I remember the first time I set up a social media account. I thought it was really incredible how I could use it to easily stay in touch with people. The likes of Instagram, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are really amazing platforms for us to share a part of our lives with people we don’t get to see everyday.
However, like other things, there is an ugly side to social media There have been nights out with friends whom I have not seen for more than a year, only to have everyone on their smartphones “connecting” with people on their screens who are miles away from them.
These negative side effects that social media has on us is definitely something that we should not take lightly despite the many benefits it offers
It Creates An Addiction To Fake Relationships
It gets addictive, and what do we get addicted to? A false sense of connection with others.
Although we can create good relationships through social media, but if we use it as the only outlet of connecting with another human being, we would not have a real form of connection at all.
Nothing can beat eye contact and genuine conversations. If our first form of communication with another human being is through a computer screen, this may deter how we form relationships with others.
We Hide Behind A Mask
The thing about social media is that we curate a version of ourselves for the rest of the world to see. I am not sure if I can speak for other Millennials, but at times I do feel that I am not exactly who I portray to be on these platforms.
We are pressured to create an image of a perfect life and to share only the awesome parts of our lives because we feel there is a need to show and tell others about only the good things. Otherwise, they won’t mean anything. That shouldn’t be the way.
There are also those who use social media as a mask for cyber bullying. Some people find comfort behind anonymity to be completely rude and horrible to others. They feel like they could get away with nasty comments if they don’t reveal their true selfs and they would never have to deal with it in person. This gives some the sense of security that they can say whatever they want or feel.
The kind of commitment issues that occur are not just in the sense of a guy and a girl interested in one another as partners but in other types of relationships as well.
People are facing commitment issues beyond their cyber image. I have heard of two people who keep a close knit relationship online but in reality, they could not be further apart from one another.
Social media has created a self-absorbed culture, where we are obsessed with selfies and are in constant need of approval from others.
Relationships have become more of a social bond for us to attain our own goals due to the selfish culture that social media has spawned.
Culture of Loneliness
As a result of creating the “perfect” lifestyle online, we shape a culture of loneliness. It gets tiring to keep the image of a perfect life especially when we’re offline. It can be quite demotivating to constantly think and compare yourself to everyone else.
How many people in that huge number of friends list can we really trust and share things with? Beyond the cold lighted screen, how can we possibly tell how a person sounds like when he or she speaks? If he or she is even sincere? There is only so much exclamation marks, capital letters, “haha”, “sigh”, “haihz”and “lol” can do to express our true feelings.
Once our relationships with others become a shallow shell, our lives can get quite lonely as the need of isolation increases.
I know it’s ironic that I am talking about the problems of social media through social media itself. I am still in awe of and do not deny that it has awesome benefits.
Yes, these problems have already existed even before social media. But, for us to ignore how it has helped to aggravate these issues would be us ignoring our responsibilities on how we consume these social media sites.
We need to be clear that these social media sites are mere tools for a bigger goal and that is to create a true connection with another. The day we start treating the number of likes and followers as our goals is the day we need to reflect on ourselves.
What do you think? Have you encountered these issues as a social media user? If so, how would you address these issues?