Social Media Effects: 4 Ways it Changes Who We Are

It’s important to understand that when you interact with others on a social media platform (outside of private messages, of course), that the interaction is in the public sphere. It’s an easy idea to overlook; the privacy of our offices and bedrooms stands in ironic contrast to reality: using social media is the digital equivalent of carrying out a conversation in a crowded amphitheater, where individuals have to take center stage and the spotlight to speak, but all can observe anonymously.

I’ve gathered a quick (and incomplete) list of ways that social media has meaningfully impacted our lives. This list, in actuality, should be much longer and each entry could be incredibly detailed. Social media makes a much larger impact than can be adequately discussed within a single article. Instead, this list is to simply give a little perspective about how social media has changed the ways in which we interact with one another:

1. There is increasingly less distinction between our personal, public, and professional lives.


Think for a moment how you would react if your boss wanted to be your Facebook friend. The popularity of social media alone has created conversations and situations that you might not expect but want to be prepared for. Are you “friends” with your co-workers? Many professionals in my network adhere to a strict “I-won’t-be-your-friend-on-Facebook-until-we’re-no-longer-a-part-of-the-same-organization” policy to avoid awkward situations. While I’ve taken to employing this policy myself, it’s important to remember that even if you are not directly connected to a professional contact, you may very well share online acquaintances.

2. Making an Impression v. 1.5


While many candid social situations allow for a genuine first impression, if that impression generated interest in either party, it’s reasonable to expect that at least one will look the other up online. I’ve sat in rooms where women have discussed potential suitors while viewing their profile pages or where men have gauged their interest for a woman they’ve just met based on the contents of her photo albums. I’ve come to refer to these post meet evaluations as “Impression 1.5." Whether or not this kind of investigation is appropriate has been discussed elsewhere; I’ll simply acknowledge the idea and reiterate that making a great impression online is as important as ever.

3. Post break-up stalking


Think of how you interact with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend after you’ve broken up. Would you be surprised if I told you that “Facebook Stalking,” as our generation calls it, is a common occurrence in these situations? While professionals have explicitly recommended against this practice, it undoubtedly occurs (and frequently).

4. White lies must be maintained across all social networks


Or, at the very least, lies must be told in a way that your alibi is consistent against your actual plans. For instance, if you decline an invitation on the grounds of not feeling well or the desire to have a quiet night at home, you might be in trouble if someone’s phone checks you in to a popular bar or restaurant while you’re supposedly resting. The same goes for calling in to work or missing class on account of illness. As usual, honesty is the best policy – and not just because social networks have made indirectly lying about your whereabouts and activities more difficult.

As social media evolves, the nuances and minutia of how it impacts our lives will continue to evolve. Thankfully, the web is also replete with information about how to successfully manage social media to your advantage. And, while it may be impossible to completely disconnect today, I can speak for and am an advocate of generous breaks.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Brett Ryan

Brett studied Business and Political Science at Brigham Young University-Idaho. Brett loves technology and is passionate about how the internet can be used to drive economic and political change. Currently, he works as a search engine analyst. He is preparing to apply for business schools in the near future. He's not above discussing sensitive or difficult issues, loves conversation and learning, and expresses his views, generally, in an effort to understand first and be understood second. Above all, he enjoys learning and he'll be your friend regardless of who you voted for.

MORE FROM

HBO programming president defends ‘Confederate,’ says network is “standing by” the writers

“We could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys admitted.

‘Game of Thrones’: These are the funniest people to follow on Twitter for live updates

A good tweet is the best antidote to scenes like Sam cutting open Mormont's greyscale sores.

Let’s overanalyze these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “The Queen’s Justice”

Jon Snow's going to meet his Aunt Daenerys.

‘Dunkirk’ is a Christopher Nolan movie that doesn’t need to be solved

For his new World War II epic, the puzzle-focused filmmaker decided to adjust his approach to storytelling.

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson talk ‘Broad City’ season 4 and their prayers for Hillary Clinton

"Art has just become exponentially more political since the election," Glazer said.

Jenny Slate’s raw, honest exploration of female sexuality is the most riveting part of ‘Landline’

Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm's new film lets its women characters express their sexual desires on their own terms.

HBO programming president defends ‘Confederate,’ says network is “standing by” the writers

“We could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys admitted.

‘Game of Thrones’: These are the funniest people to follow on Twitter for live updates

A good tweet is the best antidote to scenes like Sam cutting open Mormont's greyscale sores.

Let’s overanalyze these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “The Queen’s Justice”

Jon Snow's going to meet his Aunt Daenerys.

‘Dunkirk’ is a Christopher Nolan movie that doesn’t need to be solved

For his new World War II epic, the puzzle-focused filmmaker decided to adjust his approach to storytelling.

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson talk ‘Broad City’ season 4 and their prayers for Hillary Clinton

"Art has just become exponentially more political since the election," Glazer said.

Jenny Slate’s raw, honest exploration of female sexuality is the most riveting part of ‘Landline’

Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm's new film lets its women characters express their sexual desires on their own terms.