The Impact of Social Media on Our Behaviour
Although it may be hard to believe, a little over a decade ago, social media websites were actually incredibly rare. Nowadays social media is a prevalent part of modern society and like it or not, that doesn’t look set to change anytime soon. Nowadays social media is a great deal more business-orientated, whereas in the early days it was all about being, well, sociable. Social media is also a very polarizing subject to discuss, as people generally either seem to love it or loathe it.
There doesn’t seem to be any real middle-ground. Because social media is now such a common part of everyday life, it has been proven that social media can actually influence our thoughts, our personalities, and our behaviour. For today’s article, we are going to be looking at the impact of social media on our behaviour, as we look at how it may be influencing how we and others, behave, think, and feel.
Social media can be addictive
Some things in life: caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate etc, are fairly addictive, especially for some people. Another very addictive invention however, is none other than social media. Social media is actually very addictive, and as a result it can cause people to adopt much more of an addictive personality with regular use. Each day, the average number of minutes spent on social media are around 135-minutes each day. For many people however, that number is even higher. In the US, 63% of the population logs on daily, with around 40% of these users logging on multiple times throughout the course of the day.
While some use the site for business purposes, generally it is utilized purely as a way of alleviating boredom and passing the time. More worrying still is the fact that some people can use comments and ‘likes’ as a form of positive reinforcement for the content that they post, meaning that they may find it difficult to stop posting. Some people even experience a form of withdrawal if they are unable to access social media for any particular reason.
Social media can trigger feelings of jealousy
While jealousy is a feeling rather than a behaviour, feelings of jealousy and resentment can sometimes trigger people to act on these negative emotions. Jealous and resentful behaviour can come in a variety of ways. Sometimes people will simply others, while in other cases they may make snide comments, or passive/aggressive comments, because they’re so jealous of the individual in question. Why are they jealous? Because they may compare their own lives to those of others. We should never measure our levels of success or happiness against those of others, because there are always people that, on paper, are better off than us. At the same time, there are people in far worse situations than us as well.
Social media gives us a warped view of the world
In business, there’s a saying that goes something along the lines of ‘perception is reality’. This basically means that, how you portray yourself/your business/your life, will influence how others view you. Because of this, social media can give people a very warped view of the world. The reason for this is that social media allows people to filter the info and images that they post. More often than not, people will only focus on the good, and will therefore omit the bad. If you go by some people’s social media profiles, you’d get the impression that they were happy and content in life, when in reality, the truth could be the exact opposite.
Viewing such an influx of seemingly positive content, highly people successes and hiding their weaknesses can give people a warped view of the world. In the world of social media, the vast majority of people out there are happy, successful, and have seemingly perfect lives. The reality however, is sometimes the exact polar opposite. It is okay to fail, it’s okay to admit our flaws and imperfections, yet social media generally contradicts this info and tells us the exact opposite.
Social media can result in body dysmorphia and eating disorders
This next example of how social media can affect and influence our behaviour is especially true of the younger generation. On social media, especially the sites which are more image-orientated, it seems as if 90% of posters on there are in amazing shape, are immaculately dressed, are as happy as can be, and are practically-perfect. For a young teenager, dealing with changes in their body and influxes of hormones, seeing these seemingly-perfect fitness models plastered everywhere may sometimes make them feel inferior. Many eating habits, and body dysmorphia issues are thought to stem from social media. In terms of behaviour, this can cause people to develop eating disorders, to spend money they don’t have on designer clothes and makeup, and to exercise excessively, to the point of passing out, or worse, just to try to fit in w
I suggest you are missing a key point about social media; namely that it is in fact antisocial media. It prevents (replaces?) social interaction between people, by isolating them from discussions and arguments. Instead of learning how to hold opposing or differing views, and how to debate, it becomes a replacement for adult conversation. My own belief is that communication is not me telling you what I think, it is me ensuring you understand what I mean. That requires presence, not words on a screen. Where is the body language, tone of voice, emphasis, vocabulary, speed of speech, intonation, facial expression ? Social media has resulted in the inability of the latest generation to understand how to listen for comprehension rather than listening to reply. There is no give-and-take, no questioning of motive, or underlying story behind a persons stated words. We are in fact screaming at each other, demanding to be heard, but not having a conversation. It is polarizing and isolating. It is a great tool for manipulation however, and very effective because no one stops to think about the effects of their words, implied meanings, or possible misinterpretations. Nowhere does social media allow its participants to hear passion, or realize the dexterity of thinking behind the words being spoken. It is exceedingly rare to reach that adult point of view (Let’s agree to disagree”). Instead it takes human interaction and reduces it to a single dimension. It also feeds ego, because I cannot imagine anyone anywhere for any reason wanting or caring to see my pic of the meal set in front of me at a restaurant. If you need any proof of my contentions here, take a trip to Disney World; there you will see thousands of people, who paid big bucks to be there, completely ignoring everything that Disney has created in order to text their friends, take pictures that have no importance or context, and spend their days staring intently at their phones. OUr lives have become vapid, and we continually seek endorphins in social media, because we have fewer and fewer connections with the reality that surrounds us.
Totally agree with you. There is one popular social media named Wechat in China and almost everybody uses it. At the begging, every one liked to share pictures or words in their moments but nowadays I think some people like me are trying to stop using moments or rarely post something on it. It supposed to make friends closer but sometimes it pushes people further apart because it helps growth of jealousy,comparison,laziness and unrealistic ideas. For girls, they want to be thought “pretty,thin,rich or cute,and travelling around all the time” ,and for men, they want to be labeled “handsome,succesful,rich,and gentle”. Maybe they are ,maybe they are not and they dont care…
More are active in social media than spending times with their loved ones. This is a great reminder for readers to understand the impacts it is causing for everybody. Great post! 🙂