How Social Media Affects Your Life
Do you frequently use social media?
For the majority of people out there, the answer will be yes.
The next question is…
Have you ever thought about how this has actually affected your life over the years?
Social media has so many different effects on daily life, both positive as well as negative, and no matter how addicted you may be to your favorite social media platforms, it is important to still be aware of the impact that this is having.
Social Media Can Prevent Quality Sleep
When you can’t seem to fall asleep at night, are you guilty of often reaching for your phone and scrolling through social media sites?
This is extremely common, and is something that many people do as a way to wind down after a long day.
However, while you may think that this is harmless, it is actually having quite a detrimental impact on your sleep quality…
Due to the blue light that is emitted by the electronic devices you use.
There are multiple studies out there that show that the blue light from LED screens interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone that tells your brain that it is time to fall asleep.
Without as much melatonin in your body, you end up being more alert, staying awake for longer than you otherwise would have.
Of course, there is an easy fix to this…
All you need to do is download an app that adapts your device’s screen to the time of day, meaning that it takes on a warm orange filter in the evenings. This is so much easier on the eyes, and will prevent your device’s blue light from keeping you up.
While this may seem like a great solution, keep in mind that simply staring at any sort of screen will still trigger your brain to stay awake. If the blue light apps don’t seem to be working for you, you will likely be better off staying away from social media, along with any other electronic devices, for at least an hour before bed.
Social Media Can Affect Your Self Esteem
Whether you openly admit it or not, you likely have a few insecurities, and this is something that everybody experiences in their life.
While this is completely normal, social media has the effect of exacerbating any insecurities, making you feel worse about them than you already did.
In fact, a study carried out at the University of Copenhagen found that those who used social media regularly tended to suffer from Facebook envy.
What is Facebook envy?
Simply put, it refers to the feelings of jealousy that you feel after seeing all of the activities that your friends have been up to on social media.
On the other hand, those who abstained from using social media for a while reported that they felt much more satisfied with their lives, and considered their mental well-being to be quite high.
Social Media Makes it Easier to Spread and Absorb Knowledge and Information
While the internet already made it so much easier for information to be shared, this became even more so after the rise of social media.
In just a few seconds, your message could be spread to people all across the globe, giving you quite the sense of power.
The upside to this is the fact that if you have an important message to share, you can easily do this.
However, there is also a downside to this too…
Fake news is a term that you have likely heard about quite a bit recently.
If you haven’t, the term fake news refers to a story that has been created to deliberately deceive its readers and spread misinformation.
Fake news spreads like wildfire on social media, with the more “likes” a story receives making others believe it even more.
The only way around this is for social media platforms to regulate the news that is posted, but this would, of course, end up leading to censorship, which defeats the purpose of social media to quite an extent.
Want to keep yourself educated when it comes to fake news and misinformation?
Well, when you read a story that sounds doubtful, all you need to do is a quick Google search to find out more information from trustworthy sources, before making up your own mind about the situation.
When it comes down to it…
Don’t believe everything that you read on social media!
Social Media Can Hinder Real Life Social Interaction
You may think that you are an incredibly social person because of the hundreds, or even thousands, or friends you have on social media, as well as the fact that you are always communicating with many of them.
However, when it comes to real life social interaction, social media can actually hinder this quite a bit.
How many times have you been spending time with others, only for one or more of those people to be staring at their phone?
This is so common, and even if you personally are not guilty of it, chances are that you will notice this happening when visiting a restaurant, a bar or any other social setting.
Constantly staring at your phone, or even checking it periodically, takes your attention away from what is actually going on around you.
Social Media Can Also Promote Real Life Social Interaction
While social media does hinder real life interaction, it can also have the opposite effect…
Social media is a fantastic way to reconnect with old friends whom you have lost touch with, bringing you together once again and making it easier for you to meet up in real life.
There are also many events that are organized and promoted through social media, which you may otherwise have never heard of. These events bring together people with similar interests, enabling you to make so many more like-minded friends.
Not only that, but social media has been seen to be quite effective when it comes to promoting real life social interaction among introverted adolescents. It allows them to interact with others from the safety of their screen, which then builds up their confidence when it comes to real life interactions.
Social Media Can Encourage Cyberbullying
Have you heard of cyberbullying before?
This is a problem that is becoming increasingly common, and refers to bullying an individual by sending them intimidating messages.
Why is it becoming more and more common?
This is largely due to social media, and the way that these platforms make it so easy to involve yourself in someone else’s life.
This is especially the case with younger generations, as many do not realize just how hurtful their words and comments can be.
Social Media Can Be Extremely Entertaining
One of the great things about social media is the amount of entertainment it provides. This can be in many different forms, such as:
- Watching videos
- Looking at pictures
- Playing games
- Reading stories
Thanks to all of this, social media can sometimes be a great way to relax and de-stress.
Social Media Keeps You Constantly Connected
There are many people that feel that being constantly connected is nothing but a positive, but this can actually have quite a detrimental effect on your mental health.
Because of the pressure you face to always be available and quickly respond to others, and this can often make you feel as though you simply never have any time to relax.
Even when many try to disconnect, they end up feeling as though they are missing out on what is going on, and crave being back online again.
Social Media Makes It Easier for Small Businesses to Reach Customers
In the past, one of the biggest challenges that a small business would face is the lack of a marketing budget, and this would make it extremely difficult to reach new customers.
However, social media has turned this all around…
Even with a completely non-existent marketing budget, social media still gives you the opportunity to reach out to, connect with, and interact with new and existing customers, making it so much easier for you to build a reputable brand.
For many small businesses, social media is their sole form of marketing to begin with, and this is usually set up long before a business develops a website.
Not only that, but advancements in social media enable users to make purchases directly through social media platforms, meaning that small business don’t need to even worry about setting up online shops anymore, saving so much time and money.
Social Media Encourages Multitasking
Are you guilty of checking social media sites while you are in the middle of doing something else?
This is something else that is extremely common, and ends up causing you to multitask.
This may sound great, as well as productive, but research shows that the human brain is not actually capable of multitasking. While you may think that you are doing multiple tasks at once, your brain is actually just switching from one to the other very rapidly, meaning that you are not fully concentrating on any one task.
Why does the brain do this?
It is likely due to the way in which humans evolved. In order to survive while hunting big animals, it became necessary for humans to put all of their focus on to one task, and this is one of the reasons as to why humans have become the dominant species in the world.
So, while you may think that your brain can cope with constantly checking social media while you are working, keep in mind that this is actually preventing you from being as productive as you would be if you put social media away for a while.
Social Media Can Affect Your Job Prospects
Many people still do not realize just how often potential employers will check out your social media accounts. Why do they do this?
To find out more about you, of course!
Social media profiles can be extremely revealing, but, sometimes, the information that is revealed is not what you want your employer to know.
This makes it so important to be aware of every little thing you post or comment on, while also editing privacy settings to ensure that only the people you personally know have access to all of these details in your life.
Using Social Media Responsibly
While social media may have its downsides, there are definitely plenty of upsides that come with it too.
Wondering how to use social media in a way that impacts your life positively, rather than negatively?
There are several steps that you can take to do this, such as:
- Be yourself – don’t try to be someone you aren’t when posting on social media. Stay honest and don’t lie or exaggerate
- Watch what you post – don’t over-post every detail of your life, and keep in mind that everything you put on to the internet is permanent
- The right frame of mind – never post on social media when you are angry, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Be aware of your friends on social media – it may be tempting to accept friend requests from just about everyone, but remember that all of those people will then be able to see so many details of your life
- Privacy settings – every social media platform will have its own privacy settings, so make sure that you are aware of these
Social media really has spread all across the globe, with more than 2.3 billion people in the world being active social media users. While there is no denying that social media can have quite a few negative impacts on a person’s life, it does also have so many positive points too. The key is to use social media in a responsible way, and make sure that you do not allow it to dominate your life.