The Negative Effects of Facebook

Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites that exist today. Many Internet users utilize the new media to get information, connect with friends and share pictures and articles. While all of these activities associated with Facebook seem harmless, using the new media device has had many negative effects in general.

One article that discusses the negative effects of Facebook is “How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy,” by Maria Konnikova. The article talks about a study that was conducted from a University of Michigan psychologist to determine the effects of Facebook use. The psychologist found that the more people used Facebook, the less happy they felt. While Facebook is a great tool for instigating the feeling of social connectedness, it overall enables people to feel lonelier and more depressed. This was directly associated with the frequency of use. Lonelier people are inherently more likely to go online, and Facebook is a new media platform that creates feelings of alienation.

Another study in the article discussed how social media overall also instigates problems in relationships by increasing feelings of jealousy and envy. The author brings up a significant point that “with an increase in time people spent browsing the site, as opposed to actively creating content and engaging with it, the more envious people feel,” which can be explained by the social-psychology phenomenon called social comparison. With personal information now more easily accessible, learning about the achievements of others has increased, thus allowing Facebook users to compare themselves directly with others.

As a millennial, it is difficult for me to admit that I for the most find that the negative effects discussed in this article is a good and accurate example of the effects of new media in general. In “Reclaiming Conversations,” the author stresses how physical conversations allow people to engage in an empathetic manner, which is crucial in developing relationships. Facebook hinders people from connecting on intimate levels that cannot replicate conversations and relationship that are developed from physically being present.

Using Facebook can also become addictive which can have negative social effects as well. In fact, 65% of Internet users use Facebook daily and spend and average of over 20 minutes on Facebook per day in periodic increments. The curiosity of wanting to learn about other people and wanting others learn about us drives people to constantly browse Facebook feeds in order to remain current.

It also creates an added pressure to maintain a certain image and creates conflicting feelings of self-identity. In the book “Contagious- Why Things Catch On,” author Jonah Berger talks about the term “social currency” and how social media users are more prone to share things that make them look good. Facebook users filter what statuses and pictures they post and what articles they share in order to maximize social currency.

Also in support that Facebook has negative effects, the video by The Lip TV discusses a study that discovered that women who use Facebook more negative psychological effects. Facebook is primarily and seemingly used to connect socially, but in reality is used for self-aggrandizement. Facebook users are more likely to select positive content to upload. They inaccurately represent users and create pressure to socially compete with others.

Overall, I feel that Konnikova’s argument that Facebook has critical negative effects is accurate for the most part. New media is such a conflicting tool because while it may allow Internet users to connect in ways that were not accessible earlier, it creates social anxiety that has negative effects on society.

 

 

References

Berger, J. (2013). Contagious- Why Things Catch On. New York, NY. Simon & Schuster.

Facebook Has Negative Side Effects on Women (Video file). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmaaQ5PDiXI

Kenrick, D. T. (2014, Apr 11). 7 Ways Facebook Is Bad For Your Mental Health. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201404/7-ways-facebook-is-bad-your-mental-health

Konnikova, M. (2013, Sep 10). How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy. The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/how-facebook-makes-us-unhappy

Smith, C. (2016, Feb 22). By The Numbers: 200+ Amazing Facebook Statistics. DMR. Retrieved from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/

Turkle, S. (2015). Reclaiming Conversation. New York, NY. Penguin Random

Instagram

In today’s digital society, there is an influx of social media sites being created every day which forces existing sites to be designed in a way that improves user functionality to survive amongst the millions of existing platforms. Popular social media sites are placing more of an emphasis on user experiences in order to meet the demands of Internet users today.

According to Jon Kolko in Design Thinking Comes of Age, the design of digital platforms are shifting from solely being aesthetically pleasing to having more of a focus on efficiency and functionality. Applying the principles of design to the way people work represents the shift in not only social media sites, but also content that users generate as well. Design changes make it easier for users to interact with other users. One increasingly popular social media site that has implemented major changes that go beyond its primary function is Instagram.

One key change to Instagram is the location search, which allows users to identify where videos and pictures are being taken. In addition to this, the “trending hashtags” item is a feature that immediately appears on the Explore page and allows users to browse trending topics in a robust matter and is tailored to user’s interests. The expansion of functions on Instagram has also allowed the social networking site to flourish and increase in popularity. In a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, researchers found that Instagram usage has doubled since 2012 and roughly 31% of Internet users use Instagram. These modifications have also contributed to the change in content that users upload. With the new location tagging and search function, users can now use the location-tagging feature to show where they are. More Instagram posts being created today revolve around places people are visiting. The hashtag and tagging feature also allows users to upload content focusing on their experiences with brands. Instagrammers are now tagging brands and companies in photos that feature products and allow users to interact with brands on a personal level. Because of the new type of content being uploaded on Instagram, there is now a shift in the culture of online brand interactions.

In Alone Together, Sherry Turkle talks about how technology has become the architect of our intimacies with brands, which enable them to come alive on the Internet and connect with consumers through computers and other digital platforms. With Instagram, brands are able to build and enhance intimate relationships with consumers in the digital world. With the tagging, hashtagging, and location features, brands can target and interact with relevant consumers in more meaningful ways. In fact, 40% of brands have adopted Instagram for marketing. Businesses are now utilizing Instagram to create digital strategies and display products, generate website leads, and increase brand awareness. Most importantly, businesses also are using Instagram to find and target audiences and build relationships with the location-tagging and hashtagging feature.

For example, one of my coworkers uploaded a picture of her daily coffee and tagged McDonalds in her post. McDonalds commented on her post thanking her for uploading a picture of their product and offered her a free coffee. This is an example of how brands now have access to posts and are able to see what consumers are posting about their brands and can therefore interact with users in meaningful ways. Overall, new digital features such as the ones on Instagram make it easier for brands to tailor their content to target their audiences and interact with them through personalized digital experiences.

References

Adriel, I. (2015, February). Business Benefits of Using Instagram. Academic Search Premier. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy.lib.umn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,uid&db=aph&AN=101722102&site=ehost-live

Duggan, M. (2015, August 19). Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/mobile-messaging-and-social-media-2015/

Honigman, B. (2013, January 29). The State of Instagram. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://corp.wishpond.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Infographic_instagram_.png

Kolko, J. (2015, September). Design Thinking Comes With Age. Havard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/09/design-thinking-comes-of-age

Turkle, S. (2011, January). Alone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York, NY. Basic Books.