Updated: Apr 12, 2019
This article is to highlight the over usage of social media and why a platform like Cruthaigh could be beneficial for the town.
People need to feel comfortable in their hometown. We went and asked people of all ages from Thurles what do you least like about the town, and many gave a similar and specific answer. That there was a “weird tension” in the town. This is 100% correct and we know why. All though there are many factors to consider, the core cause (in most cases) for this tension is anxiety. After asking many of these individuals would they feel the same discomfort in another town they said no. The majority of these answers were giving by a younger demographic and because of this the root cause for this feeling of discomfort is over usage of Social Media.
Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety. In fact, testing has found that using too much internet can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness. It is more than just the pressure of sharing things with others, it is also about how you may be comparing your life with others you see on Facebook. Many people see that someone on Facebook who has a great job, excellent husband, and beautiful home and they feel happy for them. But, others can feel jealous, depressed, or may even feel suicidal about their own life if it is not as “perfect” as those they see on Facebook. Taking this into account it is easy to figure out why people who spend 5 hours a day on social media may feel discomfort in their home town and not in another town. The average amount of “friends” people have on Facebook is 400 and well according to a new study helmed by anthropologist Professor Robin Dunbar, it's only possible for our brains to handle 150 close relationships both in real life or on social media. We asked people from Thurles is this true and all said yes and that most people they are friends with are people they might only pass by or know of. We think all this fake connection and over usage of Social Media is the cause of all this tension and anxiety in the town. People who see posts from someone on a daily basis build up a fake perception of that person and have a false narrative when they pass them on the street. It is highly noticeable that younger people these days are less likely to say hello as you pass them on the street and have said that they feel anxious even passing people they know and feel safe around.
So all this mainly comes from over usage of social media, then how can Cruthaigh help? Well we want to get people outside of their comfort zone in a positive way and provide a wholesome platform and service for people to spend less time on social media. By having a Cruthaigh building and a place for people to feel safe and comfortable without using their devices or by hosting events that encourage people to engage in the activities taken place and look away from their screens. We need a platform like Cruthaigh to connect people in the real world to break down all the false perceptions people have created of each other based off of social media. Hosting workshops, events, gatherings and meet-ups based on a specific interest will help people make so many positive relationships locally. Such as making friends who enjoy similar artwork, finding a business partner who has a like minded vision or even forming a new band. Healthy and positive relationships such as these formed within the community of Thurles will resonate in all areas of a healthy community, it starts by benefiting each individual helping them grow personally which in turn can only make Thurles feel more like a home.
All though social media has positive benefits such as been able to access worldwide opinions and knowledge it is been used incorrectly by been used as a social platform to build up false perceptions of people. There is a lack of true connection all over the world right now and there are countless of negative knock on effects due to this. We need to reconnect and we can, by starting on a local level. Thurles could be the leading and inspiring town model for Ireland on how a healthy community looks and acts. This benefits everyone in the town and brings a new fresh wholesome life to the town.
Lets encourage people to engage with their community more because nobody should feel uncomfortable in their hometown, a town isn’t just a place where your home is a town is your HOME.