How often are you waiting behind someone in a line and notice them staring at their phone? We have all been there, and we have all been the person staring at their phone. What effects has social media had on us all? Are we being brainwashed by false statistics to support certain agendas? Why have we become dependent on what we read on our news feeds?
Major Media Doom and Gloom
Typically, most news media is negative. Why is that? We respond to negativity. Negative stories provide controversy and promote heated discussions. Shootings, gun control. Student loans, capitalism. ISIS, foreign policy. Stabbings, mental health. The media is causing more discussions between us and they have us hooked. How often do you see a good news article, let alone have a heated discussion about it? No one dwells on good news. Sure, we may use good news to help our side of the argument, but that argument is usually prompted by a negative news story.
We are fueling the fire of the "doom and gloom" news stories. Media also loves red herrings (distractions from the actual problem), which causes people to begin believing an effect of an issue oppose to a cause. We are programmed to feel and believe what the media wants us to believe. Media makes people hate CEOs because of their large paychecks, and they "control our countries finances." Let me ask you something: how many people do CEOs employ? Sure, they get paid too much money, but think about how many people are also benefiting from their success? We never hear that from the media. Take a look at a professional male athlete. They bring in a ton of money every year to play a sport and entertain us. How many people do they employ? How many lives are benefiting from their success? Now take a look at insurance companies. How much money do they suck out of all of us, only to reject our claim when we want some of our money back?
Social Media is Killing True Statistics
I love seeing the bogus statistics all over the internet and my news feeds. "37 percent of deaths in the US are caused by ISIS" or "85,000 children die each year from guns," "25,000 people are killed each year by sharks," or my favorite "There are 0 jobs available." People, please do research and do not stop at the first statistic that sounds good. As a statistician, it pains me to see some of the bogus numbers media seems to generate or manipulate. Do yourselves a favor and put the raw data into excel, and generate the real statistics. I promise, life is not as bad as media portrays.
Job and College Screening
Social media is used for job or college screenings whether you like it or not. Having your profile simply private will not cut it. Your profile could either help your case, or really harm it. We are exposing ourselves online for our social life, but it will also affect our work life. Be sure to use caution when posting with emotions. We all see it, and whether or not you like it, someone is judging you for it. Jobs and schools look at your tendencies to see who you really are, and if you're a good fit for them. Think about that next time you post your hate blog for your ex-bae's new boo.
This has got to be the biggest issue that comes up when addressing social media. How easy is it to talk crap about someone when you don't have to look them in the eye? So many times I see people posting about other people like they are due to get the crap kicked out of them. Luckily, more and more laws and punishments are surfacing for the cyberbullying. I would love to see these girls (females are more prone to cyberbullying) actually say these things to their victim without flinching.
Social media is a vessel for cowardly bullying and helps spread the hate faster. Whether it's a hate group or just a school girl wanting all the girls to hate the girl that is prettier than her, the possibilities for online bullying are near endless. There are many variables in this topic, and of course a huge one is people are very sensitive nowadays. We can and should try to prevent cyberbullying, but we know it won't come to an end. We need to educate more kids about how to receive cyberbullying when it does rain down on their parade.