Down The Rabbit Hole

Down The Rabbit Hole

 

“In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 

Much like Alice tumbling down to Wonderland through the rabbit hole, we as humans tend to follow our whims, especially when bored and scrolling through social media. We could quote Alice once again:

“’Curiouser and Curiouser!’ cried Alice.”

Curiosity in humans coupled with boredom is a powerful motivation to get lost on social media. You’ll be sitting there on social media and you see a cat video that catches your attention. Before you know it, you’ve watched 50 videos and have gone so far away from the topic of the original video that you aren’t exactly sure how you ended up watching Irish people eating Canadian food or flash mob dances.

You just went down the rabbit hole of social media.

This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon in the least. We’ve all ended up on social media scrolling and had our attention is taken from one thing to another and another. An hour later, you’ve gone through Facebook to an article on Buzzfeed to a Wikipedia article and over to Youtube. Due to social media’s influence, “Microsoft found that overall attention spans dropped four seconds over the last ten years from twelve to eight” (Prasse, 2016).

Our limited attention spans mean we are more likely to switch apps and follow our “curiosity” from one thing to another. “You’re likely to lose track of how long you’ve been doing it. You’re probably also going to forget- at least temporarily- what else you should be doing” (CHADD, 2019). Together with our limited attention spans, our curiosity, and the draw of social media in our lives, we will continue to spend copious amounts of time going down “the rabbit hole”.

Have you gone down a rabbit hole? What happened? Did you end up learning something new or just enjoying a laugh?

tumblr_m72wakQypX1qap9q7o1_500For me, the rabbit hole will always draw me in late at night when I should be going to bed but instead, I’m watching Safiya Nygard trying to find clothes blindfolded or Irish people eating some weird food or a music video of a song I love. Luckily, like all rabbit holes and adventures in Wonderland, eventually, we wake up and re-enter the real world.

Sources

Prasse, L. (2016, February 28). Beware of the Social Media Rabbit Hole [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/lab-work/beware-of-the-social-media-rabbit-hole-847b1b9642b1.

CHADD. (2019, January 31). Down the Rabbit Hole: The Internet, Social Media, and ADHD [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://chadd.org/adhd-weekly/down-the-rabbit-hole-the-internet-social-media-and-adhd/

Singh, N. (2019, October 10). Facebook, Instagram like ‘weird rabbit holes’ – social media anxiety is real & here to stay [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://theprint.in/features/facebook-instagram-weird-rabbit-holes-social-media-anxiety-here-to-stay/303149/

Lewis, C. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Retrieved from https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/alice-I.html

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The Anxiety of Social Media

The Anxiety of Social Media

Social media may be connecting us to our friends, family, and strangers from afar. We gain our news, share our opinions, and we can always promote or stand behind a cause or important issue. Despite this ability to connect, mental health issues have come to the forefront especially with heavy social media use. There has been an increase in depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.  As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I find anxiety is impacted the most with social media. With depression, I personally tend to avoid social media which helps.

So why is anxiety impacted by social media? What are the negative side effects of anxiety from using social media? Studies show that “Adolescents who use social media a lot of time show corresponding increases in their levels of anxiety and depression” (Reed, 2020). If adolescents have increased levels of anxiety and depression, it would posit that adults who suffer from anxiety and depression would also see increased levels.

Some negative social media experiences are:

  • Inadequacy about life or appearance

  • Fear of missing out
  • Isolation or feelings of loneliness
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Exclusion of real-world connections
  • Problems falling asleep/lack of sleep

This is by no means a full list, I’m sure. Every person experiences social media differently and even use it in different ways. Although this is true, some do get addicted to social media due to what chemicals it releases in one’s brain.

“It is thought that addiction to social media affects around 5% of young people, and was recently described as potentially more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes… The ‘urge’ to check one’s social media may be linked to both instant gratification (the need to experience fast, short term pleasure) and dopamine production (the chemical in the brain associated with reward and pleasure)” – Edmonds, 2020

All of these negative experiences can increase a person’s anxiety and anxiety symptoms.

A single incident can cause a spiral of anxiety. As anxiety climbs higher and higher, more symptoms appear and an addiction to social media can easily be established as a way to “cope” but in actuality, amplifies one’s anxiety. If a person with anxiety can regulate the amount of time they spend on social media then perhaps their anxiety won’t increase and social media can actually be beneficial.

Has social media taken a toll on your mental health? How would you try to regulate your social media use if you were suffering from anxiety and/or depression? Do you think there are other things that might affect your mental health on social media?

Although social media has a lot of positives, the negatives can sometimes outweigh the usefulness of the positives for some individuals. So, if you need to take a break from your social media, turn off your phone, and enjoy life to the fullest once in a while.

Sources

Robinson, L. and Smith, M. (2002, January). Social Media and Mental Health [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2XxhW9S.

Cuncic, A. (2020, June 29). Social Media and Social Anxiety Disorder [Article]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3ideeKk

Reed, P. (2020, February 03). Anxiety and Social Media Use [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2Xz3RIX

Shensa. A et al. (2018, March 01). Social Media Use and Depression and Anxiety Symptoms: A Cluster Analysis [Article]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/33yLlUS.

Edmonds, Rhys. (2020). Anxiety, loneliness, and Fear of Missing Out [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2C5WEsu

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Online Dating and Social Media

Online Dating and Social Media

online-dating-4465305_1920Relationships make up a vast majority of our interactions on a daily basis. Our social media feeds are filled with our friends’ and family’s lives. As a collective, we tend to post our happiest moments online for all to see. For many younger people, this tends to be focused on romantic/sexual relationships (and their children). Pictures of happy couples and their daily lives are plastered in our timelines (or are they?). This emphasis on romantic relationships in our society tends to make some young people feel insecure about their own relationship status. 

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Ngoh, N. (2017, October 15). Cynicism, Core Product Value, and Chamath [Picture]. Retrieved from http://nicngoh.com/2017-15-10-cynicism-core-product-value-and-Chamath/

Thanks to the internet and social media meeting new people far and wide has made dating online accessible to anyone and everyone. Many online dating sites use the same technology that social media has graced us with. Profiles are filled with selfies, likes, dislikes, and various statuses. Does that sound like Facebook, Instagram? The same is true for dating sites. Some are designed to look exactly like your Instagram account or Facebook profile. Your age, gender, location, and what you want to share about yourself is available to anyone to see. From there… a match will happen.

Once you have a connection, you can interact through text, video chats, and pictures. Every social media channel allows some sort of messaging ability with video and image capabilities. Direct messages or private messages are always improving and changing (thank you dark mode!). Much like social media, you can chat with new connections and share whatever you want to. If you are looking for a serious romantic relationship though, you may need to also block connections that may be looking for a more casual sexual relationship. Just like you would block a former friend or toxic person in your life from seeing your social media feed. Even Rebel Wilson’s Match video is enlightening on the whole subject:

Even if you do find a match, there is always the fact that the relationship will eventually be taken offline. In some cases, there is a move from dating sites to social media itself. Suddenly your personal life is coming face to face with your new potential love interests life. Are they going to find out suddenly that you share a lot of cat photos? Maybe they find old pictures of you with an ex or that you are still friends with your ex. Or maybe you’ll find out they have an obsession with their car or love for Star Wars (maybe you love Star Wars too). This move from dating sites to social media is usually done for the fact that social media’s messaging systems tend to be more user-friendly and relationship responsive. Once this has happened though, social media is now the dating platform itself, and your dating life can now come in contact with your friends and family. Maybe I should apologize for my crazy uncle that always comments on everything I post or my best friend who is sharing memes on my page…

review-facebook-dating-med-2019-09Online dating is nothing new since the internet began but social media has helped immensely. Even Facebook joined the online dating realm by creating Facebook Dating. The app allows Facebook users to find other Facebook matches and if you have friends in common, it shows that too. If you have recently gone to an event or are part of a group, you can also see potential matches as well. Despite Facebook’s moving into the online dating realm, other social media platforms haven’t joined the same trend as of yet. Do you think this is something that will grow into its own trend? Will online dating become easier as social media adapts and changes? 

What will the future hold for online dating with social media? Only time will tell but trust me when I say, online dating during a pandemic isn’t easy but you might just find that diamond in the rough.

Sources

Howard, L. (2016, July 27). 7 Social Media Habits of Happy Couples [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/174682-7-social-media-habits-of-happy-couples

Bonos, L. and Guskin, E. (2019, March 21). It’s not just you: New Data Show More Than Half Of Young People In America Don’t Have A Romantic Partner [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/03/21/its-not-just-you-new-data-shows-more-than-half-young-people-america-dont-have-romantic-partner/

Johnson, A. (2018, March 28). Dating Problems Only Young People Will Understand [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.insider.com/how-dating-is-different-now-2018-3

Thottam, I. Do Young People Really Use Online Dating? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.eharmony.com/young-people-use-online-dating/

Dating Sites

Badoo

Coffee Meets Bagel

Bumble

Match

Facebook Dating

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Niche: The First Marketing Steps

Niche is a word that is thrown around a lot when you talk about marketing, social media, or business. It’s not a word that a lot of people know how to define, to begin with, and it only gets more difficult when it has to be put into the correct context. In this case, for the purposes of this post, a niche is defined as “a specialized market” (Merriam-Webster). While a niche market is often used in marketing to refer to “a focused, targetable portion of a broader market in which specialized products or services can be sold” (Ward) or “a segment of a larger market that can be defined by its own unique needs, preferences, or identity that makes it different from the market at large” (Sheehan).

tumblr_m72ii42HDm1rsy50k

Avengers, 2012

A niche market poses many challenges when trying to advertise on a digital platform but “allows brands to differentiate themselves, appear as a unique authority, and resonate more deeply with a distinct set of customers” (Ward). With the algorithms constantly changing for social media, it is making it harder and harder for small businesses to compete for a piece of your newsfeed. The problem is organic reach in social media isn’t what it used to be when platforms first started out. This forces small businesses with niche markets to get creative and ensure they target their customers as effectively as possible. As a consumer, we all want our newsfeeds to be filled with what we are interested in and are often annoyed by ads that pop up along the way especially when it feels less relevant to you, your interests, or what products/services you are currently looking into.

Who is your target market? Who is your ideal market? Who is your ideal customer? Finding your target market has to be your first step. If your market isn’t particular niche, you will still have to figure out your ideal market. If you can carve out a niche market, you are off to a great start. Sometimes you may have multiple niche markets because not everyone has one ideal customer with their product (or range of products). Asking who you are customer or customers are then the logical place to start.

Once you’ve figured out your target market, the next thing you have to consider for a niche market is what platforms to use that will optimize your exposure. Ask yourself, “which platforms are most relevant to your woman-1225259_1920business” (Hayder). Is one platform likely to be more efficient to selling your brand? Is your product heavily visual? Perhaps then Twitter isn’t the likely platform you might turn to. Instagram or Pinterest might be better suited for your needs. What about competitors? Is one platform oversaturated with similar products as your business? Or is your market so unique that you might be able to use any platform to get your customers? (That’s highly unlikely but it’s best to ask as many questions as possible to help narrow the field). Is your audience older or younger? Facebook is known for having an older audience whereas Instagram or Snapchat are younger. Is your customers more female or male? Supposedly, Twitter skews more male whereas Pinterest is more female (a former professor mentioned this yet I haven’t seen evidence to support this). Do you think platforms are likely to attract certain genders than others? If so, which ones and why?

Hashtag-watercolour-620x344I believe the easiest way to get started with targeting those niche markets is through the use of hashtags. They have become a marketer’s best friend because you can target specific industries with the right words. Using a customized hashtag or a hashtag that is being used in that industry or market can allow your business to be discovered by the right customers. This is just one step in how a niche market can be targeted. Overtime this one small strategy can have a large impact on small businesses and niche markets.

These three steps are the foundation of starting your social media marketing for business but it becomes even more important when dealing with niche markets. What do you think about finding a niche market? What’s the easiest strategy for small businesses and/or niche markets to target their customers?

There is always so many questions, strategies, and more that encompass marketing. You have to start somewhere and ultimately, find your own niche.

Resources:

Hayder, Shama. 5 awesome Digital Marketing Strategies for Niche Businesses. Zen Media. https://zenmedia.com/blog/5-awesome-digital-marketing-strategies-for-niche-businesses/. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Kosaka, Kim. Here’s How To Handle Niche Marketing. Alexa. https://blog.alexa.com/niche-marketing/. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Sheehan, Alexandra. Finding Your Niche: 8 Niche Market Examples to Inspire You. Shopify Blog. 28 June 2019, https://www.shopify.ca/blog/niche-markets. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Ward, Susan. Definition and Examples of a Niche Market. The Balance Small Business. 13 February 2020, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/niche-market-definition-for-business-2947188. Accessed 10 July 2020.

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