Our marketing assistant, Ash, interviews young adults about their own perspectives on social media.

Six questions were posed to them:
– Which social networking outlet is your favourite?
– Why? 
– How important are followers/likes to you?
– Why do you think that is? 
– Do you believe that social media has been more positive or bad in recent years?
– Why do you think that?

Some people wished to stay anonymous. Here is what they had to say:

Name: Anonymous

Age: 21 years old

“My favourite social media platform is probably Snapchat because it’s one of the first social media accounts I made, it’s the one I use the most to talk to my friends and it’s easy to use. Followers and likes did use to matter to me a lot because I was very insecure when I was growing up, so followers and likes to me, meant that I was getting ‘approval’ from others. However, now, I don’t care so much about that because the following and like count shouldn’t matter, it’s not real life and half the time most of people’s followers are people they’ve never even met before. Someone’s self worth and confidence shouldn’t be based off followers and likes. I think social media has become a lot more negative because of cyberbullying and trolling and it can make a lot of young people insecure. People  edit their photos to show the ‘best version’ of themselves and young children can look at that and think ‘this is how those people look all the time’, when it reality, it’s not.  Social media has added  more pressure on people to be ‘perfect’ and shows unrealistic images of people living ‘perfect’, ‘amazing’ lives, in my opinion, this can make a lot of  people (young or old) look at those pictures and  feel like they aren’t achieving anything and are also behind on life. Social media has helped me connect with friends but it’s also made me feel isolated when I see my friends hanging out on days I can’t join, it’s also affected my self image in a more negative way, as I’ve become a little more insecure.”

Name: Alfie 

Age: 19 years old

“I’d say my favourite platform is Snapchat because it’s not as ‘competitive’ like how instagram is. Most people try and ‘show off’ on instagram. Followers use to matter to me but I’ve kinda just stopped caring over time, like I just don’t care anymore. I don’t think that ALL social media’s are bad but some are way worse than others…”

Name: Ashlynn 

Age: 18 years old

“My favourite platform at the moment is Snapchat because it’s a good platform to message my friends and it’s not crazy addictive. I try to act like the ‘like count’ doesn’t matter to me, but it actually does, if I post something and it doesn’t get as many likes as my previous posts usually do, I’ll start to think people hate me. Social media has become growingly negative as I’ve grown up. I initially downloaded social media platforms to post fun things, but now it’s a ‘like/follow/comment’ contest and I don’t like that, it’s super easy to be insta or TikTok famous nowadays, there is no benefit in that and it kind of (I don’t know how to properly phrase this) but discredits actual celebrities. These influencers just mess about and don’t seem to contribute a lot. It’s weird seeing them at these big red carpet events. In my opinion, this can cause negativity because seeing how easy it is to get famous, can cause children to believe they should or will be famous and it can cause them to do mental and physical damage to themselves in order to get there (eat less, self-image issues etc). I’d say social media has affected me personally, in both a positive and negative way because it has allowed me to expand myself and meet new people, but sometimes I get anxious or stressed when I see people who have bullied me on my timeline or people that I’m gender envious of or if I see people more attractive than me.”

Name: Erin

Age: 19 years old

“My favourite social media platform is probably Facebook just because my feed is mainly the older generation complaining and I find it amusing/entertaining. Followers and likes don’t really matter to me- I post for myself not for other people but just like many other people on Instagram, it’s a confidence boost when you get more than just your friends liking pictures. Social media has become more positive in recent years with body positivity and more awareness on mental health but it still has its negatives with reducing face to face communication and cyberbullying.” 

Name: Peter

Age: 19 years old

“I’d say Snapchat id my favourite, mainly due to it being the preferred social media platform for closest friends and it’s where I talk to mine mainly. I have a mixed opinion on followers/likes mattering to me, as on one side, my desired career path can be massively helped by getting my name out there through social media, therefore interactions in that scene, can help. But when it comes to just me as a person, I don’t mind if I have 1K likes or even just 10 on a post. I’d say that social media is both  (somewhat) equally positive and negative. One positive, is to be able to interact with people all over the country/globe. I’ve met loads of people who have drastically improved my life through social media. However, social media can also be extremely negative, as it becomes very easy for someone to constantly compare themselves to celebrities or people they look up too etc, causing insecurities to build up and negatively affect their mental health. I’d say significantly, social media has affected me in a more positive way, mainly because of the people I’ve met through social media.”

Name: Anonymous

Age: 23 years old

“My favourite is Facebook as I can talk to my family abroad. I don’t care about likes or followers because I don’t care about other peoples opinions on my looks/personal interests. I personally think social media has become negative, due to the growth of social media, there’s bee way more cyberbullying and there’s general pressure on the younger audience ‘to fit in’ and  it feeds them fake standards and false sense of reality, I have experienced both negative and positive with social media. Negative: as it does get to me mentally when I see women my age looking ‘flawless’, I seem to compare myself and that takes a toll on me, although I said I didn’t care about peoples opinions on my looks, I do have days where I think “She’s doing so well in life and I’m here”, basically I compare my life, I think I’m behind/stuck, I have also been bullied online, which is something you can’t run away from because unfortunately, it’s everywhere, but the positive side is that I am able to contact friend and family and even meet new friends.“

Name: Anonymous 

Age: 19 years old

“My favourite social media platform is TikTok because I feel like it’s more of a fun and safe place compared to other platforms (for example Instagram and Twitter). I feel like from my own experience, there is less toxicity on TikTok than on Twitter. Followers and likes used to matter to me a lot but I’ve kinda learnt to not care anymore. However if you work hard on something and post it and it doesn’t do well, I feel like it’s very discouraging. I used to care about followings and likes because I felt like it gave me validation and I was comparing myself to other influencers. I think social media has become positive and negative. Negative because, there’s a lot of bullying, on Twitter a lot of bullying happens and drama, it’s a very toxic environment. But on the other hand, social media can be good to meet others that have same interests, to share your passions, and create an audience that can lead to a potential business or career. I have a personal Instagram and one dedicated to books, I feel like that has affected me in a good way because I get to share my passion for books and become apart of a community. However, there are times where I do need a break due to mental health but I wouldn’t say it’s really a full negative for me.” 

Name: Rafael

Age: 19 years old

“My favourite platform is Instagram because it has a greater variety of entertainment for anyone. Followers do not matter to me at all because I don’t see the point of caring about how many people I follow or follow me back. Social media has been leaning on the bad side of things for quite a while, with a lot of hate that is found everywhere you look but it does have some positives sides such as teaching people things or being able to get something important across. I mean, personally I use social media to look at things I like such as skateboarding and fashion but I also use it for fund-raising.”

To sum up, it’s fascinating to see so many similar but diverse viewpoints on social media. Many people discuss their own personal experiences with social media and how it has influenced them in both positive and negative ways. I discussed, in more detail, the beneficial and negative effects of social media in a previous blog (‘The chains and shackles of social media’). I appreciate everyone who contributed to this blog. I think we all need to remember that social media can be fake; most pictures you see are edited, and most articles you read are embellished; not everything you see or read online is real; and it can be difficult to find someone who can relate to you on some level. I write these blogs to show young adults, teenagers, and children, they are not alone and that many people can relate to them, but I also want to encourage them to be themselves and to not feel compelled to change themselves for the approval of others.