Social media provides a fast mode of communication but can result in consequences

By Kelly Chian, ’16

Buried in their phones,  students are constantly waiting for the ding signalling another tweet or follower.

Social media can be used to express oneself with an increased speed, but the consequences are not usually considered.

Junior Patrick Toohey uses social media to express himself and to share his photography.

“I really love the communities that some social medias create,” Toohey said. “I’ve made  many friends from my account and I still talk to them every day.”

With 17,700 followers on Instagram, Toohey hopes to inspire others with his photography.

“If I could get anything from my account, it would be to inspire other photographers and share my ideas, because I guess that’s what art is really about,” Toohey said.

Although occasionally receiving hate, Toohey makes sure to keep his accounts positive. The growing fan base for his accounts motivates him to put more time into social media.

“I definitely take [social media] a little more seriously and put more work into it,” Toohey said. “But, I try to maintain the same level of personal connection with my followers as I always have because if they’re going to support me, then I feel obligated to thank them for it.”

Toohey believes his social media account portrays who he is.

“My social media actually shows more about my true thoughts and personality than real life does sometimes,” Toohey said.

Although there are benefits, Toohey believes social media is too negative.

“It’s just so negative nowadays, mostly on Twitter,” Toohey said. “People don’t understand that the ones they talk to on social media are real human beings and should be treated that way.”

Junior Kami Stoflinsky describes how social media can be harmful.

“I see a lot of bullying. Mainly it’s statements that are targeted at someone. People think that no one will see it,” Stoflinsky said. “[But] a follower is going to see it and share it.”

Counselor Mary Anne Nyeste explains how the quickness of social media is an issue.

“The major problem and benefit is that social media is very quick. Sometimes we don’t have time to think before sending something and certainly not the thought of what that has an effect or consequence on others,” Nyeste said. “The person who posts it may forget but the person who is hurt never forgets.”

Nearly every day someone goes to the counseling office for a problem dealing with social media, she explains.

“Hardly a day goes by where an issue with social media comes to the attention of the counseling center,” Nyeste said. “Especially when someone sends something hurtful to someone else. Even things that are taken from the system quickly, someone always sees it and reports it to the person it is about. It’s important that what’s out there is out there forever.”

Nyeste believes the negative comments made online can have a greater effect.

“Social media is not always accurate. When something bad is said, it makes you wonder if others think the same,” Nyeste said.

On social media, many use it to compare their lives with others.

“We want to be equal. We end up asking ourselves.‘Do I measure up? Do I have to say this?’”  Nyeste said.

Stoflinsky shares her photos, but contacts people directly if she has a problem with one of her.

“I compare myself to my friends in photos. I hate that I do this,” Stoflinsky said. “If there is a photo that I am not comfortable with I call or text my friends to take it down.”

Nyeste urges students to be cautious as anything put online is permanent.

“I hate for my own kids and school kids…,” Nyeste said, “…to be portrayed negatively for something they had no control over on social media.”