A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to the Friend Zone podcast on Emotional Contagion. In the episode, Fran was talking about Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment. Basically, Facebook skewed about 700,000 what users saw when they logged in. Some people saw happy post and positive words, while others saw sadder than average content. Based off of what the Facebook users saw, they either posted happy or sad words themselves. From this experiment, they found that by manipulating the News Feed displayed to 689,003 Facebook users, it could affect the content which those users posted to Facebook.
To me, this just goes to show how much time we are spending on social media and the types of effects it has on us. And to think, this experiment happened in 2012 and a lot of people, to include those who were manipulated don’t know anything about this experiment. We also don’t know if any other social media sites have done experiments such as this.
In the episode, they went on to discuss how a lot of social media sites, track the sites that you’ve visited or even listen to your conversations and that’s how and why ads start to pop up on the social media sites after you’ve exited those websites or finished those conversations. I first started noticing it a while back about different social media platforms showing ads of things that I’ve recently been talking about, but it literally happened that night after I listened to the podcast. I’ve been needed some new pre-workout and I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone and about how I need some and that I wanted to try some new flavors and later on that night, I logged onto Facebook and I started seeing all types of ads for C4 Pre-workout. It can be creepy sometimes because technology has so much power that we don’t even know or pay attention to sometimes.
After listening to this episode, I started to think about all the negative effects that I feel like social media has had on me personally and than I looked up the different types of effects that some studies have shown social media has on our mental health. For me, the effects that social media has on my mental is that it’s addictive, I compare my live to others, it doesn’t make me more social, and I use it as a way to escape.
Addictive. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I usually do is open all of my social media apps to see what I’ve missed since I’ve been asleep. When I’m bored at work or in a social setting, I scroll through my social media apps. It’s almost as if, I can’t live without them and I need to be in them at all times when possible. In the episode of the podcast, Fran mentioned if you can’t necessarily stop being on social media than to limit your time on the app. Maybe go brush your teeth and wash your face and take a shower and eat breakfast before you open your apps. Read a book for 30 minutes before you go to bed as opposed to looking at your apps before you go to bed. Just do something other than immediately hopping on to your social apps when you first wake up.
Comparing My Life to Others. I do this a lot. I see those who are living their dreams and their best life and I immediately get jealous and envious of those who are doing the things I want to be doing. I will sometimes this could be a good thing, because you’ll see someone making moves and you realize you need to step it up and get on it with starting and doing whatever it is that you want to do in life. Sometimes, I’ll see couples on Instagram and would wish that I could be in a relationship or I’ll see someone who is physically fit and compare myself to them. Overall, I compare a lot of things I see on social media and wish that it was happening to my life. As much time that I spend wishing, I could be out here doing.
It doesn’t make me any more social. Whenever I’m out in a social setting and I begin to feel awkward or I don’t have anything to say, I immediately open my phone and begin scrolling down my timelines. I was out eating with my parents and my brother and his girlfriend and I was on Instagram and my mom mentioned how I was always on my phone and on Instagram and it really made it think, like damn, am I really on my phone that much?
Escapism. I did a post a while back about escapism vs. self care. A lot of times, if I am stressed or if I don’t feel like doing work, whether it’s school or work, I tend to open my social media apps and can sometimes get lost for hours upon hours and feel like I’ve escaped the real world and my responsibilities for the time being.
In conclusion, I feel like social media is determential to our mental health and well-being and I want to encourage everyone to take break from social media and do other things. I know it can be hard and it’s almost kind of like, well what would I do if I’m not on social media, so I came up with a list of things you could do:
write, blog, workout, call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, learn something new, listen to music and clean your house, paint, start a new project, read a book, pay a bill, prep your next meal, get to know yourself, spend time with God, etc. There are a ton of things you could do besides get on social media. I’m winging myself off social media one social media app at a time. I’ve deactivated my Snapchat and after 30 days it’ll completely deletes and I let mine get completely deleted. I’m not saying you guys have to deactivate your apps (you can simply just delete the apps off your phone). I started with Snapchat because it was the app I used the least. After I let Snapchat delete completely, I decided to deactivate my IG, however after a week(which was usually the time frame I could last without it), I reactived, however after my birthday, I deleted my IG and it’s been about a month now and I have no urge whatsoever to reactivate it. Maybe later this year or sometime next year, but right now, I’m fine without it. The only social media I am struggling with is Twitter. Twitter is just so damn funny and my source of entertainment and I’m not really sure what I’d do without it. Please feel free to let me know in the comment section, what effects social media has had on you, things you’ve done in the past to spend less time on your social media apps, and what you think on the overall topic.