Impact of Social Media on Social Interactions

As we are all probably aware now, social medial impacts our personal everyday lives. We use social media to communicate with one another without needing to be within close proximity of each other – allowing for constant communication from anywhere in the world.

If we did not have social media, we would need to interact with each other in person to have any social interaction at all. Therefore, social media has definitely impacted the way we socially interact online but also in person.

Social Media and In Person Interactions

For example, we would use our social media to communicate with someone about meeting them in person. Then, when we meet this person, it is likely that we are still consumed by our social media on our devices to a certain extent. Personally, when I am accompanied by someone, I keep my phone usage to a minimum so I can live in the present moment. This article is helpful in understanding how limiting your screen time can help you live in the present moment.

However, it is quite normal to take a Snapchat/Instagram story while with other people to show to your followers. It is normal to use your social media when with someone just as much as you would when you are alone. The impact here that social media has on our social interactions makes time spent together seem less important/meaningful if one is always consumed by what is happening online. It is almost like they would rather be on social media alone than be with you, which can hurt. The picture below is a good example of this.

“Someone’s email is better than someone else’s … at Orlando airport” by Ed Yourdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Impact of Social Media Prior to Meeting Someone

There is also the way that social media impacts our social interactions prior to meeting someone. For example, have you ever come across someone’s Instagram profile one day and then seen them the next day out of coincidence? Your first impression of this person comes from their online persona which impacts the way you see them in real life – even if you have not met them yet. You may feel like they are not someone you want to interact with in person at all after seeing their online persona first; resulting in you avoiding them in person at all costs. However, if you did not see their Instagram profile prior, you would not have any beliefs about them which would allow you to have an open mind and potentially become friends with them. 

This also works the other way around. Maybe someone’s online persona attracts you and makes you want to meet them and so you initiate a conversation – leading to eventually meeting them in person and building a friendship/relationship.

A Suggestion while Scrolling

With this in mind, I truly think it is important to remember that things online are the highlights of people’s lives since they are choosing to showcase it to the world. I suggest practicing having a filter while scrolling through social media to avoid your opinion of someone being biased before you meet them.

Facebook: Have you let someone’s post bias your opinion of them before you even met them?

Twitter: Do you put your phone aside when with company? Or at least try to? #limitscreentime

The Appropriate Age of Social Media Users

Who doesn’t have social media these days? Everyone from business’s, to parents, teens, young adults and even some children have social media. But what is the appropriate age to consume everything that social media has to offer.

My Experience

Personally, I remember getting a phone in grade 6 when I was 12 years old. However, this phone was no iPhone. It did not have all the capabilities that a smart phone today has. I could only call, text and play some classic games on this phone. It looked similar to the one displayed below.

“Xperia X10 Mini Pro” by code_martial is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In grade 7 I remember getting an android which opened up a whole new world for me. I was 13 and I remember downloading all social media that was popular – Instagram, Snapchat and even Twitter. I was not really sure how to use these platforms, nor did I have a goal while using them at the ag for 13. However, I do remember my parents not wanting me to have any social media. The reason being that they did not want my name or face on the internet.

With their opinions in mind, I used social media, but I did not show my face. I used my accounts privately – making sure my accounts were private and not posting on my story at all or showing my face. I also used an alias as my name so that my real name was not available to the internet.

I do understand why they did not want me to have social media as they too are private people however, not I would more so think they did not want me to have social media due to all the information that is on social media that a young teenager would consume differently than an a young adult (18+). Also, because something that I may put on the internet when I am 10-12 years old I will probably not want on the internet anymore when I am 15 or 16. I probably would not even want things from when I was 15 or 16 on the internet right now. It is “cringey” as some would say. 

Emma on TikTok

For example, there is this child who is 9 years old on TikTok who draws doodles about her family and posts videos explaining her doodles. Her name is Emma and her profile can be found here. From what she says, her family is really interesting to say the least. Her first video got a lot of publicity (over 11 million views and almost 3 million likes) which allowed her to gain a lot of followers (me being one of them). It was a rare and funny story, and people are drawn to the family aspect as most of us do have families. However, even though her family knows that she is posting these things about them (without their faces), I feel like in a few years she may regret sharing this private information about her family if she decides she wants to show her face at any point. Only time will tell.

With all this being said, what age do you think you would allow your child to have social media on their iPods/iPads or phones? Or maybe you would just allow them to play games on your phone as these kids seem to b doing below.

“Ivy & Kid play phone game” by Tri Nguyen | P h o t o g r a p h y is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Facebook: What age do you think a child can think for themselves on social media?

Twitter: Would you let your child’s face be on their social media? #nofacenocase

Social Media’s Power in Identity

Social media is a very powerful tool. So powerful, some may not realize its’ potential in their lives. In my opinion, social media has the potential to change one’s perspective about others and themselves – resulting in them changing their identity. 

What is identity?

In short, your identity is the image that you have for yourself. It is what you genuinely believe to be true about yourself. In other words, your identity is your self-image. With that being said, your identity is not set in stone. It is indeed malleable and can be changed to anything that you desire.

Social Media and Your Identity

As you are active on your social media accounts, you inevitably begin to carry an online presence. This online presence is likely different from the one that you portray in real life as it is common to show only the highlights of your life online and keep the “behind the scenes” – well behind the scenes. Therefore, you have essentially created an online identity for yourself and for others to view.

Lil Miquela’s Identity

An interesting example of this is Lil Miquela- a CGI model/influencer with almost 3 million followers on instagram. She gained many followers as people were curious and couldn’t tell whether she was a real person or not. Her online identity ended up being faked. Lil Miquela was created by Brud (the company behind the virtual influencer) whom admitted she was an entirely made up character with human like features. Before people knew the truth behind Lil Miquela – it was thought to believe she was a real girl using CGI to portray her identity. However, now that we know the truth, this goes to show how simple it is for someone to create an online persona that is different from their identity in real life. More on Lil Miquela and her story can be read here.

So, if social media has the power to change your identity online (if you allow it), I believe it can also have the potential to change your identity in reality, and then also change your life. 

Social Media and Your Self Image

Your identity is what you believe to be true about your self – your self-image; and your self-image therefore is also what other people view you as. These beliefs of yourself are reflected back to you in reality through other people also perceiving you as what you perceive yourself to be. If you genuinely think highly of yourself, that is what others will also think of you since that is the energy that you are giving off into the universe.

I urge you to look in the mirror (like the girl below), and ask yourself how you would describe yourself, and how other people would describe you. These are likely to be the same answer.

“Self-Image” by Zorah Olivia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tying this into social media, your pictures, tweets and posts reflect a certain self-image that you have for yourself. People who have never met you in person can see your online presence and that online persona is then their perception of you – your brand. This goes to show how important your social media presence truly is. 

After reflecting on this online presence, you have made for yourself, it can help you realize some things about yourself and urge you to change your identity to your desired one – along with your social media presence.

However, your social media presence that you put forward for everyone to see can have adverse effects on your identity and mental health as well. If you believe that your social media presence is superior to that of your identity in real life, then you will experience the emotions and the reality of that being true. It is truly all about your perspective and your underlying beliefs about yourself. 

Twitter: Do your tweets reflect who you really are? Or do they reflect who you want to be? #askyourself

Facebook: Do your pictures and posts portray your identity? Let’s find out.

The Underlying Truth of Social Media

What Really is Social Media?

Social media – platforms in which we all use every day to interact with content creators and each other. Social media has truly changed the way we communicate with one another and how we intake information. It is very convenient how we can contact and interact with anyone just with a few clicks on our phone or laptop.

From email to Twitter, Instagram and blog posts. Social media has gradually shaped the way we live our lives.

Social Media in our Daily Lives

It is quite common for the average person to wake up and check their phone for notifications that they missed while sleeping. Whether it be emails, snapchats, texts or even the amount of likes they got on their Instagram post overnight.

It is concerning sometimes to see how social media has taken over some people lives. Have you ever been with someone in person, but it is like their presence is missing because they are too focused on what is happening on their phone? Or they are too busy taking selfies for their snapchat stories.

As shown below, the woman does not seem to impressed with her date’s mannerisms as he takes a picture of their drinks.

“Communication?” by Stemack Street is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This has unfortunately become normal in many people lives.

Social media and its potential

While social media can be toxic and time consuming if not used properly, it can also help in launching a career/business. Many people have taken advantage of social media to define their brand/niche and find their audience throughout the world. 

For example, TikTok – an app designed for creators to create short videos – has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Many creators have managed to gain popularity on this app very quickly, allowing them to promote their other assets – such as their YouTube channels, Instagram accounts or online stores.

“tik-tok-Image” by chantellervheerden is marked with CC PDM 1.0

This promotional strategy is very promising as it guarantees traction to your other online presences.

We can also look at Twitter – a platform mainly used for microblogging – as a way in which people have been able to reach and update their audience within 280 characters. Twitter allows content creators to have a more personal connection with their audience as their tweets are more informal and also relatable. Hashtags are very important while using twitter as this is how new people from anywhere in the world can come across your content. It’s also very common for popular content creators on Twitter to include a link in their bio for their followers to click and engage with.

Without social media, getting content to your audience everyday would be very difficult – almost impossible. 

Pros and Cons of Social Media

There is a balance that comes with social media. A balance that many of us lack. While it can help contact your friends in another country and also make you laugh at funny posts it can also be a toxic for your mental health.

Since social media is designed for people to post anything they want, you must be able to think for yourself and have your own opinions. Discernment is a very good skill to have while working in the social media field or even just scrolling through Instagram. 

Social media is designed to be addicting as these apps and platforms want your active presence so they too can make money. It is common for popular creators to take a break from being in the spotlight and log off their accounts for an extended period of time due to the effects that social media has on their mental health.

Here you can find a blog post about why it is important to take a social media break and tips on how to do so.

Take Back Your Control

It is important to understand that even though social media allows you to feel validated by people whom you don’t really know personally – you are already validation enough as you are. In my opinion it is necessary to remember to put your phone aside (maybe even on DND) and be in the present moment at least once a day. 

You don’t need to be posting a picture every day on Instagram or Snapchat. If you are seeking fame and recognition on social media and constantly chasing it – it won’t come as easily or as quickly as you would like. 

Rather than posting things in hopes of getting followers and likes, I’d recommend first defining your niche and posting things that relate to this topic – things that you genuinely enjoy doing – such as your hobbies or things that have the intention of helping others. 

Below is an instagram post by @justintanyj which captures a unique perspective of skyscrapers. It is clear that by this post he is a photographer focusing more on industrial photography and also a digital content creator.

“Instagram Post @justintanyj” by justintanyj is licensed under CC BY 2.0

His instagram profile can be found here for more very cool and colourful pictures.

Facebook: The Underlying Truth of Social Media – Become Aware and Never Look Back.

Twitter: The Underlying Truth of Social Media – Take your Power Back #truthseekers