It's indeed a hard fact that we all use social media everyday, constantly. For many, checking the amount of likes you get, updating your status frequently and uploading photos to document almost every moment becomes an unbreakable habit. It's appropriate to say that we are officially addicted to social media and that it's altering the way we think and act. In fact, 63% of Americans get on Facebook everyday and 40% log into Facebook several times a day. Researchers have even developed a measure of the fixation called The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.
Therefore, psychologically, we are changing every now and then in some ways more than others, to a certain degree, in response to all the virtual interaction.
From research findings to sociological studies, here are some ways that social media can alter your train of thought(s):
According to a study from HP labs, people were more vulnerable to peer pressure. The individuals were more likely to like or dislike a certain thing after a certain amount of time had passed and they could see which things were more popular than others. In this way, people's sense of individuality diminishes. I'm not saying you can't speak for yourself or you can't make your own decisions, but rather that we shouldn't give in so easily and immediately to the opinions of others. People in this study were basing their preferences upon those of others.
We are more likely to compare ourselves to others. People post things on the digital platform in order to present a more idealized version of themselves and/or how things should be. In 2012, a British research team conducted a survey for social media users. From the outcomes, 53% of users claimed that social media had changed their behavior; 51% said they exhibited negative behavior because their confidence decreased when they felt there were unfair comparisons to others. It costs our self-esteem when we are scrutinized like that.
Another effect social media imposes on us is the fear of missing out, also known as FOMO. This little phrase describes how much people feel the need to be doing everything else that anyone else is doing. Some may even be left so excluded and thus question why everyone is having fun without them.
The human brain can't completely give undivided attention on so many things at once. Thus, multitasking shifts the focus of our brain from one task to another, impeding information processing and productivity.
Imagine how much time we spend with our faces glued to the screens of our phones and computers. Imagine how much light is being absorbed by our eyes as the social media content is being absorbed into our minds.
From an optimistic perspective, we have been able to establish enhanced connectivity and extended globalization due to social media. However, it is important to note that social media should not consume so much from our lives that we feel disconnected from each other.