I recently reached out to those following The Intentionality Project on Instagram asking if anyone would like to volunteer to participate in an email interview to continue this segment on the topic of social media. I was blown away at the response. The next several entries are going to be interviews with people I have never met before, this is my interview Andi Schuster.
Name/Age: Andi Schuster, 23
How long have you been using social media?
"I have been on social media for 9-years."
How has social media benefitted you, and how has it negatively affected you?
"Social media has gone thru a lot of ups and downs in the amount of time I have been exposed to it. As far as the beneficial side for it, I have met multiple friends through Instagram. I finally met one of them this past year after four years of being 'online friends'. We ended up being super close. He brought his girlfriend here for a weekend away and now we're all counting down the days until we see each other next. My parents thought we were all crazy for being strangers, but what a generation change this is! As far as the negative side, it is so easy to feel left out nowadays because mostly everything is recorded on an Instagram story. It is also easy to know what your friends are doing before you see them later in the day. The conversations have turned into, 'I saw you were doing ____ today. How was that?'"
Have you experienced insecurity in your life? If so, in what ways? Has social media helped heal those insecurities, or has it enabled them?
"Yes. yes. yes. I am a stubborn individual too so it took me awhile to admit to this. Of course I feel left out when I see everyone having a good time and I wasn't invited or maybe couldn't have made it. But my identity is so beyond that. I am rooted in my Father and that is what matters. I've curved the insecurities by reminding myself just because I wasn't there or invited doesn't mean I am less of a person. I have enjoyed time with myself in reflecting on what matters and how that can make me a better person/friend."
Some studies have been released recently showing that depression and anxiety in teens has been linked to social media use. What is your perspective on why that might be the case?
"This is definitely a sensitive topic nowadays, but it needs to be addressed more. With social media being tremendously popular with this next generation the fear of missing out is an even bigger issue. They see what their friends are up to and that they are not invited. This causes a lot of insecurity and uncertainty. Unfortunately, teens aren't always nice to each other either. Social media is used as a bully weapon. Making fun of others, commenting hurtful things, etc. How can this be controlled? It's definitely a big issue."
What would life look like if social media didn't exist? How do you think people would react if it suddenly crashed and ceased to exist today?
"I think people would freak-out and wonder what the heck happened. They would find their selves swiping up to refresh with no answers. Although, I think after a couple days people would find their peace again. Think about when you go on vacation and you have no cell service. You have to admit that it is kind of nice not knowing what is happening."