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Missing out on social life for social media

Social media is a way of life in the 21st century. Many go through the day constantly checking their Facebook and Twitter feeds, and smart phones have made it even easier to access these social media sites. The world is more connected through social media but the connection with society brings negative effects with it.

Over 1.71 billion people used Facebook the month of June. Approximately 313 million people use Twitter and about 515 million people use Instagram monthly.  About 100 million people use Snapchat daily. With so many people involved in social media, it’s safe to say these social media platforms have changed the way we live. 

“Social media has really sped up the way we live our lives,” said Carissa Bratschun, ORU adjunct professor and public relations professional. “It has created a culture where we are constantly multitasking.

One big problem many have fallen into is the constant comparison of their lives with others. According to Psychology In Action, a UCLA doctoral psychology organization, when users spend time on sites like Facebook and Instagram exclusively looking at other people’s photos and profile content, it can trigger a sense of exclusion, envy and loneliness. This occurrence is known as FOMO, or the fear of missing out.

“Social media is what you make it. Some people live to show others their amazing life on social media. That can lead to comparing,”  said Bratschun.

Facebook depression has become another phenomenon, especially among young adults. A study by Elsevier, a scientific research and information organization, found the more time people are active on Facebook, the more negative their mood afterwards. This negative mood is due to feelings of not having done anything productive after so many hours spent on the website.

It’s important to mention social media is not all bad. Just like anything, it has its pros and cons. Social media is a great way to connect with family members who are far away. It can help promote businesses, causes and raise awareness to certain issues. Social media keeps many aware of the world around them and it can be used to spark healthy debate and conversations about controversial issues. 

Staying aware of how much social media is being consumed and watching for signs of negative effects can help prevent the negative aspects from getting worse. Technology will continue to evolve and grow, but it’s up to us to make sure what was designed to keep us connected doesn’t ruin the fabric of our society.