Our world is getting smaller and smaller and it’s partly because of social media. With platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, we get to see what our friends are up to, reconnect with childhood buddies, and see what our relatives are currently doing, even if they’re halfway across the globe.
For many though, social media has become more than just a communication tool. It has turned into a distraction. Thanks (or no thanks) to smartphones and tablets, access to social networks are just several button presses and finger swipes away, whether you’re commuting, in an important meeting, or on the toilet. (Check out my article on Nomophobia.)
That said, what specific negative effects does social media have on its billions of users? Here are some of them:
It leads to more spending.
According to research, excessive use of social media might lead to lower self-control, which means you could end up spending more. This is probably because of the staggering amount of products to buy, places to go to, and food to eat populating your social media news feed. A way to counter this is simply to raise your self-awareness – catch yourself before getting that urge to spend.
It brings out negative emotions.
Let’s face it, many people like to showboat on social media. What we don’t realize is that what they’re often broadcasting is only a tiny portion of their otherwise just-as-normal-as-yours lives. By being bombarded only with “highlights” of other people’s lives, it might lead you to falsely think your own life is boring by comparison. The grass is always greener …
It can cause misunderstanding.
With friends, coworkers, relatives, acquaintances and other people all lumped into a single group, having such a motley crew as your “audience” can cause a negative impact on real-life relationships. Said something snarky about Taylor Swift? Get ready to face your nine-year-old niece’s wrath. “Liked” a photo of a model who just happens to be your friend? Good luck explaining that to your girlfriend. You get the picture.
It invades your privacy.
Because social media encourages users to share information about their lives, intimate details you’d rather not share with certain individuals are left out in the open, if you’re not careful. All your profanity-laced rants, drunk photos, and other potentially embarrassing stuff from several years ago can come back to haunt you, as they’re left floating indefinitely in cyberspace. There often is no delete button…
It takes you out of the moment.
It’s a glorious summer day at the beach. A certain urge compels you to whip out your smartphone and take a picture of that beautiful sunset. You take another. And another. And another, but this time from that nearby Tiki hut that will give you plenty of shade. Excellent! You’ve captured the perfect photo to share on social media. Now it’s time to wait for likes and retweets!
Perhaps its biggest negative effect, social media replaces the simple act of savoring real-life moments with that perpetual urge to share them. Because we’re so eager to share moments of our life with others, it becomes our first reaction whenever we experience something we should simply be enjoying as it happens.
This short video says it all.