- Saying Good-bye to Social Media
My day used to revolve around social media posts for Virtuous Prom: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even our recently deceased friend, Google +. Initially, social media marketing (or SMM for short), seemed like a great way to reach our customers – and, in theory, it is. There are just two pesky problems: well-founded privacy concerns and the increasingly well documented and accepted deleterious effects social media use can have on our mental health.
Social Media & Your Privacy
Our concerns over privacy began, of course, with Facebook’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the sensitive data of of 50 million people misused. Yikes. At this point, I began to curtail my personal use of Facebook. As I did so, I wondered about the many young women we worked with. If my privacy was a risk, so was theirs.
In response to concern over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, not to mention the ongoing privacy concerns Facebook has failed to address, we at Virtuous Prom have largely stopped using Facebook as well as Instagram and Tumblr, which they own. Sure, we still post from time to time, but for the forseeable future we’re keeping social media at arm’s length and, in the meantime, we’re tightening up our privacy settings as much as possible – something we very much encourage you to do as well.
Social Media & Mental Health
The other half of the equation we’ve been troubled by is how our mental health is affected by social media, especially for our teen customers. Apart from our concerns regarding the link between depression and social media use and the more well established relationship between anxiety and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, there are some pretty obvious red flags.
For example, Instagram recently announced they were tightening down on hashtags that could promote disordered eating such as anorexia and bulimia. Great, you might think – they’ve admitted there’s a problem and they’re working to resolve it. In reality, however, it still only takes seconds to find very graphic, triggering images portraying the effects of these diseases. It’s not just us that are concerned – the mental health community is as well.
So, until these issues, among others, are addressed, we as a company no longer feel comfortable using social media extensively. We’ll still be around and post from time to time, but until social media takes greater strides to protect your privacy and until we as a society know how to better protect younger minds, social media just isn’t something we feel comfortable endorsing.