Abandoning Social Media in Its Golden Age

Amy Zhou, Contributing Writer

47 new likes. 9 new comments. 3 new followers. Be honest, reading that made you feel something. But it’s nothing personal. Social media and its algorithms are made to do that—it’s why they’re so popular. They give us positive emotional reactions, making our brains release dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel good. In turn, we give those social media platforms something incredibly valuable: our time.

Be freed from constant scrolling and an overwhelming online environment.

Social media companies generate profit through advertisements, and the more time someone spends on social media corresponds with the amount of advertisements they’ll see. To keep users engaged longer, social media companies use more than just ‘likes’. Most platforms utilize the infinite scroll—an endless feed of content. There’s always something new for you to pay attention to and eventually forget. Since all you have to do is scroll, it’s easy to spend unreasonable amounts of time online. Even if you get sick of whatever you’re scrolling through, you’ll always have that refresh option to a new feed curated to your interests. But it’s not only time that we’re losing.

People post their best moments: a good selfie, a party, etc., and on the surface level, it looks like everyone else is having fun and living their best life—except you. These glimpses into other people’s lives are addicting, yet detrimental, to self-worth. In a survey of 1,500 young adults, 85% of them reported that social media negatively affected their self-esteem.

Social media is also a hotspot for cyberbullying. The technological aspect of social media makes it easy to become apathetic to others. In the years of social media, cyberbullying has become increasingly common. According to the 2021 Teen Health Survey, around 7% of all CRLS students reported being cyberbullied. That might seem like a small percentage, but 7% of CRLS’ 1,867 students is around 130 people.
I’m not arguing that social media is completely bad, but it’s undeniably a magnet for low self-worth. A couple years ago, I permanently deleted my social media accounts because of its negative impacts on my mental health. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying that all your problems will be fixed once you get rid of social media. However, you will be freed from constant scrolling and an overwhelming online environment. Here’s a piece of advice for quitting social media: start taking short breaks and gradually increase the amount of time you spend offline each time until you get used to it. It might seem daunting to get rid of a practice that has been so normalized in our era, but in the end, it’s worth it.

Besides, has there really ever been a time that you’ve gotten off social media feeling good about yourself?

This piece also appears in our June 2022 print edition.