During my senior year of high school, my older brother, who was attending UCSB at the time, told me the best advice I have received. He told me that if people don’t push themselves past their comfort zones, they will not learn. Through putting ourselves in unfamiliar positions, we learn of the consequences of new actions. Therefore, he told me that I had to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Not only will putting ourselves in challenging positions teach us how to grow, they will help us feel confident in our abilities.
When we use social media, we only sometimes put ourselves in challenging situations. More often than not, we just scroll through, looking at whatever catches our eye. Because of the way social media is structured, most of the content does not demand our full attention. Unlike a newspaper, in which you have to read the article to understand current events and issues, social media usually are something which does not demand the user’s analysis. Sometimes, we read articles our friends share. And perhaps engage in discussions on social media. But most of the time, we pass up on these discussions to avoid hurting other’s feelings.
We use social media to get to know other people without having to do the hard part of actually talking to them. We avoid the challenge, if you would call it a challenge, of getting to know someone and be able to read them to understand what they’re actually saying. Social media gives us the opportunity of filling our lives with almost meaningless noise because it distracts us from the reality of things. It only lets us see things at the surface.
Why do we continually use social media when we get the same results each time? Although we may feel like we get closer to others because we find out about their lives, when we don’t actually develop a relationship with others, the satisfaction we receive fades. Because we don’t have real interactions with people, and because we don’t fully focus on social media, it’s hard to form lasting relationships with people. We return to social media for the same fake feeling of friendship.
Sometimes we use social media to receive our news. We learn about the current events from reading article titles and memes, instead of reading actual newspaper articles. Thus, the things we see on social media, if that is the only way we get news, greatly affects the way we view the world. If we view the world based off of social media’s representation, then we only view the world with the carefree attitude we use towards social media. This makes it hard to take the important things in life seriously because we don’t fully understand the things that go on.
This past week at many schools, students had to write their last papers before finals. This week at my school, and many other schools, is commonly called “Hell week” because of the insane amount of papers. I, too, had a hell week and had to write many long papers. This task, albeit challenging, showed me how mind-dumbing social media is. I used social media as a break between writing my papers because it provided light, brainless entertainment. It helped me realize that the knowledge and satisfaction I get from social media is fading compared to the knowledge and understanding I gain when I write papers.
Knowledge and understanding gained from reading intellectually stimulating articles, essays, and other literature is far more transcendent than the satisfaction from social media. When we use social media, we tend to want to keep checking it habitually to see any updates. But, after reading a good essay, we feel satisfied for much longer for learning something stable.
Jessica De Gree
Jessica teaches 5th grade English and History as well as 11th grade Spanish III at a Great Hearts Academy in Glendale, AZ. In addition to teaching, she coaches JV girls basketball and is a writing tutor for The Classical Historian Online Academy. Jessica recently played basketball professionally in Tarragona, Spain, where she taught English ESL and tutored Classical Historian writing students. In 2018, she received her Bachelor's degree in English and Spanish from Hillsdale College, MI.