Is it connecting us or isolating us?
It is connecting us:
- We have unprecedented access to information about our friends and family members we otherwise may not see
- It streamlines keeping in touch thus nurturing and even facilitating relationships
- Gives us the opportunity to document and show others what is going on in our lives
It is isolating us:
- It may take us out of the present moment
- It creates a dopamine feedback loop and could be addictive as a result
- We are wasting time using these technologies
- Social media communication may be inferior to interpersonal communication
- It creates a distorted view of other people’s lives
The utilitarian calculation to determine whether social media is a net positive or net negative would be difficult but will certainly be possible given new research and data coming out on the topic.
Personally, I find social media to be anxiety-provoking. Before I deleted my instagram, I realized how dependent I’d become on the validation I experienced from getting those sweet ‘like’ notifications on my phone. I also realized how insecure I felt after posts that didn’t receive many likes. The negative affect associated with social media has caused me to distance myself from it. However, some was lost from doing so. I was no longer aware of much of what was happening in my distant friend’s lives. I had no way of communicating to others what was happening in my own life. But to be honest, one’s friendship bandwidth has a limited capacity anyways and I believe focusing on a smaller number of relationships has strengthened those ones immensely.