Social Media Essay: Psychological Impacts
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Psychological Impacts of Social Media
In the 21st century, we experience the modern and technological world that collectivism and power are determined through the survival of the most technologically and social-medially fittest. In today's world, we have experienced the foundation of the internet, followed by the social platforms designed for smartphones such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as a result of humanistic collectivism that needs to express itself (Turkle 3). Subsequently, we have experienced the YouTube famous people, Instagram influencers and Facebook friends that affect people's daily life with daily and constant posts, followed by an absurd approach to the world defined by excessive anticipations and comparisons among people. In this assignment, two public and one individual social media posts with smartphones and their psychological effect are examined. Although smartphones and social media create new ways of communicating options, one may claim that these two have significant negative sociological and psychological impacts on individuals across the world.
Throughout history, humankind has experienced various types of events that drastically had an impact on the progression of humanity, such as wars, revolution, and social development, and the foundation of collectivist life. These events, however, were focused on the prior needs of survival, such as food, shelter, and land. In the following years, this trend was followed by the development of technological developments such as smartphones and transportation vehicles (Turkle 2). Subsequently, the railways, electricity, computer, and the internet were founded. With the creation of smartphones, we have become more and more social and involved in each other's life. First, we have experienced the MSN Messenger, followed by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. People now encounter each other every day in social media with such platforms that result in a progressive feeling of self-actualization (Lup et al. 248).
There is an anonymous saying that the constant feeling of a human being should be constantly happy is such a unique and such an artificial idea of 21st with the internet. One can easily infer that human is not meant to created for eternal happiness as projected by people in platforms reached through smartphones. There are different kinds of feelings that an individual should experience throughout life, and take lessons and move on accordingly (Sherman et al. 3). Supposing that an individual is successful in terms of everything, every move he makes, every plan he prepares may result in a creation of ego that is impossible to break down (Sheldon, Bryant 89). Therefore, we, as humans, should experience all kinds of feelings in this world. People can have mistakes, regrets, and hopes. It is essential to embrace life as it is. People are designed to take lessons out of mistakes. There are many parts of life; people are born, grown-up, become a teenager, develop an ego and characteristics, etc. Nevertheless, an individual is not created to become happy forever. It is significant to realize this point about life.
On the other hand, one may suggest that social media and smartphones are now a part of our lives, and neglecting it would result in antisocial and lonely characteristics. When considered the volume of usage and people's dependency on smartphones and social media as of today, it would be relentless to criticize those who have the same approach. As aforementioned above, people tend to be social; otherwise, the feeling of loneliness and constant questioning of life may lead to psychological issues as we are meant for each other and need to an illusion which is a historical result of constant questioning of life such as school, family structure, social life, and children. Accordingly, the essay presents three smartphone & social media posts to be analyzed in terms of its psychological impacts on us.
As the first post to be analyzed, one of the public posts of Instagram famous Emily Ratajkowswki has been analyzed (“Person Emily”). She posted a nude picture of herself whose sexual parts were covered by the water and the camera angle (Fardouly et al. 7). However, one may infer that it is obviously a nude picture shared with the public. Accordingly, this picture creates an image of ideal beauty and pudicity in the public that result in an absurd involvement of not-famous Instagram users. More precisely, these influencers create a trend that other people feel the need for participating, which collectively result in a drastic change in today's popular culture. As women tend to dress less in social media posts through smartphone selfie cameras, masculine behavior is triggered in terms of sexuality and manliness. Unfortunately, this situation between the two genders creates an endless fight for self-actualization resulted from the very nature of social media and smartphones.
As the second example, a post from Instagram's success magazine page has been chosen (“Page Success”). In the post, it is indicated that an individual's dark days made him strong, or maybe he was already strong, and they made him prove it. This post explicitly highlights the struggling side of humankind, which is sometimes useful for survival instincts. However, an individual who continuously comes up with such posts in social media may feel inferior to others that may result in the feeling of incapacity and weakness. These feelings, of course, will lead to more negative feelings that will affect the psychological condition of an individual. Accordingly, constantly encountering such posts in social media through smartphones is considered as harmful to the nature of humankind because not every individual is meant to be the most successful.
Research findings suggest that excessive anticipation or hope may result in psychological conditions for individuals (Sherman et al. 8). Nevertheless, these social media posts highlighting the importance of excessive determination causes a great deal of disappointment for those who are not as lucky as other people that recognize themselves occupationally successful. One of the prominent thinkers of the 20th century have suggested that humankind is not meant for constant stress, and this stress is because of excessive anticipations or hope resulted from the comparable approach to life (Sun, 2019). Unfortunately, people are now trying to compare themselves with others through social media (Turkle 4). However, this stress due to excessive anticipation and comparison may lead to psychosomatic disorders among people because the human body is not created for constant stress. As some researches suggest stress for short term lead to exterior performance; nonetheless, stress for a long term result in considerable harm to the human body.
Personally, I have posted a picture in which I was looking at a sea view with a deep posture on Instagram last year. The description of the post is as follows: “We are gonna mine dragon glass, and white walkers will pay for it." As aforementioned above, both negative aspects of social media, such as excessive self-actualization and comparability with other people, are observed in the post. The fact that social media creates an environment of individual competitiveness in terms of coolness and popularity seem to be correct. However, this considerably affects our psychology. An intense smartphone and social media user tends to feel excessive feelings in both negative and positive ways. That is, the user may feel considerably popular when just posted a cool picture. However, he may feel extraordinarily demotivated when he starts to compare himself with others in the calm and to shift parts of his life, which are the natural processes of the life of an individual. Currently, I recognize the reasons for my then behavior of posting such pictures on Instagram or on other social media platforms; I was under the comparable effect that leads to an excessive feeling of self-actualization to be provided by these internet tools through the appreciation of other people.
Consequently, considering the current social media conjuncture, human behaviors, and psychology, it is obvious that people are under the considerable effect of social media. Unfortunately, these effects lead mostly to negative traits such as anxiety and feelings of loneliness and failures resulted from the constant comparison in our daily lives. However, people can quickly determine the back draws of social media by researching the relevant scholarly articles, or merely analyzing what is going around because people start to feel more and more invaluable due to what they experience in social media platforms. It is already a tough and hard world where both men and women need to follow specific traits in order to sustain a not perfect but normal life such as working, marrying, and studying, etc. Nonetheless, creating an extra internal challenge for everyone by challenging people with cool postures or sayings in social media will merely result in more stress and drama in each case because people are not meant for constant stress due to continuous struggle of self-actualization to others. After all, although smartphones and social media create new ways of communicating options, one may claim that these two have significant negative sociological and psychological impacts on individuals across the world.
Fardouly, J., Willburger, B. K., and Vartanian, L. R. “Instagram use and young women’s body image concerns and self-objectification: Testing mediational pathways”. New Media & Society, 20(4), 1380–1395. 2016. doi: 10.1177/1461444817694499
Lup, K., Trub, L., and Rosenthal, L. Instagram #Instasad?: “Exploring Associations Among Instagram Use, Depressive Symptoms, Negative Social Comparison, and Strangers Followed”. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(5), 247–252. 2015.10.1089/cyber.2014.0560
Person, & ProfilePage. Emily Ratajkowski on Instagram: "besado por el sol." Accessed on October 14, 2019, instagram.com/p/Bzc9O8pB937/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link.
Person, & ProfilePage. SUCCESS Magazine on Instagram: "Find light in the darkness, strength in the suffering and hope in your story. . . . . . #mentalhealthawareness#mentalhealth...". Accessed on October 14, 2019, from 7 www.instagram.com/p/B3amNLPluft/.
Sheldon, P., and Bryant, K. “Instagram: Motives for its use and relationship to narcissism and contextual age”. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 89–97. 2016 doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.059
Sherman, L. E., Greenfield, P. M., Hernandez, L. M., & Dapretto, M. (2017). “Peer Influence Via Instagram: Effects on Brain and Behavior in Adolescence and Young Adulthood." Child Development, 89(1), 37–47. doi 10.1111/cdev.1283
Turkle, Sherry. “Stop Googling. Let's Talk.” NewYorkTimes.com, 26 Sept. 2015.
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