I really have a love and hate relationship with social media. I used to love seeing constant memes or sports highlights. Nowadays, it’s just boring. I haven’t used SnapChat since 2018 and I lost my Facebook to a hacker. Ironically, I just made a Twitter account, but only to do research for my case study/executive memo for Peloton x Nintendo. The only social media I use now is Instagram (I use LinkedIn as well, but only for business purposes). But, there are times where I can’t stand it. I think it’s because you usually only see the good moments. For me, I think of it as people, usually my friends and family, advancing and enjoying life, while I’m stuck and haven’t felt like I had a “good moment” in so long. So, I came up with a “detox.” About every few months, I deactivate my account and stay away from it for at least a week. I’m actually on one right now and it is always weird at first. I constantly check my phone just to see nothing. After a few days, it feels as if I have so much time on my hands. All I can say is that sometimes “ignorance is bliss” and that detox truly feels like a pressure left my shoulders. With the news about Facebook’s whistleblower exposing the company, I decided to search if any social media entities released any announcements to battle mental health.
First up, Pinterest. The company set forth its new project, called Pinterest Havens: Invest in Rest. Set to launch on October 10th, which is also World Mental Health Day, Pinterest’s Haven is a conglomerate of posts that all revolve around resetting the mind and resting created by artists all around the world. The company has seen a rise in searches that encompass mental health, such as “Sunday reset routine” and “de-stressing tips,” which has gone up 7 times and 12 times more, respectively, in 2021.
Next, ironically, is Facebook. Just like Pinterest, Facebook is setting to release a set of tools revolving around guiding and raising awareness of mental health on October 10th. It’s partnering with UNICEF to create a “Global Mental Health Chatbot” on its WhatsApp entity. The bot is said to help with breaking down mental health by explaining stigmas and talking to someone about your concerns. Facebook is also partnering with the WHO to create stickers on Messenger. These stickers revolve around encouragement and communicating mental health, with examples like “You’re doing great” and “It’s okay to cry” being the few. The following day, October 11th, the company will release a new set of episodes of Peace of Mind with Taraji on Facebook Watch. The series, hosted by actress Taraji P. Henson, is a show where Taraji talks with celebrities, experts and the everyday person about mental health in the Black Community. Facebook has many more projects about mental health, including its Goliath program, a VR experience via Oculus Rift that gives users an up close look of schizophrenia.
At the end of the day, social media is great. Can you even imagine how you would describe social media to someone who lived a hundred years ago? It’d be magic to them. But, there needs to be a moderation; you can’t use it too much. I appreciate social media companies trying to tackle mental health, expect Facebook. It’s a start, but it might take a long time before we see some changes. I honestly think the U.S. should restrict the usage of social media, similar to how China restricted children to play only 3 hours of video games a week. I get that it can be considered un-American, but shouldn’t we care about our kids’ mental health and future over money? You never what someone is really dealing with, and everyone needs a way to cope with stress. For me, its the gym. I don’t care about being the strongest or fastest; it’s just a way to clear my mind. I recently had surgery on my knee and haven’t been able to workout as often as I want. My alternative way of mentally rebooting? Watching videos of history. I spend hours a day watching videos about battles and historical figures from the past. It’s amazing how much this world has changed. It makes me both optimistic and pessimistic about the future, but hopefully, one day, we can laugh about this time and talk about crazy it was.