Social media is one of the pieces of technology that are actively shaping this world. As a part of the internet, social media creates more excellent avenues through which people can interact all over the world. The adverse effects of social media are; however, not unknown, and young people are the center. Sadly, the youth use social media to levels that, if not restricted or monitored, could result in severe repercussions for their overall wellbeing. As a young person myself, I got to learn this lesson from experience, allowing me to understand the reach of the effects of this technology. This approach to learning, despite being useful, is not a likable experience, and neither is it one that a person can easily forget. I learned, however, that the self I present to the public through my social media accounts is not me, but a pretty, happy version of me.
In most cases, no one usually wishes to see the pain and sadness of their friends, which forces people to hide this side of themselves away, including me. We protect this side of ourselves and save it for real interactions, for our families, partners, and friends. Social media interactions, on the other hand, are reduced to likes or hearts, which fails to capture the emotional component of human social life truly. For this reason, I believe people use these platforms to fulfill other agendas apart from seeking interactions. It is because they feel that everything that occurs online has no consequences; people are willing to cross the set thresholds of safety to get what they want. Therefore, being extra cautious when engaging with others online can be highly beneficial.
My personal experience with social media centers around Facebook depression, which many people believe not to be a real issue. However, Blease argues that this form of depression occurs when young users see wall posts, photos, and status updates that harm their popularity (4). The psychological impact of social media sites on young people with low self-esteem or those with other problems is even more significant. Many arguments against Facebook depression agree on the point that social media is an instrument, meaning that it is not possible for it to cause a medical illness by itself. In my case, the experience involved Facebook postings that undermined my social relations with my peers in school. It created an emotional disturbance by making me feel inferior to my Facebook counterparts. In my opinion, this issue resulted from my desire to fit in and be accepted by my colleagues. When some of the people I thought were my friends posted humiliating information about me, it affected my self-esteem and confidence to face others. In school, I was well known among the students, mainly due to my proactive participation in school events. I considered the act by my friends a significant betrayal since they very well understood the effects of their actions. It was sometimes impossible for me to have a meal or even study in peace after the event, which only added to my list of troubles and causes of restlessness.This Facebook encounter left me anxious and unwilling to interact with others, at least not face-to-face. I retreated to an isolated world that would have eventually led to my self-destruction. Appel et al. assert that social media can contribute to the occurrence in three ways, namely comparison with others, affecting self-worth and bullying (45). I suffered from countless experiences of bullying at the time, as there are students who used the opportunity to vent their feelings of oppression by social media platforms. Just like me, others have been subject to these humiliation attacks and would seek similar opportunities to hurt others emotionally. They achieve this by creating rumors and narratives designed to harm a person’s social status, which negatively affected my self-esteem and self-worth.
Kingsnorth assert that most people throughout history could scarcely comprehend the purpose attached to the staring on the glowing screen and paper marks. It is observed that the notion which they had that they would aid anyone in understanding complexity regarding lived actuality would have appeared illogical as it is the still the case among many people. The author also emphasizes that the technology regarding writing has made them to forget the way in which they ought to handle abstraction (Kingsnorth). There is also the tendency concerning confusing some words with the actuality and reality they are meant to convey. Ideally, this can be related to my Facebook experience. The social media sites represent what humanity has the potentiality of accomplishing, which provides explanations concerning what humanity can attain. As a result of this, the social media sites are considerably gaining emplacement, in not only the business circles but also in the social circles. While Facebook is becoming an integral channel as pertains to communication, it is observed that the way in which people present themselves and their perceptions regarding others on the site start to bear considerable consequences within the actual world.
The importance regarding the way in which other people regard you can be seen in the article “Silence and the Notion of the Commons”. In his narrative, Franklin asserts that the current technological patterns have made individuals to move towards a reduction in various spaces which encompass the mindscape, the landscape, as well as the soundscape. He provides that silence ought to prevail within the mindscape, the landscape, and the soundscape (Franklin, p.3). This creates the room for the unprogrammed and unplanable which is the primary strength related to silence. As well, silence is considered as the core regarding sanity both collectively and individually. The aspect regarding silence has been replaced with common availability. Franklin provides that through the deployment regarding technology, societies are currently at a position in which something which was initially normal has now become precious and rare. A critical evaluation regarding this specific perspective indicates that it has a significance application to my experience. This is based on the actuality that the perceptions which other people bored towards me were the primary cause regarding the state that I was in (Franklin, p.4). It is heeded that with the silence that comes with the utilization regarding technology and social media, my attention shift has shifted from others due to the fact that I have the tendency of focusing attending to my own concerns. Although this specific silence can be regarded as being abnormal to other people, I observe that it has the effect of expediting the activities that I normally do and engenders both sanity and peacefulness. This is a clear indication that despite the actuality that social media enhances silence which can result to a negative impact to other people.
The third season of the series titled “Black Mirror,” an episode known as “Nosedive,” will perhaps provide a basis for understanding the problems I faced much more elaborately. In this particular episode, written by Mike Schur and Rashida Jones, an imaginative world where social media channels are the frameworks used in running economic systems is presented. After each interaction an individual has with another, the participants rate each other based on a scale of 1 to 5. Getting a score of 4 or higher meant that a person was in an excellent social position, while those under 4 had to face the consequences both socially and economically. Achieving social mobility upward in this world meant that an individual had to pretend and hide his or her real self from others. The episode’s heroine, Lacie, begins at 4.2, which is a decent number but just not sufficient to get her the life she desires. She embarks on a mission to reach a 4.5 rating in record time to achieve this goal. The journey, however, is more gruesome than she initially thought since the episode climaxes with Lacie choosing to let out all her frustrations. Lacie came to realize that getting the social ratings she desired was only possible by sacrificing her true self and replace it with an image that others would like. Plastic smiles and pretending were the order of the day if anyone were to move upward socially. Even when Lacie was alone in the bathroom, she would often practice how she would laugh before a mirror, evidencing the fact that Lacie always wore a mask whenever she interacted with others. Her true self became so foreign to her to the extent that the idea of expressing and projecting that true self was not only unnatural to Lacie but barely even an option.
The narrative presented in the “Nosedive”
episode demonstrates the potential impact of social media platforms on the
world, though at the extreme end. As things stand today, the problem is still
manageable by reducing the significance given to these platforms. People should
understand that despite the promise of this technology, it is not wise to let
it replace real interactions, or we might bear the consequences. Perhaps, it is
time that the public became sensitized to the potential adverse effects of
social media and implemented strategies to mitigate them.
Appel, Helmut et al. “The Interplay Between Facebook Use, Social Comparison, Envy, And Depression”. Current Opinion in Psychology, vol 9, 2016, pp. 44-49. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.10.006.
Blease, C. R. “Too Many ‘Friends,’ Too Few ‘Likes’? Evolutionary Psychology And ‘Facebook Depression’”. Review of General Psychology, vol 19, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-13. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1037/gpr0000030.
Didion, Joan. “At the Dam”. 1970, pp. 1-2., Accessed 9 Oct 2019.
Franklin, Ursula. “Silence and the Notion of the Commons”. 1994, p. 4., Accessed 16 Oct 2019.
Kingsnorth, Paul. “The Language of the Master – Emergence Magazine”. Emergence Magazine, 2015, https://emergencemagazine.org/story/the-language-of-the-master/. Accessed 16 Oct 2019.
“The Jetman”. pp. 71-3., Accessed 9 Oct 2019.