News is what I identify as incoming information that I am able to find either in a newspaper or their online website. Sometimes I’ll watch the news if I get home early enough, but normally I prefer to read it. To me, the ability to read, and research different news stories helps me understand what is going on from different angles, and limits the biased interpretation that is present on certain news channels. If I’m walking to a place or on the bus, I’ll usually hear about something via social media, and then go forward to look up what is happening. I try not to rely on my news feed as facts, as often I feel like we get caught up in the heat of things, and then press send. I think it’s important then when we share news, we are as factual as possible, and then are blatantly stating when we are expressing our opinion.
Besides politics, something that interests me is mental health issues. I follow a lot of different websites that keep track of different research and treatment methods, or general news going on in this facet of the world. Since this is such a broad topic though, I’m able to customize the kinds of stories I want to be updated on regularly in my email inbox. While this is helpful so that my email isn’t completely filled with information that I might not necessarily go through, sometimes it does more harm than good. I fear that we get so caught up in specializing what we want to learn and stay in touch about, that we don’t necessarily open our minds up to new things.
Diet culture is something embedded almost every where, regardless of season. “Summer bodies are made in the winter.” “Burn now so you can bum out over Spring Break.” Combing through different websites for various women’s magazines, you’re sure to find something on what the latest diet trend is to help you lose “x” amount of pounds in “y” time frame. As someone who has never been on the smaller side of the scale, this idea has always alienated me to certain brands. That was until I stumbled across an Instagram account one day that changed everything.
Healthy is the New Skinny identifies themselves as a social movement geared towards challenging beauty ideals. By encouraging a dialogue focused on health and happiness, rather than a specific number on a scale, they push for people to focus on their entire self image and lifestyle. Their inclusive platform tackles and educates on issues such as harmful media advertising, nutrition, health, and other various topics surrounding body image.
I think it’s so important that we have more platforms like this, speaking out and calling out companies- specifically those of fashion or beauty, and requiring them to show us the more real side of things. It is when they choose to advertise or promote a single body type to a wide audience that we run into problems.
My parents were firm believers throughout my childhood that my brother and I should not have technology until it was absolutely necessary. So, upon my first day of 9th grade, I stumbled through high school trying to navigate the new halls, while also trying to learn how to work my new phone. A lot has changed since then. For instance, having a Motorola Razr or any flip phone does not make you a cool kid (I’m looking at you, Apple), tablets are now more common than laptops, and everyone on at least one social media platform. Everyone is so busy trying to plug-in, we forget what we were originally trying to connect to, and end up being plugged into a world that is not really…well…real.
I stopped participating in this world around this time last year when a harsh break up flipped my world upside down. After thorough combing through my Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and photo library to delete all traces of this relationship, I realized how much of my life I was putting out online for everyone to see. I went on a digital cleanse for a month. The first week dragged by and was more difficult that I initially anticipated. What was I supposed to do while waiting on-line at Starbucks if I did not have an Instagram feed to scroll through? How was I supposed to say how I felt in 140 characters or less, to people who probably could not care less? As time went on it got easier, and by the end of the month, I realized I did not miss it as much as I thought I did.
As of this day I do have social media on my phone, however I have become more aware of what I put out there for everyone to see, and how much I am using it. I am the first to put my phone away at any social setting, and encourage my friends to do the same. We got together in person to be with each other in the moment. You were definitely still in attendance of your favorite band’s concert even if you do not post their entire set on Snapchat. Your food will still be delicious and artsy looking if you do not post it on Instagram right this second.
While technology is beneficial in a lot of ways, like anything in life it is best when the use of it is balanced. Staying connected with each other is a huge thing for this generation, but it is equally important to be able to connect in person with one another. Your social skills should not slump to the side, just so you can be proficient in social media. It’s also important that you take the time to unplug and be within your own thoughts. After all, your mind was with you before technology became your plus 1; you should treat it that way.