Social Media’s Impact On Society

Social Media’s Impact On Society

Stop staring at a screen all day!
125228
views

The growing popularity of social media networks and applications has had many positive and negative implications for society.

Social media has revolutionized the way we view ourselves, the way we see others and the way we interact with the world around us. While social media has many positive implications, including promoting awareness of specific causes, advertising businesses and helping foster friendships between individuals who may have never met without social networking, the over-usage of social media networks can also lead to negative implications.

While there are countless exciting improvements in technology and social media have greatly increased communication across cultures and positively brought attention to events around the world, it is imperative that we examine the negative implications that social media usage has had on the human experience.

The overuse of social media is a global problem impacting all generations, and research has shown that substantial internet usage can have a highly negative impact on our mental and emotional health.

As the popularity of social media sites continuously grows, networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram continue to evolve. Three positive implications of social media include advertising, networking, and self-expression.

From an advertising perspective, social media offers a great outlet for charities, businesses, and individuals to promote themselves. Social media can be used as an outlet for global organizations to bring awareness to the causes they support and spread positive news that traditional media often doesn't cover. In addition to making advertisements more accessible through social media, these networks have helped foster relationships and connect people around the world.

Social media also allows for self-expression and can serve as a creative outlet for individuals to express themselves, share their artwork and share their voice on specific topics. Being able to express yourself in a healthy way is a very important part of the human experience, and social media can be a great outlet for young adults.

An additional benefit to social media includes following inspirational social media accounts, such as fitness or health inspired Instagram accounts, which can be motivational to followers.

While social media has greatly benefited society, too much of a good thing can always lead to negative effects.

Heavy technology usage often leads to addiction, especially in teens and young adults. However, this addiction is not limited to the millennial generation, as more and more adults from older generations are starting to utilize social networks to stay connected with their friends and families. Spending countless hours on the social sites can distract the focus and attention from a particular chore or assignment.

Along with the struggle to remain attentive, many people who overuse social media or use social media networks as their main form of communication report feeling anxious and depressed after overuse of social media.

Symptoms of anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be triggered by the overuse of social media, as individuals are constantly concerned about their posts and communicating with others.

Social media also causes many young adults to compare themselves to others and envy a life that may not be attainable since many brands and individuals only share a small percentage of their lives online. It is important to remember that an Instagram or Twitter may just be a reflection of the "best" parts of a person's life and isn't an accurate representation of them as a whole.

It is imperative that teens and young adults remember that social media does not always portray the whole story and that having genuine communication skills is more important than social media.

Allowing social media to prevent you from experiencing genuine human experiences, such as spending time with your family or spending time outdoors, can be very unhealthy.

In an article entitled "Tweets, Texts, Email and Posts," author Tony Dokoupil explores the story regarding a man named Jason Russell. Russell forwarded a link to an internet documentary called “Kony 2012," which shared his deeply personal web experiences regarding African Warlord Joseph Kony. The film received more than 70 million views in less than a week.

While the film brought awareness to the issues facing African children and child soldiers, the sudden fame had a significant impact on Russell. Russell began obsessing over the number of views received and eventually underwent what doctors now call a temporary psychotic break.

After posting a quote by Martin Luther King, "If you can't fly, then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward," Russell took off his clothes, went to the corner of a busy intersection and repeatedly slapped the concrete with both palms ranting about the devil.

This is just one example of how social media can have both positive and negative implications on an individual, as the fame has caused severe mental health implications for Russell, but also brought awareness to a growing epidemic of child soldiers.

While I personally have not experienced mental health implications over the number of likes I’ve gotten or have not gotten on a post, I do tend to “obsess” over it. If I don’t receive the desired amount of likes on a picture I have posted on Instagram, I’ll just delete it.

The more likes I get, the better I feel about myself.

This is something I have been trying to work on since the number of likes I get shouldn’t affect how I feel. Many young adults equate a part of their identity or self-worth with the number of likes they receive on a post and forget that a post does not define who you are as a person and should not change the way you view yourself.

My social media usage has decreased significantly, but I still worry about the number of likes I receive because I want to use social media as a way to express myself and share my ideas with others. Remembering the purpose behind what I am posting and trying to identify the purpose of what I share on social networks helps me identify if the number of likes matter.

Since I started college, I have extensively examined the effects that social media has on a person. Specifically, I have explored how social media usage affects my own generation. It may seem obvious, but I’ve noticed that I do best in classes when I am on my phone less.

Even though this may seem obvious to you, sometimes it’s the most simple thing that we overlook when it comes to social media usage. I have strongly considered joining the “unplugging” movement, but I can’t bring myself to do it. If that doesn’t say something about the effects that social networking sites have on a person, I’m not sure what will.

Unplugging is taking yourself off of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even though my social media usage has become less of a problem, I still struggle with remaining off my phone and being involved in the “real world."

Social media has impacted our society for better and for worse.

It is up to us to decide how we view social media and how we allow social networking to either benefit or harm our lives. It is imperative to remember that the genuine human experience of being able to communicate in person, network in person and form relationships with others outweighs social media. It is also important to remember that the number of likes or shares you receive does not define who you are or your self-worth.

The more educated I become and the less time I spend on social media, the more I realize that there is a lot more to life than sitting behind a screen all day long.

Cover Image Credit: LinkedIn

Popular Right Now

12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.

4459
views

College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Social Media Can Bridge The Gap Of Communication Between The Two Genders

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post to spark a revolution.

23
views

You spend time at least once a week going through your social feed. You even spend time once a day going through your social feed.

There is a power in the words you speak and post online, and these very words can impact others' lives, negatively or positively. As an example, according to the Huffington Post, women are met with being "…ignored, trivialized, or criticized by men…" online mainly because the rift between the two genders prevents proper communication.

Gender equality can be achieved by online engagement, or posting. In some cases, though, the opposite can be true. I personally love Instagram and will occasionally find myself scrolling through posts recommended by the platform itself simply so I can waste time and complain about that later. A few weeks ago, I happened to be relapsing into my Instagram addiction and found myself particularly drawn to a certain post by Rowan Blanchard, which had a caption reading that "Cis men are violent and dangerous and until numbers prove [her] wrong [she] won't be able to not make statements that can't be read as vague."

Now, MSNBC identifies activism today as "…easier than ever…" thanks to social media, with "…[facilitated] public dialogues and… a platform for awareness…," but the caption of Blanchard's post shown is not activism at its finest. In a brief synopsis, activist Rowan Blanchard, who you may know from the show "Girl Meets World," addresses her distaste for men, going so far as to generalizing them as dangerous. In my opinion, this is one step backward in the fight for equality rather than a step forward.

Men and women alike have our differences that we consistently brush over in angry online comments but never truly sit down and discuss. The presence of a civil conversation between members of opposing sides of the gender argument is astonishing, and I myself have never seen one online. These conversations act like haunting illusions of a future we can only dream of, as if such a situation is purely unattainable otherwise.

We fawn over the thought, calling ourselves servants at the hands of a society where men and women can join each other and claim that there is no reason to feel unequal. The idea is breathtaking, and the friendships between men and women would be endless. Unfortunately, modern-day social media displays misogyny, misandry, animosity and all forms of verbal destruction against both genders that I feel sorry to merely acknowledge.

Before I took a break from being active on social media, I used Instagram to showcase my thoughts on these issues. I found it compelling to have an audience of my close friends and acquaintances listening as I explained and rationalized about online sexism repeatedly.

Occasionally, the topic sparked up friendly conversation about disagreements, and being honest, I felt threatened by how unthreatening the discussion was. It was as if I was asking for a reason to feel angry, to feel offended, but I instead was met with the harsh reality that social media can allow engagement in normal conversation.

The culture that revolves around online discussion is brash and led by emotion rather than by statistics, and while Blanchard may claim that she wants precise statistics before she alters her position against men, many online still fail to recognize the validity of such numbers. Her use of a hasty generalization clearly shows the lack of structure within her argument; I may be solely pointing her out, but her rationale stands as an example of the obstacles we face in the path to gender equality.

MSNBC used Twitter demographics to explain the impact of current events revolving around gender debates on the amount of discussion about sexism, and the results show that social media holds power. It holds hope and determination and serves as a pathway to a society where we may be able to hold hands and know we have no fear of being inferior to one another. Our generation is accustomed to seeing this magnitude of a response online, but when imagining every person who tweeted about this, there is potential change that we can visualize.

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post online to go viral. Within minutes, we can reach out to hundreds or thousands of people, updating them about our lives. With the ability to contact an enormous number of people, the only question you are left to ask yourself is, "How will you bring about a positive change to social equality?"

Your response to this question is being awaited every moment of your life.

Disclaimer: Please note that this has been a speech previously submitted as an assignment in a class.

Related Content

Facebook Comments