Are We Letting Social Media Change Us?

With so many social media platforms now in existence, we are seeing behavioral changes among users and on what is acceptable with online interactions.

Sure we are being innovative with how we connect and socialize with one another online but is it having a change for the better?

Relationships

Social media has changed us in so many ways. Not only with how we spend our time but also how we feel about ourselves and one another.

Need for attention by having likes and comments can be quite addictive to some and cause friction between friends online. According to a Kaspersky Lab Study, 42% of social media users admit to feeling jealous when a friend's post received more attention than theirs.

The need for likes caused people to betray the relationships that they claim are valuable. Some will go as far as revealing personal information on others or embarrassing photos. According to another Kaspersky Lab Study, 58% acknowledged being upset or embarrassed because a friend posted a photo they did not want to be seen.

Since we lack the face-to-face interaction on social media, many mislead others whether it is a romantic or non-romantic relationship. Since some feel that they can hide behind a computer screen, they will share false information on their profile and be less genuine such as Catfishing.

Catfishing is the act of fooling another person into believing they are being pursued for friendship or romance by someone who doesn’t really exist. It’s often done to humiliate and embarrass the victim or as an act of revenge over some real or imagined slight.

-Jimmy Rohampton, Forbes

We see social media also have an impact on marriages. Many use it to keep track of their spouse and we see conflicts arise such as jealousy, infidelity, and distrust. In most of these social media platforms, they have a way to privately communicate with one another. Many will snoop on their partner's private messages thinking the other is pursuing extramarital relations. Perhaps some of you yourselves have gone through this experience or have seen others. Situations where a spouse will check to see if their partner is following or communicating with their ex.

Another way social media can have an impact on marriages can be that their spouse will spend too much time online and creates a lack of personal attention where serious arguments have broken out because of their partner's obsession with spending so much time on social media.

Peer Pressure

People tend to give in to peer pressure on social media as they do in real life. A study was done by HP Labs and online behavior researcher Bernardo Hubermam that showed how social media peer pressure had its effect.

Participants were asked to choose between 2 photos and whichever one was chosen, the other would be rigged with a Facebook-style like system and shown to be more popular. The participants were given the opportunity to change their minds and each time, the number of likes on each picture was changed along with waiting a different length of time before giving the participants their second chance.

Peer pressure swayed 22% of people but only if there was a long gap between the first and second chance. If they were allowed to change their mind immediately, only 14% of participants did so.

These experiments exposed participants making choices to different levels of confirmation and conformity pressures.

Our results show that people’s own choices are significantly swayed by the perceived opinions of others. The influence is weaker when people have just made their own choices. Additionally, we showed that people are most likely to reverse their choices when facing a moderate, as opposed to large, number of opposing opinions. And last but not least, the time people spend making the first decision significantly predicts whether they will reverse their own later on.

Mental Health

We see the potential negative effects that social media has on young kids and teens experiencing bullying and depression. It can also have negative effects on adults and are overall mental well-being.

There are times where an individual or couples feel envy when viewing their friend's social media page and seeing photos being shared of experiences in their lives and comparing it to their own. This is something I have experienced first hand in one of my relationships.

Social media can be addictive for an individual where they have it consume their life and neglect things while using it as a form of escape. Studies have shown people experience psychological symptoms of withdrawals when they stop using the Internet and social media. When it comes to the opposite, excessive use of social media can create greater feelings of social isolation.

The video below describes how social media is rewiring our brains. "It's a 2-way street. The brain created social media, and social media shapes the brain."

This next video also shows how social media is rewiring our brains in different ways.

Conclusion

Let's not let social media change us for the worse and work together for the better. There are many challenges when it comes to building a platform such as GOLOS and others. Acknowledging certain issues and having a discussion can lead to ideas and solutions that can make social media platforms more better and innovative.



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