Since the advent of the computer and the internet, the world has changed significantly. The fastest era of technological advancement till date is indeed the era starting from the nineteenth century and still going. A lot has changed due to the rapid growth in technology. And while some of these changes are desirable, some are alas undesirable. Technological advancement after all is not always positive. Still, we cannot ignore its astonishing contribution to human lives. Manpower is becoming increasingly redundant, as it gives way to the era of mechatronics, artificial intelligence, and robotics. The internet has also enhanced business transactions, international trade, online educational programs, news broadcast, culture and learning, quick message delivery, and of course social interaction with people across the world.
The existence of such social networks as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp has facilitated social exchanges and enabled people to stay connected regardless of their physical distance. People can share their ideas, experiences, and opinions on various subjects, without having to travel far. There’s also a chance to have a group discussion online, as five, ten, or hundred people come together to facilitate learning and experience. What’s not to love about social media? If used wisely, one can derive tremendous benefits from them.
There are social media that allow for the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and experiences about life, career, work, sport, entertainment, the academe, and so on. People who have access to such online communities reap wonderful benefits that include learning more things and passing time deriving satisfaction in what they do. They also contribute to these communities through changing other people’s lives as they share some of their valuable and informative experiences/ideas. People may find support in other people who have experienced and overcome the crisis they are presently going through. And they get to meet other people who share similar ideas, visions, perspectives, and interest.
While the social media can make you more intelligent, knowledgeable, informed, and wiser. Most social media, however, have their negative impacts. Although, there are a few communities online that are concerned about expanding knowledge and helping people, most social networking sites (especially the popular ones) allow for meaningless social exchanges and rivalries, despite having been designed to help people connect with their loved ones and make new friends. It should be known that there’s also so little fulfilment in connecting with people online, and there’s far more satisfaction in meeting them in person. As a result, social networking does the exact opposite it was intended for, which is that it makes you lonelier; it doesn’t satisfy your social needs sufficiently.
Some social media have also become a platform for meaningless showoffs. For example, since we can’t drive our fancy new cars to your houses (as it is stressful and now needless), we can simply take a photograph of them and post them on Facebook with the status, ‘My brand new car!’ (or a more subtle, yet intendedly showy status). Most people show off on Social media in order to attract attention, more admiration, and more friends. They are seriously concerned about the number of likes and positive feedbacks they get. The more the number of likes they receive, and the greater the attention they draw through positive comments, the greater will be their euphoria. And since most people will jump on any chance to become celebrities, popular social media enable them to experience their fantasies.
Have you ever wondered why most people on social media flaunt what they have and what they have accomplished? This is because people tend to admire, respect, and drift towards happy and successful people, while people tend to avoid unhappy and unsuccessful people. Our need for attention and respect drives us towards flaunting the enviable and wonderful things we have on social media, while our fear of rejection and disrespect keeps us from sharing those unpleasant experiences we are having.
Our acts of showoff and flaunt do not go down well with some people, because what seems like our success, progress or fortune in life tends to make other people feel inferior, unfortunate, and under-accomplished. For these people, social media can trigger feelings of depression, dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. Reading the personal information of a former classmate on Facebook can lower your spirit when you discover that he/she has a far better job and earns a far higher income than you. The experience could even be worse if you are relatively unemployed. The wonderful travel photos, lavish parties, and splendid time-out with friends may remind you of how apparently unfortunate you are. Surely, this will lower the quality of your life.
In addition, visiting the social media can be quite addictive. Our deep need for social approval and acceptance is best reflected by social media. We want to know if other people respect us, and want to be convinced that we are valued and highly regarded. The idea of being respected and admired by other people is indeed intoxicating. And we just never seem to get enough of it. If we are popular, we fear that we may become less popular, that we are losing our spark, and that other people are beginning to find us uninteresting. We also want to know what’s happening in other people’s lives, the crazy things happening around the world, and so on; all of which are largely needless.
An addiction to social media is bound to have a negative impact on your intellectuality and creativity. People who spend more time on social media spend less time creating and imagining. The time and energy required to accomplish meaningful and significant goals in life are lavished on social media. School assignments are unattended to, academic studying is kicked to the back seat, personal development is ignored, as people become more and more addicted to social media.
Social media also allows you to stalk other people, as you try to compare your accomplishments and quality of life to those of others. For example, you wonder if you have a better job or are having a happier life than your friends’, all of which are needless, disturbing, and time-wasting. Comparing your accomplishments with those of your friends’ is shallow and weak, and reflects how lowly you think about yourself. As a result, you are incapable of enjoying life as you ought to.