There’s (not) an app for that


By Sophie McManus

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are experiencing a reported drop in their usership.

Even though they’ve played a vital part in keeping us connected during the Covid-19 pandemic, millennials are rejecting the platforms in search of genuine connections.

Joshua Wigginton, 23, says he deleted the platform because the pandemic highlighted how much of his life was controlled by these platforms.

“Working from home possibly contributed to it a lot, I just found myself scrolling through Instagram and Facebook and social media apps in general,” he says.

Mr Wigginton says he became increasingly aware of the effects of social media.

“Back in the sixties and seventies it was television, but the difference for me is this is the first time we’re the product, our attention is the product.

“This is the first time where it’s the whole purpose,” he says.

Many young people who have been starved of human connection throughout the pandemic are denouncing their social media platforms in favour of real human connection

Many young people who have been starved of human connection throughout the pandemic are denouncing their social media platforms in favour of real human connection. Credit: Pexels CC-BY

However, social media professionals seem to have known this for years.

Trish Munn, from Eyes Open Social Media, says she is happy people are realising the detrimental effects of these platforms.

“It’s excellent, I’m actually a big fan of a movement that gets kids or young people really thinking about how they use social media.

“The disconnection that it is causing in society, there is a very obvious and recorded increase in depression, anxiety, body image issues, suicide ideation, the list is quite endless,” she says.

However, many people argue that eradicating social media from our lives is unrealistic, and potentially harmful in an era when where it is a primary form of communication.

James Cook University Social Media Marketer, Jennifer Webster says social media still has a big part to play in our future.

“Whether we like it or not, these platforms will continue to be the primary way we communicate with each other.

“It can be a source for good, a source for change, we as a society just need to learn how to harness it in a healthy way,” she says.

But one thing does seem certain, in either case – the absence of human connection truly does seem to make the heart grow fonder.