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Students say social media is easy way to communicate but pressures them to show ‘a perfect Hawaiian life’

Illustration with Facebook logos, Like buttons, and an angel and devil pointing at each other with Facebook logo faces.

According to BYU–Hawaii students, social media provides a way to communicate with family and friends and allows users to be themselves and share creativity. Students also shared social media influences them to compare themselves to what other students are doing on the island, which makes them feel like they are not good enough.

“I enjoy, I’ll use it, but I’m constantly readjusting and reevaluating its consumption and its effect in my life,” said Jorden Osborn, a junior from Utah majoring in business.

Osborn shared an experience from when he was a new student using social media at BYUH. “My first semester here it would always rain. I would stay in and be mopey. Then, I would get on Instagram and see my friends at the beach on the West Side, and it’s a beautiful sunny day over there.”

He said he feels there is this pressure at BYUH to make it appear that you are “living this amazing Hawaii life, perfectly tan [with the assumption] you are living at the beach.”

Ariana Guido, a junior from California majoring in communications, said you have to realize that social media is not someone’s entire life.

“You just see all these high energy activities all in a row. You don’t see the hours in between,” she said. Guido also commented about finding a balance between being yourself and posting engaging content.

“There’s a fine line between keeping followers and realizing your social media accounts are you, and you need to be authentic and healthy with what you put out.”

Guido said you have to choose to be positively impacted by social media. “It’s a choice for it to uplift you, you have to look for things that are uplifting to you.”

She said she follows Church Newsroom and accounts that post pictures of dogs to make social media a good influence instead of something that tears her down.

Michelle Bacera, a junior from California majoring in graphic design, said she uses social media as a creative outlet. “As an art student, I think it’s a great way for people to share ideas and their own artwork and in turn, it inspires me to create.”

All students interviewed said social media helps them stay in touch with their friends and family, some of which are thousands of miles away. Bacera said she is not good at direct forms of communication and social media helps her to keep in contact with people easily.

When asked why she uses social media, Guido said, “It gives you the ability to express yourself.” Guido said she uses social media as an outlet for photography and music.