How Social Media Has Changed Us

Communication has developed a lot since the world has developed into being more high-tech and fast pace. We connected with people first through the telegraph, then the landline telephone, and now we can interact with people anywhere in the world in a fraction of a second. Emails, phone calls, text messages, and now social media.

Investopedia defines social media as “a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas and information and the building of virtual networks and communities”. Social media is the perfect tool to connect people all over the world in a second, and all the users of social media share and consume the information they see on social media.

The creation of social media had many benefits. It’s a quick and efficient way to share information and news to a wide-spread amount of people all at once, people can participate freely in conversations, and it helps to maintain old or far away friendships. Though, there are also a lot of negatives to social media.

The phenomenon of social facilitation is how the perceived presence of others influences us subconsciously through an increased number of hormones being released. Social media gives people the illusion that they are always being watched, that someone is always paying attention to what they post.

Social facilitation can influence what we post on social media, because often times because only like to post the best parts of their life on their social media profiles, and prefer to leave out the bad parts.

It’s easy to slip into a habit of wanting to represent yourself on social media as having the best possible life, and many users of social media apps want to have thousands and thousands of followers. Sometimes, I even find myself stressing over what people are going to think about the picture I post, or the tweet I write, or the Snapchat on my story.

I wonder what people are thinking of me and if they are judging me for my post. It causes anxiety for me sometimes, thinking how many people are going to see my post.

Social media has really changed how we perceive our peers and other people’s lives. There has been so many times that I’ve watched people take a picture, and then take it again, and the retake it, and again and again this cycle goes on until they feel like they took the perfect picture to post. Countless people Photoshop their pictures before up uploading it on Instagram or Facebook.

And Snapchat users will spend an abundant amount of time picking the right filters, GIFs, and stickers to add to their picture before adding it to their story. It has become a cycle of always trying to make our lives look perfect and pretty, because we want the people who follow us or stumble across our profile to think that our lives are just as grand as we portray them to be on our social media accounts. And we continue to post again and again just so people perceive that we are constantly having fun, and our lives are perfect.

The propinquity effect and mere exposure effect may play a part in way people are so obsessed with always being seen and known on social media. The propinquity effect is the idea that the more we see and interact with a person, the more we are likely to be there friend, and the mere-exposure effect is the more interaction we have to a stimulus, the more we are going to like that stimulus.

It’s possible that people believe if they post more, and they post only content of the good things in their life, then maybe people will like them more.

It’s not possible to completely be able to answer this, but I do believe that relationships have greatly changed since social media started booming. Social facilitation, the propinquity effect, and the mere exposure effect – more so the mere exposure effect because we are not physically interacting with anyone on social media.

Everyone wants to be liked, and everyone wants people to think they’re cool and adventurous and attractive, and maybe that’s why we try to effortlessly to only display the parts of our lives where those things seem to be true.

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