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A Modern Day Social Dilemma
Now days instead of coffee or breakfast being the first thing we do in the morning we tend to reach over to our little window to the rest of the world, our cellphone. With modern smart phones we carry more than just phone numbers on them and instead a multitude of applications and software tools. Among these, most people have a collection of social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Many of which are logged into everyday for someone to share their life with friends and family. Social apps have become such a huge part of most anyone’s life. The questions is, are they really a positive influence on society? What are the downsides or risks they bring fourth? What benefit do they truly bring, over the old days of calling your long lost uncle, or cousin to catch up with? Important questions that will take some digging into. With social apps being relatively new to the world time will only tell for sure.
Sharing the Good Message
With the great connectivity of social apps, brings the ability to spread news fast. Any individual or group can make a social media account, share a story, and it will be spread to the world as fast as the the news wants to. This is a power that should be used carefully, it has luckily been used to spread positive messages across the world too. Someone might draw attention to an event or issue that may call for action or support. For example in the 2010 Haiti disaster after they were struck by a massive earthquake, users were quick to spread the grave news of this tragedy. This resulted in a large sympathy for the victims and faster donations and aid for the country as well as moral support going out to the area. With the story and examples of damage being spread so directly and frequently on apps like Facebook, people were called to that sympathy, as they felt more compelled to help out those in need. A fine use of the power of social media.
While there are plenty of other moments in history that social media has helped spread the news of tragedy, it should not entirely over shadow the many daily help accounts, or motivational posts that get spread around as well. It has become a trend to share inspirational quotes, pick-me up words, and to reach to those suffering in silence. The effect of these efforts can not be measured but they are sure to have varying positive effects on their readers and viewers.
Alongside the emotional support social media can bring, there is the aspect of self-help. Plenty of content creators have taken to sharing how-to videos or posts on social media. You can find anything from cooking to fixing your car, step-by-step right on your feed. While you can find them in many other places and corners of the internet, having self-help videos on a social media platform really gives you a centralized place where you can find some advice you may not know you needed. There are many different positive aspects to the social media circle.
The Dark Side…
Aside from all of the good social sites and social apps can do there is undoubtedly a lot of downside as well. Contrary to the push for mental health care it brings, that a lot of content creators have aimed for as of late, the very tool they use has been shown to have risks of increasing depression, and other mental health side effects. The idea of any social site is to get you to log on and view the content as much as possible. That way the controlling company makes money off ads, and more views means more money. This incentivizes developers to want to create an addicting environment for users to come back to.
Each time you see something cool or learn something new you get a small dose of dopamine which is the brains pleasure chemical and that creates a pathway for your brain to remember where it came from, which, in turn, keeps you coming back for more. The continued downside to all this is that the rest of your life seems less exciting or more lackluster without that hit of dopamine. “A 2018 British study tied social media use to decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance”. This just adding to the list of downsides of social media.
Social Media can also make life a little more depressing with the constant comparison of others posting the absolute best parts of their life, or even fake them to get attention. It creates a sense of less worth, or fear of missing, out because you only see the good in another’s life. Who is going to post all the bad things they have going on? These factors can lead to further depression and addiction creating a continuous cycle upon itself. The hidden cost as well is time, and real life experiences you could be having, instead of watching others happy moments in their lives. With the addictive nature of social media you can lose hours a day and not even notice it. That time adds up day after day of wasted chances of real productivity or life enjoyment. There are hidden issues with using social media sites all the time.
As you can see going through your social apps can have it’s advantages and disadvantages. Scrolling through hundreds of profiles for hours on end can be costly, but also with the exposure can give the chance for some real good to be done in dire situations. The lesson to be learned here is that too much of anything is never good. Also to keep in mind that it is not real life and your life is worth something and not to compare others exploits to your own that they post online. With responsible time management, and conscious placement of content, social media can be a force for good, however, can humankind handle it responsibly or will we slowly continue down a more depressing, unfulfilled, and lackluster view on life because of it?