Social Media in the UK

As of this weekend, I have been studying aboard in London for almost three weeks! It’s been one of the best three weeks of my life and I’m sad that I’ll be leaving soon. During this trip, I believe my social media usage has decreased a little. I haven’t spent that much time on my phone because I’ve been busy wandering the streets of London and taking in the culture to the point that I forget to check my phone. Yet, some days I get stressed checking my social media pages because I feel like I have “fallen behind” with everything going on at home. Then, I remember that I’m the one aboard in London, not everyone else, therefore I should live in the moment and not worry about what’s going on back in Chicago.
Throughout this trip, I  have mostly been using Twitter and Facebook, unlike my usual two apps: Snapchat and Instagram. The reason behind this might be that I go on these apps when I want to read or watch something funny and destress, whereas with Instagram and Snapchat I’m get so worried about which of my friends saw my post and who liked it.
When I’m home, I am definitely addicted to social media. It’s basically a full-time job, especially since I run three other social media accounts for my father’s business, my aunt’s business and my sorority. Some days I’m on my phone for hours just trying to manage and update everyone’s page. I do experience social media fatigue because I get overwhelmed trying to keep up everyone’s image, including mine. So I love days where I can  “fall off the face of the earth” and not update anyone on social media.
At the beginning of my adventure here, I experienced a lot of social media fatigue because I found that it was so hard to keep everyone updated so that they could see how much fun I’m having here. It got to the point that I would stay up until midnight or 1 A.M. just to post a picture on Instagram because I knew that was “prime time” back home. Now I have reached a point on my trip where I’m not posting that much and don’t even dare watch people’s My Stories, it’s too much work and I don’t even care anymore. Yet, I think this little episode or vacation won’t last long because once I’m back home surrounded by people doing the exact same thing, I’ll fall back into my “routine”.
After being in London for a few weeks, I have noticed that most people aren’t using social media that much. What I found interesting was while I’m on the tube, I see people reading books or listening to music, instead of checking Snapchat like someone would do if we were back in the States. I also think people in the UK have one or two main social media accounts, not multiple. Something that I found interesting in class was that the main apps people use here are Facebook and WhatsUp, which is completely different to what we use back home.
Yesterday at the conference, we talked about how social media can help fight terrorism and stop younger generations from getting involved. One thing that I understood from the discussions is that social media isn’t going away and it is going to stay apart of our everyday life whether we want it to or not. It’s important to use social media to our advantage when it comes to horrible things like terrorist attacks, because it might save lives.
Overall, social media for many has become a lifestyle and a part of our routine. It can be seen as a negative or a positive but overall, I think it’s something that is here to stay.

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