Human beings are social creatures with social needs. Being socially connected to other people brings validation and ease into our lives, increases happiness, provides comfort, boosts confidence, and prevents loneliness. Social relationships are meant to lower stress, anxiety, and depression. However, people who are not socially available or lack strong social skills often face loneliness, depression, and other kinds of mental illnesses.
In the current global scenario, people heavily depend on social media platforms to build connections and relationships that are mostly virtual. People use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. to connect with their friends and family all over the world and with those they have not been in touch with for a while. While social media platforms have their benefits and advantages for connecting people from all over the world, virtual relationships made on social media apps cannot be a replacement for human connections and real-life relationships.
It has been proven that relationships made on social media apps do not offer the same set of outcomes that we receive from real-life relationships. The happy hormones that are released after interacting with someone are only triggered by human connections, not virtual relationships. This article outlines how social media has taken over our lives and the benefits we receive from using social media apps for the betterment of our lives.
The positive aspects of social media
1. Communication and staying up-to-date
Being connected to your family who lives in different parts of the world is a blessing in disguise for those who do not get a chance to see them. These social media apps are user-friendly for all people from different generations. It enables them to stay up-to-date and stay in touch with close friends and families. Additionally, social media platforms are a great way to connect with new people and network with people in similar fields of interest. The exposure that social media entails is incomparable to going out in real life to meet people due to its ease and comfort.
2. Outlet for creativity
Many people use social media platforms as an outlet to showcase their creativity and their talent, which they may not be able to showcase in real life due to a lack of opportunities. Many Instagram users use this platform to showcase art, post music or dance videos, talk about their interests and spread awareness about causes. Spreading awareness and educating people on certain topics is trending these days as everyone has access to social media apps, even in the most remote places. There are several outlets on social media platforms such as posting posts, stories or reels. Netizens have effectively taken advantage of these outlets to showcase their creativity to their followers.
3. Discover sources with valuable information
Social media apps such as Instagram and Twitter are filled with pages that provide knowledge on important topics and discussions on trending subjects. It is also easy to access information and search for content that you are looking for. For example, Instagram is a convenient place for people to look for top places to travel to in India, to look for wedding venues in Gurgaon, to look for top nightclubs in Mumbai, etc. All these trusted sources are convenient to access. Hence, people rely heavily on social media apps for recommendations.
4. Build visibility
There are millions of users on each social media platform, looking to making connections, purchase goods/services or establish a business. As an entrepreneur, starting a business on social media platforms gives a visibility boost. It is easier to reach your target audience, use paid advertising to boost promotions, showcase the creative aspect of the brand, and communicate directly with the customers through direct messages. Additionally, viewing insights of every post on Instagram and Facebook gives a clear idea of the engagement activity.
The negative aspects of social media
1. Inadequacy about your life
We all tend to get manipulated by the graphics we see on social media and start feeling inadequate about our own lives. The feeling of insecurity settles in as people are used to watching other people’s highlights on social media and look at their good days and achievements. However, most people do not share their bad days or failures on social media. The experiences people share on social media are often filtered and should be taken with a pinch of salt to avoid depression.
A study has proven that an increase in social media usage can lead to loneliness and feeling of isolation. To be mentally healthy and satisfied, humans need to have face-to-face interactions to feel social satisfaction. It is concluded that reducing social media usage can decrease the feeling of loneliness and isolation, in turn improving your overall well-being. People often have this myth that social media can decrease loneliness and increase social satisfaction. However, that is not true because social media usage only increases loneliness.
Social media users often tend to post their pictures repeatedly on Instagram or Facebook to create content. This leads to becoming more self-centered as they are only focused on their needs and to receive validation. Posting constant selfies can create unhealthy mental habits, increase self-centeredness and make people distant from real-life connections and relationships. Additionally, seeking validation from others is an unhealthy approach towards social media usage.