Do you record your every movement on your social media feeds? Do your instagram followers see what you had for breakfast? Your twitter followers understand how you feel about Monday mornings? Do your facebook friends know about the argument you had with your boyfriend/girlfriend last night? Social media has steadily taken over our lives during the course of the past decade, do you remember that last time that you went on holiday and didn’t plaster your wall smugly with photos of the view from your balcony? Or the last time that you had good news and didn’t share it with the virtual community that you have integrated yourself into? For so many of us, social media is an extension of our daily lives. We check Facebook before we roll over to give our other half a kiss good morning and what exactly did people do on their lunch breaks before they could catch up on exactly what Kim Kardashian wore to last nights event? Posting something online gives us a sense of achievement, it allows us to portray to the world the life we want them to view us as having, we can choose our friends and who we follow, we can create groups of specific interest and easily lose hours (we’ve all done it) looking through random photos of people we don’t actually know. It allows us to live in a perfectly created virtual bubble that we ourselves control. Is it true to say that our digital lives have become just as important, if not more so, than our real ones? scientists think so and with the ever-increasing library of new social media sites and applications, it doesn’t look as if the trend is going to diminish anytime soon. Social media is an extremely powerful tool and is undeniably beneficial for both our personal lives, allowing us to connect with people we would have otherwise lost contact with and to share our happy moments with our friends around the globe. It is also hugely important for businesses that wish to engage with their consumer. It is a source of information that allows us to keep up to date with news on real-time, whether it’s the live football score or political happenings, it’s undeniably effective in connecting the world. But what is all this doing to our health? And of course, our mind. Academics and anthropology researchers have been studying the effects of social media use for years and results show that yes, social media is an unifier which has a therapeutic effect on many but on the other end of the scale it is leading to increasingly narcissistic tendencies, especially amongst the younger, more impressionable generation. Studies have shown that overuse of social media can lead to depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders. An over-inflated sense of self-importance should also perhaps be up in there in the findings. It can lead to poor social skills and a difficulty in communicating, which is ironic considering this is caused by communication tools. It can affect our relationships and how we interact with others, relying on other people’s acceptance resembled by a like or a follow or even better, a comment! There are pros and cons for any social phenomenon and although research continues, the use of social media has become an integral and fundamental part of our everyday lives.
Lets just hope the Tinders and Snapchats of the world are a fleeting moment in social media history and not the base on which we set our interaction with others.