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Could you imagine life without social media?

Could you imagine life without social media?
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For six hours on Monday, October 4, 2021, many people’s lives changed dramatically. Everything from how they worked and socialised to how they found out about the latest news and entertained themselves was altered. That was all a result of a Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp outage. Facebook, which owns all three platforms, hadn’t experienced an outage of this magnitude since 2008.

In a post on the company’s blog, Facebook’s VP of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, explained that the cause of the outage was “configuration changes on the backbone routers.” And regardless of what that euphemistic explanation actually means in tech terms, for millions of people around the world, it meant six hours of experiencing life in a different way – namely, without some of the most popular social media platforms. (Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat remained up and running during this time.)

Sure, it was only six hours, but in that time, people got a small taste of what life would be like without access to social media. Turns out, it’s a mixed bag. “Social media, like so many things, has its advantages and disadvantages,” associate professor of clinical professor, Dr Kate Jansen, tells Reader’s Digest. “Broadly speaking, frequent social media use has been associated with decreased self-esteem and increased rates of depression. The constant comparison to the idealised versions of others’ lives can cause decreased satisfaction with the reality of our life.”

But, Jansen says, it’s not all negative. “Social media also has considerable benefits, like improved social support and community building that may not otherwise be possible for individuals,” she explains. Here’s a look at 15 things that could happen if social media disappeared – the good, the bad, and the increased privacy.

It would be much harder to find our people

It would be much harder to find our people
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Social media allows people to connect with peers and members of different social groups that they otherwise may not have had the chance to meet in real life – whether it’s others with the same rare illness, a niche fandom, or individuals who support the same social justice cause or movement.

“This connection often has benefits to the individual, particularly when they are able to connect with and gain support from a social group that would not otherwise be available to them,” Jansen explains. “For example, individuals with mental health concerns can reach out to others with the same condition for support, or young adults may find connection with others who have the same gender identity or sexual orientation who might not otherwise be in their immediate community.”

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We wouldn’t compare ourselves to others as much

We wouldn’t compare ourselves to others as much
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One of the side effects of seeing what everyone we know is up to at all times, at every stage of their existence, is that it’s difficult not to hold their perceived successes up against our own and find that we’re falling short. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t great for our mental wellbeing, and an increase in self-esteem is one of the things that can happen when you quit social media.

“Social media use in general has been associated with body dissatisfaction, in part because users consistently compare themselves to the perfectly positioned and sometimes edited images they see on others’ accounts,” Jansen says. “Overt or covert pro – eating disorder groups, sometimes under tags like #thinspo or #fitspo, can reinforce disordered eating habits or provide harmful advice and information.”

Is your Facebook obsession feeding a personality disorder? Find out here.

We’d be better (and safer) drivers

We’d be better (and safer) drivers
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First things first: there are so many things to pay attention to when you’re behind the wheel, and social media isn’t one of them. Checking Facebook, scrolling through Instagram, posting on TikTok, or liking a tweet are all examples of things that too many people are doing in their car when they really shouldn’t.

According to a 2021 Australian survey by Budget Direct insurance, 16.4 per cent of drivers felt confident to use their phones while driving.

Check out these small habits that reveal a lot about your personality.

We’d have to find dates the old-fashioned way

We’d have to find dates the old-fashioned way
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Approximately 35 per cent of Australians say that they have, at some point, used dating apps like Tinder to meet potential romantic partners, according to YouGov Australia. How does that work out for them? An ABC survey found that one third of people met their partner on line.

Don’t miss these dating deal breakers all women have – and men should definitely be aware of.

We’d have a harder time advocating for our rights

We’d have a harder time advocating for our rights
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Social media gave everyone a voice, and all of those voices can bring about some pretty big changes. “When used effectively, social media aligns well with the principles of community psychology by enabling individuals to participate in dialogue about social issues, collaborate on change efforts, and establish a sense of community,” Jacob W. Lane wrote in a 2019 report for Naylor Association Solutions. “These tools can enhance supporters’ advocacy engagement and can help sustain efforts in the midst of inevitable challenges.”

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Kids would learn differently

Kids would learn differently
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While social media is often blamed for students not paying attention in school, there is also evidence that it enhances their learning experiences. In fact, social media is one of the things your kids will learn in school that will come in handy as they grow up. For example, a 2020 study published in the journal Smart Learning Environments found that when social media was used for collaborative learning, it had a significant positive impact on how students interact with peers and teachers and, in turn, on their academic performance. “Use of online social media for collaborative learning facilitates students to be more creative, dynamic, and research-oriented,” the authors of the study wrote. “It is purely a domain of knowledge.”

Check out the things your child’s teacher wants you to know.

Potential employers would have a harder time finding us

Potential employers would have a harder time finding us
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Like it or not, social media has become a way for headhunters and HR departments to find potential employees. In fact, according to a 2021 survey conducted by the Job Description Library, 91 per cent of companies use social media as part of their hiring process. Not only that, but 45 per cent of recruiters surveyed indicated that they post content on social media as a way to engage with candidates. And while this may make the hassle of finding a new job a little easier, social media also plays a role in the hiring process: 21 per cent of recruiters surveyed said that they’ve rejected a candidate after looking them up on Facebook.

We wouldn’t be as overexposed

We wouldn’t be as overexposed
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We’ve all heard the horror stories abound about celebrities, “normal” people and brands using various platforms to promote their products and themselves – and having the whole situation backfire. Doxxing is arguably the very worst of the worst, and public shaming is a close runner-up. Other than that, in 2018, Entrepreneur reported that the effects of bombarding people on social media with the you-ness of you range from annoying to just plain boring to disruptive – resulting, in some cases, with a person or brand being blocked from a person’s feed.

Plus, the article points out, if we share every detail about our lives with our followers, eventually all the mystery is gone, and people are no longer interested in seeing what you have to say or what you had for breakfast that day.

Read on for the things to never post about your relationship on social media.

Our homes would look different

Our homes would look different
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Like clothing, home design trends go in and out of style over time. And not only that, but we know that our home décor can reveal things about our personality, so it’s something we put some thought into. In the days before social media, people would learn about the latest in interior decor by flipping through the most recent editions of their favourite catalogues or visiting the furniture displays in their local department stores. But now, that’s what Instagram is for. According to designer, Vicky McClymont, our design choices are now heavily influenced by what she calls the “Insta-interior.” In other words, people see different types of furniture, wallpaper, art and design aesthetics on social media and use that as inspiration for decorating their own homes.

Check out these tiny changes that will make your home instantly happier.

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