Social media: The tool of sharing provides different paths for everyone


Sarah Obermeyer, Staff Writer

Scrolling. Posting. Liking. Friending. Following.  

All these actions have one thing in common; they are the basis on which social media is founded. Social media has become a huge part of the lives of teenagers, and each person in different ways. We talk about social media so much, but how many can say they’ve ever stopped and taken a look at the impact social media can have on not only themselves, but on the others around them?

Social media was created with the goal to help connect people all across the world. As time has passed and the people have grown along with the content being posted, things are no longer so simple. Teens find themselves in a new world of subtweeting, finstas, and indirects. Now as the complexity of the sharing has increased, so has the time used on it.

“Putting your life out there for everyone to see, it’s a really scary thing once you think about it.””

— Hannah Meloche

“I use it a lot to kill time.” junior Lauren Hackred said. “[It can be] like 9 o’clock and I’m like ‘oh shoot, I haven’t touched my homework.’ ”

Lauren is an “average” social media user. Lauren has some social media such as Snapchat and Instagram; however other forms like Facebook and Twitter are confusing to her.  While Lauren may be considered an “average” user, there are also people who stand on opposite sides of the social media spectrum.

Meet seniors David Kevic and Tyler Greenwood. The two are both distant from social media for different reasons. Also, meet sophomore Hannah Meloche. Hannah is currently a sophomore at FHE and is a Youtuber with over 38,000 subscribers.

Social media brings a different use for each person. Some either utilize it for fun, to stay connected, and some strive for different goals. Lauren uses social media to to stay connected with her friends. However, Hannah has a bigger goal in mind when it comes to her approach and social media. Hannah receives unique opportunities because of Youtube and the strength of her content she posts online.

“I really want to get in the film industry.” Hannah said. “Maybe in LA or New York, and just creating…so maybe music videos is the ultimate goal.”

Currently, Hannah is in contact with film companies throughout Michigan. The film companies are presenting her new opportunities like shadowing a worker for a day. She believes that without Youtube, she would not have the business opportunities to communicate with these companies.

“Obviously they wouldn’t have talked to me [otherwise] because that’s where all my work is.” Hannah said.

Lauren, Hannah, David and Tyler may all be completely different in terms of social media. They all have different methods and goals online, but they aren’t so different after all. In actuality, the four students, despite differences share similar concerns due to social media.

One issue with social media becomes the lack of interactions in person.

“You don’t have as much to talk about face to face.” Tyler said.

Teens have become so accustomed to talking through a screen, something they often struggle with social cues outside the comfort zone that is their keyboards.

“I think people hide behind social media,” Lauren said. “If you wanna say something, say it to their face. I think people are shy and socially awkward because social media like they don’t know how to talk to people.”

However, the issue with talking isn’t just missing social cues offline. Sometimes, an issue seen on social media platforms is being “real” online and authentic. It is common to see a small online incident turn into a feud because of miscommunication. In order to avoid this fiasco, Hannah often rechecks before she posts to ensure her thousands of followers do not view things unclearly or she regrets what she says.

“Sometimes, it’s a little scary,” Hannah said, “and you have to be careful about what you put out there.”

Hannah strives to live up to not only her own expectations, but wants to please thousands, which is a daunting task. A way she goes about this is by being authentic.

“Be yourself..” Hannah said. “ [It’s] the most important thing I’ve learned on Youtube.”

Even trying to please your classmates can be a difficult task. Teens can often conform to patterns their friends get into in order to create an image. Often, activities that are seen as inappropriate are posted online and then copied by followers.

“[People who post online often] try to imitate the same [bad actions],” Lauren said, “And one up them like, ‘look what I can do.’”

No matter the circumstances, the issue with being genuine is everywhere. A quick fix to this problem is being yourself.

“You should just be you if you’re online,” David said.

Despite this looking like a quick and easy fix, it’s easier said than done. The pressures of models, #goals, and other influences seem to be everywhere you click to online. These posts may be permanently damaging the mental state of not only teens, but children everywhere. The average social media users age is decreasing, which means social media could impact them for a long time.

“I feel like… [little girls] see these models and they’re like ‘oh why am I not like her’,” Lauren said, “And I feel like I do the same thing… I try to avoid it by not looking at a page of photo-shopped pictures.”

The comparison game becomes toxic for everyone. Even the most outgoing people can struggle in this unrelenting cycle.

At the end of the day, social media is a tool. That’s all it is. Social media is created simply for the reason to help connect people to each other. The stress, drama and communication issues created by social media are caused because of the people on them, not the apps. Social media can be a great thing and help inspire others to do either good, or bad. In conclusion, the user holds the control.

“Putting your life out there for everyone to see, it’s a really scary thing once you think about it,” Hannah said.  “But I guess, it’s just a choice you have to make and what you wanna do in life.”