How Social Media (SM) Affects Our Lives

Social media (SM) has experienced mega growth within the past five years. When it began, most people thought it was a joke. But we got carried away by its many offers that we quickly became slaves to the various platforms.

Nowadays, most people cannot do without chatting, selling stuff, uploading pictures, reading news, and engaging in other activities on social media. It has become a habit of which we are prepared to quit.

Aside from this, business brands are now leveraging on the power of SM to foster brand growth and boost revenue. This brings us to the issue of how social media affects us. Its effect has already eaten deep into our social life, and this calls for an evaluation.

Addiction to social media is real, and it can only get worse. We already used to the likes and impressions we derive from using such platforms as though they are of great value in real life.

In this article, we are going to evaluate the impact of Social Media (SM) on our lives generally. Has it affected us for good or bad? What is the future of SM with regards to its usage?

Note that there is nothing wrong with any social media platform.

So How Does Media Influence Us?

One thing is certain – if it has any negative impact, it arose from the way we use it and allowing it to play a significant role in our lives.

For instance, we all know at least one person that is always hunting for likes and approval from others on Facebook by posting several pictures of himself each day. This is not the best way to use the platform because it will eventually ignite the feeling of fear, jealousy, and the need to gain approval. We are going to focus on the positive and negative effects and how social media affects society as a whole.

How SM Affects Us Negatively

 

  1. Addiction

People are increasingly addicted to their phones. When you go out on the streets, it’s easy to see the eyes of many people glued to their phone screen. Aside from playing video games and watching movies, there is a social media addiction disorder and it’s going on a rampage. Sadly, experts have confirmed that it’s real.

The best way to understand this is to see SM as consisting of several platforms that contain mood modifying experiences. There is this feeling of satisfaction and happiness that overwhelms us when we see several notifications of positive comments and likes on our post. It makes us feel special and loved.

      2. Self-Worth

Social media serves as a medium that enables others to gain approval for their looks. It reinforces a “look thin” idea that is mostly propagated by ads, posts, and public figure on such platforms. As a result, a lot of selfieholics now link their self worth to their looks and often compare their pictures with others.

Not everyone who uses SM is vulnerable to this effect. But users, especially students that use these platforms up to five hours a day, doing ridiculously important things are mostly affected.

Thanks to photo editing applications, those who link their self worth to Facebook or Instagram can leap for joy. This is because such tools allow them to alter their bodies and apply several filters on their pictures to remove anything they hate about themselves before uploading them for approval. And the reality is that they always get it, in fact, in a hundred folds. Does social media affect your self-worth?

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     3. You’ll think you are missing out.

One of the adverse effects of SM is the feeling of isolation that it yields. This can be seen from the behavior of teens and young adults as they read updates on their news feed. They think they’re missing out because their peers and classmates post vacation pictures and tell stories of how they traveled to the most beautiful places in the world. Right then, they began to think they are not equal to their friends, and they aren’t getting the best out of life.

Self-comparison  not a healthy habit. And many youths who engage in it have been reported to suffer eventually from psychological distress. This is because of the constant comparison and the feeling of depression that results when we think our friends are better than us.

    4. Loneliness

Have you ever felt lonely and sat on your bed, thinking that people are out there having the fun of their lives, getting married, and going on vacation? While you were there, just waiting for your phone to notify you of a new message. This is the result when you build your social life around these platforms.

But they were meant to help us connect with loved ones. Sadly, in reality, it separates us.

Another fact is that it’s easy to feel less important when such feeling surfaces. But in reality, nothing has changed, and our friends aren’t more important in the first place.

    5. Cyberbullying

The rise in the use of several online platforms resulted in increased cyberbullying as well. Nowadays, anyone can be a victim of bullying, and it’s fast becoming a global concern. The internet has made it possible for anyone to be humiliated in a matter of seconds.

A friend can post an unwanted picture of you. And before you could delete it, it’s already seen by the wrong eyes and you are made a laughing stock within a few hours. In a nutshell, all it takes is just a few clicks to bully anyone online.

Enough of the negative side of social media! Let’s see the bright side. How does social media influence us positively?

How SM Affects Us Positively

 

    1. Content discovery

With social media, it’s relatively easy to search for content and find information that relates to your work or assignment. Students find it more useful to do research and write effective essays. Its high level of autonomy gives room for creative thinking.

More so, it helps those searching for essay samples online as though they were searching for an archive. You can find any argumentative essay on social media that students can draw inspiration from when writing essays and doing other assignments.

But how can they find these examples and make the best of them? The first step is to filter through the irrelevant commentary and discover ideas, and people that can help you.

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    2. Creating awareness

Social media is now the primary weapon people use to show their disapproval of national policy and also draw the attention of the government to specific social issues. A recent development is a way it is now manipulated to become a voice to the voiceless as it is now a medium for creating awareness and discussing important updates.

    3. Mood elevation

Have you ever found yourself going back to a specific post or status update because you think it might make you feel good? Aside from the fact that social media is addictive, it makes us feel good too. Hence, many people find relief from using it daily because it serves as a useful mood elevator after a bad day. But, does it elevates the mood?

    4. Enhances communication

It’s no longer news that social media helps to connect people from different backgrounds and race and creates a long-lasting relationship out of nothing. Most times, you might become friends with someone with whom you share no common interest. And such bond may last for a lifetime. It strengthens a relationship and helps you stay connected with friends and loved ones no matter your location.

    5. Marketing tool

Here is one of the reasons why businesses are investing heavily in social media ads. This is because it has the power to drive massive traffic to their website or landing page and help them make a sale in the process. Marketing today has advanced from information broadcasting to engaging potential customers with real content, seeking feedback, and implementing the customers’ feedback into organizational policies. Therefore, it has become an indispensable tool for any brand that wants to build a robust online presence to enhance growth.

    6. Useful in cases of emergency

Facebook is an excellent place to announce any impending danger in our environment. And also warn the public of suspected bad weather, earthquake or tornado. This will help many people to perform safety measures to remain safe. The good news is that such updates can quickly travel fast on Facebook by merely posting it to your timeline.

Social media doesn’t change people. Instead, it reveals who they are. In the end, it will affect you. But only to the extent, you permit it. Our actions and expectations often dictate the degree of our vulnerability. By using social media the right way, you will experience more of its positive influence.

By now, you should know that there are two significant ways SM affects our lives. How often do you spend on these platforms each day? What is your purpose of using them? Answering these questions will help you determine whether or not social media has enslaved you.

 

Disclaimer: This blog post was sponsored by GM Media Group. 

 

Resources for Further Reading:

Bailey Parnell: Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? (Transcript)

Dr. Cal Newport: Quit Social Media at TEDxTysons (Full Transcript)

Tom Standage: Lessons from Ancient Social Media at TEDxOxbridge (Transcript)

Connected, but alone? By Sherry Turkle at TED (Transcript)

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