There is no escape from social media in this modern day and age. How does social media impact the way we connect with the world and with each other? How does excessive use of social media affect us?
How social media affects us?
The social media is undoubtedly one of the most powerful influences in our lives. Television, radio and the newspaper used to be the three main forms of media around, but with recent advancements in technology, social media has emerged as the dominant form of media that we come into contact with. This then leads us to the question of how social media has impacted the way we connect with the world and with each other.
Staying Connected with Friends and Family
Well, one advantage of social media is that we can always stay connected with loved ones, regardless of geographical distance. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and others allow us to message, call, and video chat with people, making it easy to maintain relationships. Furthermore, it makes it easy to connect with people with similar interests or profession and establish new professional relationship through platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Social media can provide a sense of community and belonging, particularly for those who may feel isolated or disconnected from their physical communities. With this, one can easily share their thoughts, experiences, and moments with loved ones, and friends.
Accessing a Wide Range of Information and Resources
Besides that, Social media is a powerful tool for gaining access to a wide range of information and resources. It allows users to easily find educational videos, articles, and tutorials on a variety of subjects, from learning a new language to mastering a new skill. The ability to access this information at any time and from anywhere makes it possible for individuals to continue learning and developing new skills, even outside of a traditional classroom setting. Additionally, social media can be a valuable tool for networking and professional development opportunities. It allows individuals to connect with professionals in their field and stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments. This can open doors to new job opportunities, collaborations, and professional growth.
The Reliability of Information on Social Media
However, there has been some debate about how reliable the information we receive from social media is. With carefully chosen images and sensational headlines, we rarely get the full picture at first glance. It is slightly paradoxical how these enhancements may draw us to click on a news story to read further, yet sometimes we cannot be bothered to do so due to the deluge of information on social media. Slowly but surely, we start forming our own versions of the truth and could unintentionally share fake news even further online.
Disconnect a person on individual interactions
On an individual level, excessive use of social media disconnects a person from their immediate surroundings. Everywhere we turn, groups of people are often more engrossed with their mobile phones instead of enjoying each other’s company. A study recently showed that Malaysian social media users spend a quarter of their day on average, across all social media platforms. It is no wonder then that young people, the most ardent users of social media, struggle to develop social and conversational skills.
Negative impact on mental health
Social media can have a negative impact on mental health as it can lead to constant comparison with others’ curated online lives. People tend to present a highlight reel of their lives on social media, showing only the best moments and experiences. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem for those who constantly compare their own life to the seemingly perfect lives they see online. Additionally, the constant bombardment of images, videos, and messages can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. Moreover, social media can contribute to cyberbullying, which can harm mental health. It’s important to be aware of this and limit social media use for good mental health.
In conclusion, social media has become an inescapable aspect of our daily lives. However, it is important to recognise the negative effects that social media can have on individuals and society as a whole. To combat these issues, it is essential to take proactive steps to mitigate the risks, such as verifying information sources, limiting our screen time, and being mindful of our social media consumption.