The role social media plays 

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Human beings are social creatures. We need the companionship of others to thrive in life, and the strength of our connections has a huge impact on our mental health and happiness. Being socially connected to others can ease stress, anxiety, and depression, boost self-worth, provide comfort and joy, prevent loneliness, and even add years to your life. On the flip side, lacking strong social connections can pose a serious risk to your mental and emotional health.

In today’s world, many of us rely on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram to find and connect with each other. While each has its benefits, it’s important to remember that social media can never be a replacement for real-world human connection. It requires in-person contact with others to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and make you feel happier, healthier, and more positive. Ironically for a technology that’s designed to bring people closer together, spending too much time engaging with social media can actually make you feel more lonely and isolated—and exacerbate mental health problems such as anxiety and depression

The positive aspects of social media

While virtual interaction on social media doesn’t have the same psychological benefits as face-to-face contact, there are still many positive ways in which it can help you stay connected and support your wellbeing.

Social media enables you to:

  • Communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world.
  • Find new friends and communities; network with other people who share similar interests or ambitions.
  • Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.
  • Seek or offer emotional support during tough times.
  • Find a vital social connection if you live in a remote area, for example, or have limited independence, social anxiety, or are part of a marginalized group.
  • Find an outlet for your creativity and self-expression.
  • Discover (with care) sources of valuable information and learning.

The negative aspects of social media

Since it’s a relatively new technology, there’s little research to establish the long-term consequences, good or bad, of social media use. However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self harm, and even sucidal thoughts

Social media may promote negative experiences such as:

  • Inadequacy about your life or appearance. Even if you know that images you’re viewing on social media are manipulated, they can still make you feel insecure about how you look or what’s going on in your own life. 
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO). While FOMO has been around far longer than social media, sites such as Facebook and Instagram seem to exacerbate feelings that others are having more fun or living better lives than you are.
  • Isolation. A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that high usage of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram increases rather decreases feelings of loneliness. Conversely, the study found that reducing social media usage can actually make you feel less lonely and isolated and improve your overall wellbeing.
  • Depression and anxiety The more you prioritize social media interaction over in-person relationships, the more you’re at risk for developing or exacerbating mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
  • Cyberbullying. About 10 percent of teens report being bullied on social media and many other users are subjected to offensive comments. Social media platforms such as Twitter can be hotspots for spreading hurtful rumors, lies, and abuse that can leave lasting emotional scars.
  • Self-absorption. Sharing endless selfies and all your innermost thoughts on social media can create unhealthy self-centeredness and distance you from real-life connections.

Hope for the best, but expect less

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine. -Bruce Lee

A friend’s status update on a social media site: ‘Who hurt you? My own expectations.’

Yes, we all have expectations in our lives: what we want out of life and who we want to become. I believe one of the keys to happiness lies within the management of your expectations of people and circumstances. If you do not have expectations, you can never be disappointed. Often we tend to believe that the way we treat others will be the way we are treated in return. But, unfortunately, this does not always happen.

The biggest disappointments in our lives are often the result of misplaced expectations. This is especially true when it comes to our relationships and interactions with others. You need to make sure you enter into relationship with someone who has as big of a heart as you do. If you do not, you may feel as if you are being taken advantage of. You need to find people who appreciate what you do for them and who will reciprocate those actions.

There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations. Having realistic expectations will allow you to accept the flaws each person has. We need to learn how to take responsibility for our own lives and our own decisions before we can expect others to do the same.

One of the biggest challenges we face in life is learning to accept people for who they truly are. Once you realize that your expectations cannot change people, the better off you will be. Give without expectation, accept without reservation, and love with hesitation. Unrealistic expectations most often do lead to disappointment. Too many people are obsessed with finding the perfect career or the perfect spouse, and as a result become increasingly frustrated when this does not happen in reality.

Expectation is the root of all heartache. Try to remain confident while maintaining positive aspirations; just remember not to make the aspirations so high that they are impractical or unreachable.

Acceptance is an amazing trait that needs to be actively worked toward. When things do not work out the way we had planned, it is much more beneficial to realize that is how life works rather than becoming frustrated at the situation. Have hope rather than expectations and you will tend not to be as disappointed.

People rarely behave exactly the way you want them to. Hope for the best, but expect less. And remember, the magnitude of your happiness will be directly proportional to your thoughts and how you choose to think about things. Even if a situation or relationship doesn’t work out at all, it’s still worth it, if it made you feel something new, taught you something afresh.

SOCIAL MEDIA: A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

The current age of science and technology has impacted the individual in every sphere, the expansion of social networking and media has led to huge spread of socialization digitally. Basically, the social networking site is defined as an online platform which provides people with an opportunity to build social relationships with different people around the world, and match the people with common interests and connections. Social media has facilitated a lot of people in reshaping and enhancing their expressing and communication skills, thus, it has the potential of engaging the people constantly.

Gradually, social media has became an integral part of the individual life, as it has the potential to boost the personality of the user. It is no more a medium of informal communication a rather became a significant mode to promote one’s business, organization, etc. it is an excellent instrument to attract and advertise one’s talent and activities as social media allows consistent engagement of the people of the society.

However, every type and site of social media has two sides- Bright and Dark. It can be regarded as helpful or disturbing on the basis of the manner of the usage. India has around 400 million people that make use of one or other social media platform, and most of these users operate through their phones that cam be mentally stressful as well as is prone to hacking and malicious activities. The heavy usage of social media among the children and youngsters has led to certain hostile incidents like, Mental disorder or instability, attempts to suicide, Self-injurious behavior, etc. It is worth noting that introduction of social media has brought a kind of reformation and modernization in the society; yet, on the other hand, excessive usage of this blessing has also brought various negative consequences and transformed it into a curse.

Thus, it becomes necessary to analysis the advantages and disadvantages of social media to know the positive or negative impact of this Double-edged Sword.

Top 20+ Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media

ADVANTAGES:

  • The social media is a great medium to establish connectivity among different individuals. The people from all around the world can communicate and connect with each other very easily. The distance among the individuals feels to be reduced even if they are a continent apart, they feel close by having a communication through any social media site.
  • Also, the people can share their views and ideas on a specific issue and get to hear other’s perspective. For example, if someone publish something on their social media profile, the other visiting users have the liberty to comment upon the same.
  • The social websites can be a mode of helping the people around you and resolving the prevailing social issues. Even during the pandemic situation, the social media platform has helped the individuals in need to approach others for help and vice versa. Thus, the connections can be viable if it simplifies the things.
  • The businesses and organizations now have the opportunity to know the need of the people through the social media websites and produce the necessary product. Also, the existing businesses can easily accept the consumer review and enhance their product accordingly. It has helped the individuals certainly in expanding their businesses.
  • Various small businesses have come up, these people might not have a specifically built infrastructure, they are operating from their residence through their social media accounts and are receiving overwhelming responses.
  • The technological improvement and establishment of social media platform has been educational for the young generation and its significance has drastically increased during the pandemic and lockdown situations.

DISADVANTAGES:

  • The social media is prone to certain setbacks and lacking, the sharing of ideas and news on the social media has led to various sites coming up and posting contradictory news on the same issue. Thus, there is wide spread of fake and misleading information on the social media, this creates confusion among the people and can lead to adverse instances.
  • The social media has given birth to a whole new term of Cyber-bullying, some immoral people feel pleasure in attacking the other individuals. As, the individuals can chose to hide their real identity and misrepresent themselves, this causes a lot of difficulties in identification of the user. This problem is more common among the young users of social media, who do these mischiefs for fun without knowing the future consequences of the same.
  • Social media is quite addictive and at the same time it is damaging for the mental, physical as well as social well-being of an individual. Excessive use of anything is dangerous and the same phrase is applicable to the social media platforms. The harmful radiations coming from the electronic devices can affect the mental health of the operator and thus, it can cause a decline in the ability to think and function of an individual, it increases complication and complexities.

Thus, the negative impact of the social networking sites should be kept in mind while making use of these platforms. Communication is a vital part of the human society, however, the increase in penetration of social media affects the individual practical skills adversely. There is an urgent need to keep a check upon the social activities of the young children by the parents to ensure that they learn good things and to avoid their involvement in wicked activities.

Social media

Social media is a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. … Users engage with social media via a computer, tablet, or smartphone via web-based software or applications.

People are using social media for a variety of purposes. The four main uses of social media form the acronym , sharing, learning, interacting, and marketing.

Social media is important because it allows you to reach, nurture, and engage with your target audience — no matter their location.
Social media plays an important role in every student’s life. It is often easier and more convenient to access information, provide information and communicate via social media. Tutors and students can be connected to each other and can make good use of these platforms for the benefit of their learning and teaching.

Benefits of social media:

• You reach large audiences. …
• You have a direct connection with your audience. …
• You can create organic content. …
• You have access to paid advertising services. …
• You build your brand. …
• You drive traffic to your website. …
• You can evaluate your performance.

Disadvantages of social media:

• Lacks Emotional Connection. …
• Gives People a License to be Hurtful. …
• Decreases Face-to-Face Communication Skills. …
• Conveys Inauthentic Expression of Feelings. …
• Diminishes Understanding and Thoughtfulness. …
About social media:
The average internet user has 7.6 social media accounts. … Today, more than 3.2 billion images will be shared on social media posts. 49 percent of social media users share product information with the hopes of improving the lives of others. We spend a lifetime average of 5 years and 3 months on social media.

 

Trigger Warnings

Trigger Warnings (TW) are labels that we are well-acquainted with today. The term comes from the vocabulary of therapy especially for PTSD, where an individual who has undergone trauma is ‘triggered’ by something that they come across, creating a negative emotional response. It has been extrapolated into mainstream discourse as a measure to help in such situations. ‘Trigger warning’ is meant to be used before content that some may find distressing or triggering owing to their past traumas or experiences. It appears widely on social media platforms, spaces of activism, and even in classrooms to alert students about potentially distressing images or texts that may come up in class. These can include images such as those of violence or mutilation, discussions or descriptions of instances relating to racism, sexism, misogyny, discrimination, rape, murder, etc. , or any topic that is connected to traumas. Trigger warnings acknowledge the existence of trauma and give them legitimacy, allowing individuals to mentally prepare themselves should the content be triggering.

close up photo of caution signage
Photo by Viajero on Pexels.com

However, a careful understanding of the dynamics of trigger warnings is worth looking into in the current scenario since the term is a pointer towards a much larger framework of engagement. Particularly when cancel culture is in vogue and anyone who speaks against anything that is not agreed upon by those who control that space is “cancelled”, labeling what others say as ‘triggering’ can be used as a weapon to attack anyone who might disagree. It is important to note that this is not about legitimate concerns and harm inflicted, but about those who use such labels as a defense to escape accountability or use activism as a facade for their own ends. While there are always individuals whose experiences have made their apprehension of such content extremely difficult, there seems to be an increasing proclivity towards considering being triggered as providing legitimacy, especially if one’s voice is to be heard. A Harvard researcher opines that it only encourages people to see trauma as central to their identity. However, that is not healthy for them. There can come a point when any opinion that might be against or even deviant from the popular discourse among a certain group be considered “triggering”. It can be used to permit behaviors that focus on destroying rather than constructively criticizing. Mindful responses are given away in favor of immediate reactions, creating echo chambers where no one who might disagree is allowed to enter. This only leads to the deterioration of any movement or cause, since it effectively cuts off all engagement with another.

It is also important to understand that while we may be able to move away by seeing the label TW, there is someone, and often a group of people, for whom what we move away from seeing is their everyday lived reality. It is our privilege, to an extent, that lets us walk away. While we should not discount our mental states, we should not promote avoidance as a coping mechanism. Adoption of trigger warnings itself has been questioned by academicians who opine that it only leads to lower levels of resistance and consequently, a decreasing capacity to engage or bring change. It is interesting that therapy for those who have experienced trauma does not go the way of avoiding all triggers, but gradually increasing exposure to them under the guidance of an expert. Only then can we say that the person is on the road to healing. This is a difficult process but considered necessary. Otherwise, the patient will be a victim of the experience all through their lives. And a growing of body of research suggests that trigger warnings do not really help a person who faces such struggles. In fact, it might even have the opposite effect by making him weaker and more sensitive to anything that could potentially cause distress. Seeing TW itself can instinctively cause a negative reaction. This will also render him incapable of adequate response when he might be faced with such a situation in real life without any warning. Avoidance does not help with learning nor with the skills to properly respond. Being fragile in such respects is not something to be aspired to, but something to be dealt with gently for those who are struggling, and to be overcome with support and care.

So, while trigger warnings are useful, the manner in which we think about them might need to change. They should not be an excuse to leave every single time, but more of a “proceed with caution” sign. They should exist as a marker that reminds us of the need for change, and an opportunity to be mindful of how we engage with the content that is presented to us. We might not be able to deal well with all content overnight, but gradually we will be able to not leave the space but stay and meaningfully act in spite of our discomfort, and to provide encouragement to those facing similar struggles. It will also allow us to be better allies to those the mention of whose experiences we find triggering. Our mental health is important, but strength can be built over time with exposure, and we should consider if we are to privilege how something makes us feel over how that something is a lived reality that is affecting lives on the ground, and what we can do about it.