The Mustang Messenger

The Impact of Social Media on Our Society

Mindy Cho and Grace Schlafer, Writers

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From waking up in the morning with the desire to check Snapchat, to being able to check the news almost instantly with Twitter, we have become a society that relies on social media for every aspect of our lives. Social media has provided us with instant communication, a way to stay connected with others, and the ability to receive news from a long distance in a short period of time; however, what are the consequences of social media now being the new “norm?” The effects now proven to be direct results from social media help us see the bigger picture on what social media may (or may not, depending on your outlook) do for us.

The most obvious observation I have noticed with the increase in usage of social media is the decrease in patience people have. With technology now able to spread information so rapidly, people have developed a need for instant gratification. Since 2016, data from the Pew Research Center has suggested 51% to 76% of people worldwide use social media daily. 

Not only there has been a drop in patience, there has been a decline in the development of social skills. Social media can cause people to lose the ability to produce complex ideas and meaningful relationships. Rather than saying that it makes us “dumber”, researchers suggest it acts as a huge roadblock. Social media has been so-often used; our brains have adjusted to this simple activity. In a 2016 study, scientists found that people using social media have the “reward” brain circuits activated, which is the same as eating chocolate or winning an award. This often happens to teens, since their brains are still developing and the reward circuitry is sensitive at that time.

What feels like one minute can suddenly become hours spent scrolling through Instagram. Many people these days have an addiction to social media, and it often disrupts their schedule and work. In a 2015 study, the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks everyday. This has steadily increased every year.

In addition, social media has led us to become desensitized to many topics. We access to technology at any time and place, and we are able to access many resources in an instant. But when do we enter information overload? We cannot control what is on the web. Once something is posted, no matter if it has been removed or deleted, it is on the web forever.

Social media has also damaged our communication skills and relationships with others. Being that most of our communication is formed on social media, our lack of direct contact with one another has caused detachment within our society. This has hampered the skills needed to create quality relationships with one another because we now rely on our social media profiles and instant messaging to do the work for us. Without out the ability to efficiently communicate with one another, eventually, we will lose a way to form connections with one another; connections which are valuable to sustain one’s mental health.

Moreover, social media causes more negative effects than positive resolutions to our society. If we reduce the time we spend on technology, and start spending more time living in the moment with others instead of worrying about capturing the experience via Snapchat or Instagram, maybe we would come to new realizations. Without the usage of social media, the world might be better off.

 

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