a purpose, for something you're building for something you're doing for a fundraiser for awareness. 

Don't use it as a popularity contest because when there's a purpose behind it, it's meaningful, right? But when there isn't and you know it's ego driven, you know better than that. I hope you enjoyed this social media talk. I guess I know I was rambling quite a bit and going from topic to topic or subject to subject, but I just wanted to talk about social media overarchingly and I know it was created to connect us all and it does in so many ways. For example, I keep connected to my family in India that way and it means so much to me that I can do that and see my nieces and nephews and see their photos of them growing up and connecting that way, but a lot of the time to, as I mentioned, there's so many studies done on this. It can make us feel worse inside because we compare ourselves to other people's lives and then we look at our lives and we think men are life isn't that exciting right now, but when someone else could be looking at your social media profile and thinking the same exact thing. 

So this is just a reminder to use social media as a tool, not a distraction device, to use it for a purpose and to also just use it to output what you want to output and maybe yes, input some positive things, some motivational quotes or whatever you're wanting to input for your life at that point, but don't input hours and hours of your day into social media and don't input focusing on stupid things like popularity and numbers and validation and comments that aren't going to matter in the future. Now there's a fine balance, especially if you're trying to increase engagement. I understand that, but all in all, what I'm trying to say is that use it for good and not to do bad. Please be kind. Have a purpose behind why you're doing it and know the difference between you just serving your ego or you being of service. 

Obviously real connections and real people and building social skills in the real world are definitely going to serve you more than building social skills on social media. The generation, especially now, it's scary because are they really going to be able to be in a job interview and meet people and network and the way that maybe previous generations were forced to do because they didn't have characters of text, you know, behind their phone screen and they didn't have social media and cyber bullying and all these other things that come along with it, but also all the positive things that come along with it. Awareness fundraisers, tons of stuff. So I just hope this podcast helped you in thinking about social media in the many ways that you can think about it and I hope it also helped you to just reevaluate how much time you're spending on social media and if you have to maybe set a time limit, set an alarm set. 

Okay, I'm going to go on social media and scroll for one hour and that's my dedicated hour to go through social media. Do whatever works for you and I just hope this podcast got you thinking a little bit more about social media and if you need to tone it down a little bit or maybe change the purpose behind why you're posting and wire on it so often. Maybe take some notice of how you feel before and after you spend hours on social media because we all sometimes have done that will go on for one reason and then it'll be boom. Blackout, two hours have passed. Just notice and be cognizant and self aware of how you feel after that segment of time and maybe write it down if you have to. Because at the end of the day, all of these things on social media, aside from of course, if you're doing it as your sole business and your career. 

Even then though actually especially then all of these things should be done for a purpose, for bringing better things into the world, for bringing a positive light into the world and also at the end of it, at the end of the road on our deathbed. Not to get morbid, but is it really going to matter all that time you took into feeling a certain way and comparing things in, looking at numbers, in focusing on what other people are doing, when you could be focusing on being present with your partner at dinner. I just really hope this podcast got you thinking. Thanks so much for listening and for tuning in and as always, I'll talk to you real soon. 

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Sending you BIG love today & always! 

My whole heart, ♡

 

Hi! I'm Pooja,

A multi-passionate entrepreneur, coach and unwavering optimist committed to helping you become your best self yet.

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In this podcast episode, I share with you my thoughts on social media and how it can be a double-edged sword.



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Today's QT's: Quote-ables & Takeaways from today's podcast episode & blog ↴

Takeaway

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Quoteable

“Focus on service, purpose and output when it comes to social media. Rather than on ego, popularity and input.”