Real Talk: The Pros and Cons of Social Media

By May 11, 2016Think

College students around the world invest so much time in social media, both consuming multitudes of images from others as well as posting to different platforms themselves. When it comes to fitness, many look at this trend as either “good” or “bad.” The truth is, social media can both hurt and help a person’s fitness journey. Let me explain:

I like to end on a positive note, so I’ll start off with the negatives.

Cons

First, you have that whole idea of comparison.

social mediaIt might sound cheesy, but comparing your “chapter 1” to someone else’s “chapter 10” achievements makes achieving your own goals seem impossible. Taking it even further, a person might compare his/her own body to someone else’s photoshopped one. And trust me, a lot of those pictures on Instagram are photoshopped. Looking at bodies that appear to be more physically “fit” than your own can eventually add up and crush your sense of self-esteem, which is NOT good for your overall happiness! Having the “who cares about anyone else?!” attitude is much easier said than done.

Then, you have people falsely advertising products that promise quick “fitness” results on social media.

This confuses a lot of people who want to learn about fitness. They get bogged down by trying out products that don’t produce the promised effects. This ends up wasting a lot of time and money.

Last but not least, cyber bullying remains as a prominent issue.

I’ve seen it for myself: Instagram accounts created by people looking to find a fit lifestyle and met with other people leaving nasty comments on their posts. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but when this happens I get genuinely upset. I hate to think someone felt hurt that day for something as meaningless as a comment on an Instagram post.

Pros

But aside from the “bad” aspects, I like to think that the benefits social media offers when it comes to fitness completely outweigh all the negativity.

Social media can be a great place to learn.

It’s basically an unlimited resource for information. Social media has it all: from workout techniques, to dieting methods, to motivational information… Although some people do lie on social media to make money, there are plenty of honest people out there (who aren’t even necessarily all that famous) who know their stuff, and would love to help you with questions that you might have.

It’s an amazing place to connect with new people.

One of the best parts about social media is that the fitness community is alive and well! For those out there who aren’t surrounded by people with the same passion for fitness, staying motivated can become an even greater challenge. Plus, feeling lonely in college is really common. With social media, it’s a lot easier not to feel alone because there are so many people out there to offer help, kind words, and support.

social media

So, those are the pros and cons I see of the social media fitness world.

Before I go, I want to add that you should never take anything at face value. When you consume the images thrown out by social media, think about these pros and cons! Not everything you see posted is as real as it seems; but there are plenty of people out there who are real—they’re there to offer you valuable information and help you along your fitness journey.

Author Rebecca Paul

Becca Paul is a Freshman at The George Washington University in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. She has a passion for fitness and for helping others. She is currently studying to become an ACE certified personal trainer.

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