Social media is powerful – the magnitude of control it has over our lives is largely underestimated. We rarely realize it but whatever we see and follow on different social media platforms ultimately shapes our opinions and ideas. We unsuspectingly absorb fragments of information and memorize visuals we barely scroll through. Social media is the place where fads originate, trends are set, and news spreads faster than a virus.
Every individual in possession of a smartphone and access to the internet frequents at least one social app every day. Social media has become a significant part of our lives because it has too much to offer, plus some obvious benefits. Whether you’re looking for work, business opportunities, new contacts, or entertainment, social media delivers.
Social media marketing is the leading facet of digital marketing today, which is why businesses worldwide use it to spread brand awareness and engage a target audience. Social platforms allow freedom of speech and connect users across the globe. The effects of social media range from positive to negative, which affects different aspects of our life.
1. Psychology and Lifestyle
The impact of social media on our emotional and mental health is undeniable. On one hand, it allows us to stay in touch with loved ones; on the other hand, it isolates us and triggers a condition called ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out). We constantly fret when we don’t have access to our social apps and when we do, their notifications keep us distracted. Even though social media helps us discover communities that share our views and interests, it also exposes us to antagonism and bigotry.
Cyberbullying and offensive posts/comments are commonplace; they create chaos, stimulate anxiety, and make social media an unsafe space for many users. We communicate with peers and strangers through social media every day, which is efficient and convenient. At the same time, these virtual exchanges discourage physical interactions and in-person meetings. Every so often, people living in the same house or sitting in the same room use a social messenger to talk to each other.
Social media has made people lazy and insensitive. Face-to-face communication involves expressive speech and conveying emotions through several other physical gestures. On the contrary, what we say through text messaging is hardly meaningful. We are typing ‘LOL’ or ‘ROFL’ while wearing a poker face and sitting completely still.
Many people use social media to showcase important and trivial events in their life. When others witness their achievements and picture-perfect moments, it tends to make them feel lonely, jealous, or inferior; a person’s successes may remind others of their failures or shortcomings as well.
2. Work and Professional Dealings
Nowadays, the majority of recruiters scan through the social profiles of applicants before considering them for a vacancy. What you post on social media exhibits your true colors and often serves as your first impression. If the company management or employment agency finds something offensive on your profile, you may lose promising work prospects. Many individuals do not realize how social media activity depicts their personalities. They are surprised when something related to social media becomes an obstacle in landing a job or advancing their career.
What you publish or share on social platforms could also become the reason for losing your job. For example, criticizing someone at work, revealing confidential company information, or being a part of something against an employer’s policies.
It seems like no relationship is complete without validation from social media in this modern era. If you have a significant other or look forward to becoming exclusive with somebody, updating your relationship status across social media profiles is probably the highlight of it. Many couples collaborate on social sites and have turned their relationship into a lucrative venture. Social media has made it too easy to keep track of someone’s whereabouts and interests.
Admit it, you’ve cyberstalked your crushes, friends, and colleagues on social media from time to time. When you meet a new person or make an acquaintance, following their social footprints is the first thing you do to get to know them better. Everything witnessed on social media is not real; many people glamorize or exaggerate their relationships to evoke public interest.
4. Legal matters
If you are under the observation of law enforcement, on probation, or subject to criminal charges, be wary of what you post on social media platforms. Staying off social media is one of the key instructions given by defense lawyers to their clients. Many people use social media to vent or blow off some steam, which can backfire badly. If anyone is trying to dig up dirt against you, know that they are definitely going to go through your social media records. If a guilty or accused person is not careful, evidence found on social media might be enough to incriminate them.
Many internet users are alarmed by how social media has abolished the concept of privacy. It is true that anyone can learn personal details about your life from your social profiles. Nonetheless, you are in control of what you share and how you define your privacy settings. Social media makes it easy to find people and be found, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on the circumstances.
If you are going to post something on social media, do not expect it to remain a secret. Word spreads quickly on social sites, and posting on these platforms is meant for publicity. If you have privacy concerns, limit your social media presence and refrain from sharing sensitive information.
Elijah Cole is the founder of The Witty Minds blog and a professional content creator. His expertise lies in creative writing and lifestyle blogging. At Witty Minds, he is the lead writer, editor, and publisher of all original content.