Social Media in the Beginning
My first social media account was AOL chat. I believe I just aged myself. It was before Wi-Fi. This was in the late 90s during the internet dial-up era. Next, I signed up with Black Planet. I signed up for AOL chat and Black Planet to meet and date men. A/S/L (age, sex, location) is the only acronym I remember and was the first line typed. Pictures were scanned and uploaded to the sites with a scanner. Black Planet let you add graphics and music to your page. There wasn’t too much interaction amongst friends. It was more one-on-one. My, my, how times have changed.
The New Millennium
About ten years later, I was introduced to Facebook. My purpose was only to look at the pictures that were taken at our 20-year high school class reunion. I wasn’t into all of the social media hype at that time, but I signed up anyway so I could see our pictures.
Then I connected with classmates, childhood friends, family from my mom’s and dad’s sides, and former co-workers. I was so excited because I’m that one that says, “Keep in touch,” but would really make no effort to do so. I mean, come on, that’s a lot of people to keep in touch with! Facebook was a great way to see what people were up to after all these years of no communication. It was a way to let all in your circle know what was going on with you and share pictures. No need to make numerous phone calls or print and send pictures. What a concept.
But I loved it! Friends would make a post and you could choose to comment on the post. It could be a feeling, question, suggestion, or just letting the world know what was going on with you at that time. It was fun to have a conversation amongst your peers and sometimes with strangers. A lot of Facebook “clowns” to keep you laughing, some inspiration, the attention seekers and then the negative people.
And Then…Social Media Evolved
As more people signed up on social media (including entertainers, sports figures and politicians), the desire to follow them and add more details of what is going on in your life increased.
According to a study conducted at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, Inc., people who used social media the most were about 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than participants who used social media the least. Why? The following four culprits were to blame:
In 2020, coronavirus and civil unrest took over social media, and I noticed how some people became depressed because of what was going on in the world. Even doctors who were working with COVID patients were killing themselves because of depression.
Minimize the Negative Effects of Social Media
Given this study, it may be worth your while to limit your time on social media and take some precautions. Here are three steps you can take to minimize the negative effects of social media.
Focus on yourself. Don’t get lost or caught up in other people’s business.
Stay focused on your goals, your peace, and your happiness.
Don’t waste your time on anything that doesn’t contribute to your growth.