Who has not had a personal revelation and realized that it would make for a great Facebook status update or tweet? Or perhaps something hilarious happened in front of you and your first thought was that you had to share it with your social media community. More and more, our online personas are getting crossed up with our actual personas, causing us to think and create in terms of what will win us attention and praise in our social media circles. This is unhealthy for a number of reasons.
The level at which social media has infiltrated our brains is disturbing. We are not thinking in a natural way or truly living in the moment when we project our thoughts and ideas to a future social media post. It used to be that our private thoughts were private, but presently we carry our social media audience with us wherever we go. We try to think thoughts that would make them laugh, move them and make them think. This inhibits the free flow of ideas that used to come to us effortlessly.
Our focus on being a memorable social media presence is off putting. We have too much of our identities wrapped up in social media. When we have reached the point that our thoughts are only worth having if they would appeal to a social media audience, we have problems. We should be establishing thought and behavior patterns that reflect who we are as individuals and what our personal value systems are. Social media is qualified as a legitimate addiction because of how alluring and accessible it is. We need to be keenly aware of behaviors within ourselves that could reflect an addiction to social media. We need to identify these behaviors and eradicate them in order to be a productive society.
If you catch yourself thinking, “I’ve got to post that later” or “I can’t wait to tweet about this,” a little too frequently, stop to think about whether or not your mental health is in jeopardy.
For most of human history, personal relationships were limited to in-person interactions or long distance communication. With the emergence of electronic communication, the internet and finally social media, in-person interactions were no longer the primary method of forming personal relationships. Social media interactions are replacing much of what in-person interactions used to provide, and this is creating an epidemic of removed, absent, half-interested personal relationships.
Social media may feel like a natural part of our present social landscape, but there is heavy debate and controversy over how social media affects our culture. Often times, the verdict is not a positive one. Social experts typically conclude that social media is making our personal relationships more removed, our attitudes more narcissistic and our human connections passive instead of active.
The human connections that are made through social media are passive instead of active. Social media is removed from reality. It may follow reality, but it is not a real medium of existence. Therefore, people do not feel the full measure of their actions, choices or consequences on social media. They perceive a numbed version of reality and of making connections. This is dangerous to culture at large because if people cannot remember how to form real connections with one another, they will not be able to sustain their relationships or connections with any kind of substance.
And lastly, social media is also frequently associated with the emergence of narcissistic attitudes and self focus. Our own social media pages are celebrations of the self, like digital shrines. Social media does not require a person to take an interest in others. In fact, the focus that people place on social media is how they, as individuals, are represented online. Social media culture is one of self interest and self satisfaction. People abuse social media as a means of seeking copious amounts of attention.