When it comes to the topic of social media, there are pretty much two camps; those who cannot do without it, to the point they’ve become addicted, and those that would rather see the back of it. In this feature, we ask Grace McMahon, a certified and accredited life coach, if she thinks social media is good or bad for the world?
Luxurious Magazine® is no stranger when it comes to social media. In fact, a while back, it helped to propel us from a niche news provider into a global news resource that the world’s largest tech companies wanted to partner with directly.
Our social media adventures truly came to prominence when Google Plus was in operation. Although it is no longer here, when it was, we became the first non-Google-owned media brand to pass 1 billion views for our posts. In addition to this, we’d amassed more than half a million followers on that platform alone.
At that time, we were pretty much a flag-bearer for social media. It provided us with an opportunity to educate and inform our audience about our latest news and features with less text and more imagery. However, our affection for social media had already begun to wane when it became apparent that Google Plus would be closing down.
I decided not to inform our vast audience of alternative channels to follow us and allowed them to drift off into the ether. I did this because my view was that social media was doing more harm than good, and admittedly, my editorial team did not share my thoughts.
Although Luxurious Magazine still has tens of thousands of followers on our social media channels, our use of our social media channels is somewhat half-hearted. I thought it fair to present my personal views before asking Grace for her thoughts.
Luxurious Magazine: First things first. Do you believe that social media is a good or bad thing?
Grace: Social media has its positives and negatives. There’s community and connection that we’ve all valued over the pandemic. It can provide a laugh, support and interest. Social media itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there are dangers just as there are in other media – newspapers, online articles, magazines. The issue is our consumption of it.
It’s such a huge part of culture and so easy to access. And while it can be great, this kind of mass consumption is overstimulating for us. We look at so many different people showing the best bits of their lives but end up comparing our whole life to it, leaving us feeling not good enough – thinking we should be different or there’s something wrong with us. It’s important to be mindful of your use of social media, conscious of who you follow and how it’s making you feel when you use it.
LM: Social media is constantly in the headlines, with people criticising it for portraying individuals and life in an unobtainable way for most; what are your thoughts on this?
Grace: It can be really challenging if you’re constantly looking at accounts that set these unrealistic expectations. There will always be people whose homes, wardrobes and lifestyles are more glamourous than the average persons, so it’s a case of keeping that in mind when scrolling and being cautious of how much time you’re giving to it.
Many of us know this about social media, but it is so easy to forget when you’re in it. When we only see the best, we don’t consider the challenges they might face or how it impacts their self-worth, esteem and even sense of self. And how can it when it’s rarely shown?
LM: Do you believe that social media should continue in its current form, or is some form of independent oversight necessary?
Grace: Monitoring of social media should absolutely be in place, which it is to an extent, but it’s lacking. There is so much information and so much that we don’t know about until we find it that it’s likely almost impossible to keep on top of everything all the time.
There’s more that can be done to monitor the use, but I think the responsibility lies just as much with its users, as it does with the companies that run the platforms and monitoring officers.
LM: What advice would you give to people whose lives seem to revolve around social media?
Grace: It’s such a big part of our life now. Most of us spend more time than we should on it especially now there are new reasons to be on it – establishing brands, running businesses, the ‘influencer lifestyle’. We need to take time away from social media no matter how much we use it – as part of taking care of our mental health. It’s unrealistic to limit the use entirely, it’s a popular thing that many of us use so to put pressure on ourselves to not be on It can be counterproductive.
Schedule time offline, or away from devices – structure helps us feel in control. It doesn’t need to be without the device necessarily, but that can help. Plan to do something else, read a book, get outside, see real people (whatever you like to do). Allocate time to be on it, use it consciously and with intention and allocate time away to create a balance between your time on and offline.
LM: If there was one on/off button for the whole of the social media world, what would prompt you to turn it on and off?
Grace: I’d turn it on for entertainment and connection. It’s not all bad on social media, and it allows us to connect with groups that we perhaps wouldn’t in real life (it can feel much less daunting online).
There are also support communities for so many things; parenting, mental health, chronic illness and so on. However, there is a risk in finding support via social media, in that we don’t really know who’s providing it – are they an expert? Is their information accurate? Is it unhealthy advice encouraging inappropriate behaviour or thoughts? This is something we should be conscious of, especially in younger people.
I don’t know about turning it off completely but as individuals, we need to manage our use. I turn it off myself when it all becomes too much, when the negative self-talk creeps in, the self-doubt or comparison to others ramps up. The issue is, while we’re on it, it’s difficult to notice when those things are happening. We might not notice till we come off it and start thinking our lives aren’t enough compared to what we’ve been seeing.
I think it goes further than just comparing ourselves because we know social media shows the best bits. But the challenge grows when we’re absorbing so much information from so many accounts that we end up comparing multiple aspects of multiple people’s lives to our one life. It’s much more overwhelming than real-life interactions – there are so many more opinions, lifestyles and judgements to take in at once – but in our online bubbles, we forget all this.
LM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Grace: I don’t really believe we need to remove social media from our lives. It’s just unrealistic to expect or try to. We do need to manage our use and stay conscious of how much it spills into our realities. Be intentional while using it to prevent the negative aspects from subconsciously filtering into your life and thoughts. Come off it, short or long term, when you notice those negatives overspilling.
Life Coach, Grace McMahon. For further information, please visit www.beingwellfamily.com.
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