Social media usage has skyrocketed over the last few years. Especially in the last decade. At the start of the 2000s, only 5% of Americans had social media accounts. Today, that number is close to 80%.
Experts have displayed some concern over the current workings of social media. Especially, the amount of time spent on them daily. An average person in the age-group of 16 to 32 spends approximately 5 hours of their day on social media. Everyone from teachers, parents, and policymakers have expressed their concern towards these alarming statistics.
Over the last couple of years, a huge amount of research has gone into the impact of social media. Its impact on our society and our individual lives.
Although extensive research is still in progress, it comes to light that social media is having a less than positive impact on our psychological well-being.
Especially in the life of the younger generation.
It is an Inevitable Part of Our Life Now
With Facebook celebrating it’s 15th-anniversary last year, it’s safe to say that social media has been an integral part of the life of many. The younger generation in many ways grew up on and with social media platforms. It is a large driving force that influences the way they think and act.
However, this does not apply to youngsters only. Social media is highly influential in the life of adults as well.
Today, social media does not just have influence over fashion and food trends, in fact, it has started to control many important aspects of our life. From the national elections to staging coups, social media has played an important role in every historic thing that has happened over the last decade.
Take the US Elections, for example, the viral documentary that Netflix released last year, showed the crucial social media, Facebook, in particular, played in the 2016 presidential elections.
This is one such example that should help you understand how influential social media is in everything we do today.
Impact of Social Media on Various Aspects of the Society
Social media has helped us a lot.
We can’t deny that.
These social media platforms all come along with a long list of pros and cons. This is not surprising, considering everything around us does come with its own set of positives and negatives. But experts seem to believe that, in the case of social media the negatives seem to outweigh the positives.
Social media platforms have helped us get in touch with people all over the world but, they have given us access to unlimited entertainment, helped businesses flourish.
But, one of the biggest downfalls of social media is that anybody can post anything on these platforms. There is no regulation on what’s right and wrong.
This among other things has caused huge problems in various aspects of society. Leading to increased cases of fake news and even online bullying.
These are only some of the negative impacts.
Lets’ have a look at how social media truly impacts various aspects of society:
Impact on Businesses
The popularity of social media has clearly changed the way businesses work around the world.
Today, most large scale businesses operate online. With 92% of the large scale cooperations having at least 2 social media accounts. These accounts are generally used to engage with the audience, stay in trend, and at the same time promote the brand. In the current world, to stay on top of the market, it equally imparts to remain the talk of the town. Companies use social media to achieve this goal. Mainly with the use of memes, creative advertisements, and other entertaining content.
Companies soon figured the benefits of social media and shifted immediately. Considering it reaches a larger audience and is way cheaper, that was definitely a good call. Social media enabled businesses to access a larger customer base, while also providing opportunities for increasing their profit margin.
We as a society like to feel included in everything that’s happening around us and social media allows a business to make us feel included. You get to interact with the brands you like and also give any feedback you have in real-time.
Impact on Relationships
The biggest impact of this aspect is the problem of social displacement. This is a fear that has been a concern for many. It’s a concern that the increasing amount we spend on social media on a daily basis is taking away from the face-to-face time spent in real life.
Irrespective of the research that has been done in this aspect, don’t you notice this happening in your life too?
How often do you see a group of people or a couple?
Who are having a meal together, but are still engrossed in their phones.
Be it, taking the perfect picture to Instagram or replying to a quick work message, digital media has taken over every aspect of our life today.
In one study, participants kept a daily log of time spent doing 19 different activities during weeks when they were and were not asked to abstain from using social media. In the weeks when people abstained from social media, they spent more time browsing the internet, working, cleaning, and doing household chores.
However, during these same abstention periods, there was no difference in people’s time spent socializing with their strongest social ties.
Over the years this has been a point of concern in many relationships, as per therapists around the globe. With the internet ruling everything in a relationship, from the beginning to the end, the impact is huge. Many couples have now started to keep their relationships away from social media, due to the negative impact it has on a couple.
The problem of social displacement does not apply to romantic relationships alone. It affects all the relations in our life. Even friendships and familial relationships.
People today online relationships over spending time in real life. This is a matter of concern.
Impact on Politics
Social media has impacted politics in more ways than you can imagine. These social media platforms are usually where most people get their daily dose of news. News first breaks on the internet, before it does in traditional media houses.
But, due to the lack of regulation in these media platforms, there has been a rampant rise in fake news and this has greatly affected politics in the real world.
Another huge issue with social media is that it leads to the creation of echo chambers. Once you’re on social media, you only follow the pages and people you like and have similar opinions with.
As a result of this, you are never exposed to a different point of view, be it right or wrong. According to The Pew Research Centre, these echo chambers paired with the excessive advertising and rampant fake news greatly helped the Republicans win the 2017 presidential elections.
This example alone should help you understand the impact social media has on politics, be it local politics or global.
These online platforms also allow people to air out their political grievances to their political leaders and demand for actions to be taken. It’s also a medium where mass political rallies are formed, campaigns are carried out and even political unrests are most felt.
Impact on Teens
The impact of social media platforms has been the highest on teens across the globe. With many growing up on social media, their lives have been influenced by social media in unimaginable ways. From the fashion sense, language, food trends, to even educational decisions and performances, everything is dictated by social media.
Research shows that over 90% of teens have a social media account and are mainly active on it. Experts suggest that the ideal amount of time to be spent on social media daily is between 30 minutes to one hour.
But, an average teen spends approximately 6 hours on social media.
With plenty of available social media platforms like Reddit, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Tumblr, etc, many find it extremely hard to get off the phone. This is dangerous because internet usage is an escalating behavior and with time many amongst the younger generations have shown signs of internet addiction.
Apart from this social media also seems to be having highly negative effects on the mental health of teenagers and young adults. To know more about this, you can check out this article here.
These are just some ways in which social media has affected the society globally. How have these social media platforms impacted your life? We’d love to hear your point of view!