• Roshan Shetty

Social Media Influence, Effects, and Addiction.

Social Media is a powerful tool, and we know it. No doubt it can and has opened many doors and paths to newer careers and businesses. And If dealt responsibly you can use social media to make actual and meaningful changes, but dealing with it responsibly is the challenge we face. Social media platforms have given some great opportunities to the people, you can connect with thousands of people, educate yourself and grow as a person just with a click, but with all this, it has created a world where people are never satisfied with themselves, always seeking validation, questioning every decision, and somewhere down the line have lost empathy for others. We are in a time where we care more about our image on social media than in our society. Social media has its good and bad side, but to deal with the bad side we need to know what is the bad part.


Social Media Influence, the wrong kind:

Social media plays a huge role in today's day and age. With almost 4 billion people logging on to these platforms every day, there is no better way to reach people. Many out of these 4 billion use social media as their source of information, therefore social media influencing is more of a responsibility than a privilege. Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are platforms where you share your opinions and look for people who share similar ideologies like your own. These platforms help you connect with such people but in doing so creates a toxic Echo Chamber.


What is a Social Media Echo Chamber

Social Media Echo Chamber

Image Credits: Zesty Things


How Does this Echo Chamber Works?

We become part of a community that supports our bias, we surround ourselves with people who share the same bias and we subscribe to media outlets that promote our biases and beliefs. We are in an environment where we feel our ideas, biases, and opinions are superior to others. And opinions or biases that don't match your thinking or doesn't fit your ideology will never reach you because your echo chambers won't let such ideas get to you. You will become sensitive about your bias. Echo Chambers makes our biases stronger and makes us sensitive towards opposite opinions. We consume content that makes our bias stronger, even if the content is fake news or unverified facts. Now your bias can be anything. It can be about your favorite sportsperson or something like your political opinions, religious beliefs. Echo chambers are used to manipulate people. We stop thinking for ourselves, we start blindly following things. We lose the ability to think. People become more and more sensitive about their bias and when they see anything that goes against their belief they will attack it and thus creating a toxic online environment. Political parties manipulate these echo chambers all the time to spread praises about themselves or hate towards their opposition. When we are a part of an echo chamber we tend to believe everything that makes our bias stronger, even if it a fake news article or an unverified fact. This can be really dangerous and therefore I say social media is a powerful weapon if someone uses it smartly.

So if you ever find yourself spreading fake news about your bias or abusing someone's bias, congratulations! You might be part of one of these toxic Echo chambers.

There is nothing wrong with being a part of an echo chamber but when we become too sensitive about our opinions that we're unable to process criticism then there is a problem.

Also here are 5 things to do instead of getting in a social media argument:

  • Count the seeds on a strawberry

  • Search for unicorn

  • Count till 1 million

  • Do handstands in an elevators

  • Try remembering all the embarrassing thing you've done

This may sound ridiculous so is arguing on social media.


The negatives of social media

Reading a post on social media will take us around 2 - 3 minutes and sometimes even less, and then we scroll on to the next post. We entertain ourselves in less than 5 minutes but then we look for something else. This has created a behavior among us where we always need to entertain ourselves, we always need to do something. This has made us impatient and created an urge to always be entertained. Before social media, we used to entertain ourselves with movies, books, sports, or anything else. While doing so our entire focus was on completing the book or the movie. But today we often find ourselves scrolling through our phones while at the same time trying to finish a movie, we also check start checking social media during a boring conversation. We are finding it difficult to focus. Our patience levels have dropped drastically. Also, our attention span has taken a huge hit, according to a survey average attention span was 12 seconds in the year 2000, and in recent years it has fallen to 8 seconds (It is said goldfishes have an attention span of 9 seconds.)


Social media has made us impatient, insecure and under confident.

Photo by Robin Worrall (Unsplash)


What does this mean?

This means if anything doesn't entertain us in under 8 seconds we likely to skip it or ignore it. We are an impatient generation. We need changes to happen fast but we forget the fact that great changes take time. We are a generation with great ideas and plans but lack patience. When things take time and don't go according to our plan, we become insecure about our ideas and start questioning ourselves, but the problem was we weren't patient enough. I hope we don't kill a great idea just because we didn't have the patience.


Social Media Addiction

Social Media platforms create a dopamine inducing environment. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that our body makes. It affects the ways that please us. It helps us strive, focus, and keep things interesting. Also, Dopamine is also induced in our body while gambling, alcohol intake, and drug usage. But these things are either illegal or have an age restriction, but the use of social media has no age restriction. It can lead to behavioral addiction. When we reach out to check our phones the first thing in the morning when we keep checking our phones during a meal when we go to social media because we are unable to focus these are some of the signs that show us there might be a problem. Well not everyone who does this is addicted, very few people are actually addicted.


Social Media Addiction

Credits: Voice of Journalists


How can you know if you have a social media addiction?

  • Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?

  • Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?

  • Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?

  • Do you often try to reduce use of social media without success?

  • Do you become restless or troubled if unable to use social media?

  • Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on his/her job or studies?

If you answered “yes” to more than three of these questions, then you may have or be developing a social media addiction.


How can you use social media more responsibly?

Social media has its problem but in today's world has become essential. So I'm not saying social media is bad and is good for nothing. If used responsibly and smartly it is one of the most powerful weapons and can open doors you've never imagined. Here are a few tips for you :

  • Keep your mobile devices far from where sleep (preferably in another room) so it isn't the first thing you see when you get up.

  • You're at your productive best in morning. Plan your day in the morning and try completing all the targets.

  • Avoid using phone while eating and don't keep it on the table.

  • Don't use social media to get information, search for trusted sources.

  • Reduce social media interactions

  • Try being parts of productive echo chambers

  • Try on focusing and completing one task at a time.

  • Limit your social media application usage with the help of applications like My Phone Time.

  • Stop using your phone 1-2 hours before going to sleep.

Some of these have actually helped me a lot, hope it does the same to you.


Conclusion:

Social media has its pros and cons. We should try and be a little selfish when it comes to using the good side of social media. Excess of anything is injurious. We should look out for ourselves and be more responsible. I may have missed a lot of things here, you can comment down here what you think about social cons.


Featured Image: Merakist


#socialmedia #socialmediaaddiction #socialmediadetox

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