Trivial Fixations Limit Social Media Potential

Layla Wright, Visual Media Editor

The extreme power of social media proved itself once again after a single picture of an egg broke the record of the most liked Instagram picture on January 4. With 43 million likes under the username @world_record_egg, this post has become a popular topic of discussion among students.

Hundreds of students have liked The Egg, contributing to the nearly 100,000 new likes I see on the post every time I refresh my feed. Social media can make even the most inane trends wildly popular, but I it might not always be a good thing.

As a member of Gen Z, I admit that social media plays a powerful role in my life. I use it to check in with friends or family, and it provides me with a platform for expressing my ideas.

While there are benefits to social media, pointless trends like The Egg also remind me of its absurdity.

Platforms like Twitter provide opportunities for self-expression, but this self-expression doesn’t always demonstrate personal growth. Tweets like, “Priorities this year: 1) Me 2) Egg,” do little to support the notion that social media offers students important formative experiences.

Instead of using its power to spread political and social ideas, my generation seems more interested in social media’s proclivity for celebrating trivialities.

There is also a growing body of evidence supporting the idea that social media is actually harmful to student social and emotional well being.

Studies by the Child Mind Institute suggest peer acceptance is a major priority for most teens, and with social media, much of this peer acceptance is measured in numbers of likes, comments, or followers. The institute’s experts “worry that social media and text messages that have become so integral to teenage life are promoting anxiety and lowering self-esteem.”

Social media effectively amplifies our insecurities when we depend on it for the basis of our self-worth.

This recent fixation with a picture of an egg does little to counter what parents and psychologists have been declaring for years: Social media can have a detrimental social influence.

Social media is a platform that can initiate positive change, but as of today, that potential seems far beyond the reach of most of its users.