Social Medial Influences: The Good and The Bad

Growing up in the 2000’s is a unique experience shaped by rapid advancements of technology.  One of the biggest and most rampant is social media.  Social media influences opinions, behaviors and actions of readers and followers.  In fact, influencers are actually paid to helps establish credibility and create large followers to persuade and promote things.  But what damage can be done to the person posting and the person reading/following?

Using social media to promote an agenda can be positive but I want to focus on one negative aspect.  Misrepresentation of Information. There is a risk of selectively presenting information or manipulating facts to support the message you are sending.  Yes it is okay to share things in your life that makes you happy, especially for the memory.  But the writer should evaluate the true intent for the post.  There is a danger of posting to validate self-worth.  People can slowly become dependent on the approval of others through likes, comments and shares that it starts to filter reality.  Showcasing only the highlights while hiding the struggles and challenges can also lead to internal self-challenges with trying to achieve unrealistic expectations and perceptions of what they think that their life should be.  

What about the followers or readers?  What happens for them?  They may experience feelings of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and lower self-esteem. They may start devaluing their own worth based on how they stack up against others. Constant exposure to idealized images and lifestyles can distort perceptions of reality and contribute to negative self-evaluation.  

Is it realistic to just cut out and no longer engage in social media as a poster or reader?  Probably not.  However, recognizing the possible damages is a great start to changing your perceptions with engagement.  Be mindful of how it affects your self-esteem and mental well-being as a reader and poster.  Also practice self-awareness, set boundaries, focus on authentic connections and cultivate positive self-images offline to help mitigate the impacts of social media influences.  

Help is Healthy® is a practice dedicated to the management of individuals well-being.  I am dedicated to providing affordable evidence-based services to individual and couples. If there is something specific you need to help achieve overall wellness, I would love to connect with you.  You can schedule your complimentary 15-minute virtual consultation by visiting www.helpishealthy.com and request an appointment. 

Nikki Barfield, LCSW