The Dark Side of Social Media
Being in this evolution era and having a business where you are at all times connected to your electronic devices is where you notice the positive and the negative of the online world. The Flurry analytics firm released data showing that we are up to 5 hours per day on our mobile devices (http://flurrymobile.tumblr.com/post/157921590345/us-consumers-time-spent-on-mobile-crosses-5). At this point, businesses started understanding the power of social media marketing. Social media plays a crucial role for businesses as they use it to connect customers to their brand as well as customer service. The benefits are tremendous, but it is not all rainbows and sunshine.
The dark side of social media is real, and the world is becoming more aware of the situation. Celebrities can probably give us a run-down on this polar front of supportive comments and love from their fans, balanced by disgusting threats, comments, and purely hate from others. People feel protected behind a screen and understand no limits when they use their hate towards someone’s brand, business, organization or a person. Digital drama is known to use negative online actions such as trolling, cyberbullying, or even false reviews to destroy someone’s reputation. So, of course, mental health is connected to the benefits and detriments of social media. It's important to emphasize the negatives of social media just as as we highlight the benefits.
Not only can someone's comments destroy your self image, but so can comparing your life to what you see posted on social media. For example, looking at fitness pages (fitness pages are awesome!) can absolutely motivate people to push themselves and get into shape! Alternatively, and something that can even happen subconsciously is not feeling "perfect" like those people in the pictures. Now, this has been going on long before social media began (the magazines always have gorgeous models on them). Comparing one's self with other users of social media is almost automatic - whether it be with the things they have, their looks or figure, luxury lifestyles, or anything else. There is nothing wrong with these types of posts and in fact, they motivate many. It is key to remember, however, not to compare yourself to those you think have more or look the way you want to. It's easy to get lost in a cyber world - sometimes it's real, and sometimes it's not! Constant comparison of your life to what you perceive others lives are all about can bring about feelings of depression. We must be aware of how we are reacting to the posts on social media! According to social psychologist Ethan Kross, the lead author of a University of Michigan study, “On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result—it undermines it.”
Another negative is its affect on relationships. There is such a thing as an addition to being connected - and it can also include texting! Look at kids and parents - how many times you have heard parents say: “No phone at the table, Can you put your phone down? Are you done yet? Give me your phone! etc.” BUT it’s not just the new generation, it does also involve adults and can become a big dispute between couples. YES, it can affect relationships! You might have experienced it yourself, or you have been the confident of your best friend who was talking about her or his fight with their partner about social media jealousy. There is so much access to social media platforms that it is really easy to get distracted and lose touch with real life, thus affecting your relationships in all facets of life.
It is important to be balanced; know when to be connected and when NOT to be. Personally, as we were building our company I was in the extremism of being on my devices and did not pay attention to balance. It felt like an addiction even though it was all dedication to build our marketing structure. My vision started diminishing which didn’t help as it affected my performance physically and mentally. It’s always when something happens to yourself that you start waking up, so now I learned to take small breaks from the screen and focus on something else that is not digital related.
We love social media (of course) but know your limits so you can only enjoy the positive outcomes from the digital world.