Can’t Live With It, But Definitely Not Without It: Why Social Media Is Like That One Toxic Ex You Can’t Forget

Before I start off this blog post, allow me to apologize for the extraordinarily long title. However, I simply couldn’t come up with a better comparison. Imagine being an alien and looking at our society from a non-Earthling’s perspective. Wouldn’t you see social media as a plague on our society?

As an example, take this excerpt from an article by The Guardian:

The BBC reported that Sammie-Jo Forde, 32, died in the Ulster hospital on Saturday, where she had been treated on the same ward as her mother, Heather Maddern, 55, who died on 31 August. Maddern had shared a number of Covid conspiracy theories before her death, MailOnline reported, as well as a post about nurses facing dismissal if they refused the jab. She also shared videos from Candace Owens, a conservative commentator and activist from the US, on how to respond if your employer forces you to be vaccinated, and another from a woman arguing against children being jabbed.

Would this woman still be alive if she hadn’t found a platform that hosted a group of people sharing her beliefs?

From the rampant, uncontrollable spread of potentially lethal misinformation to the countless hours people waste on these websites, apps, and platforms when they could be doing something productive: at a a quick glance, it seems like a curse. However, as a teenager who grew up during the rise of social media and got to experience it in all its glory at the ripe old age of 4 – when I booted up a computer for the first time to watch children’s songs on YouTube and was immediately traumatized by a horribly gory cartoon named Happy Tree Friends – allow me to explain why, in my personal experience, social media isn’t all bad.

I am a musician in my spare time. To be more precise, a music producer and a rapper. I’ve spent many hours meticulously dragging together audio samples, editing, arranging and customizing them to my liking. And I’m not the only one. In fact, so many people across the world create music digitally from their own house that we have our own label: bedroom producers. Twenty years ago, this would have been unheard of. Where would one acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to create full-length tracks, all from the comfort of their desk at home? Nowadays, the answer is simple: social media.

The wealth of knowledge that has been made available to me and others who share my interests is mind-numbingly awesome. Industry big-shots who have most likely worked with your favorite artist (or, even better, are your favorite artist) are livestreaming their creative process on platforms such as Twitch. Professional audio engineers create simple, easy-to-follow tutorials on mixing or equipment and post them to YouTube or Instagram. There are an infinite number of forums online where aspiring producers can ask any question they might have. On top of this, new artists can ‘blow up’ and gain fame literally overnight simply because their unknown song is discovered on TikTok.

The existence of social media has opened up many career possibilities that were once limited to those fortunate enough to, for example, be able to afford studio sessions or successfully convince their parents to let them into music school. Even though it brings many issues with it, social media has many more pros than cons, especially for someone like me who’s trying to pursue a career they otherwise would never have access to. That’s why I love my media.

So, even though all your friends tell you not to, maybe you should call that one ex up and tell them you miss them.

Kamran Gasimov


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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