In less than a decade social media has infiltrated almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives, and with each new month brings a new feature, a new must-have tool, and, as often as not, a brand-new platform, to this veritable smorgasbord of digital connectivity.
Have you ever stopped to think what it might be doing to our psyche, both collectively and as individuals?
Here’s some stuff to ponder. One, social media might be making us stretch the truth a little more frequently – one study of 2,000 women revealed that nearly 30 percent had lied about doing something whilst home alone and using social media (you know, when nobody was there to verify).
Two, social media could actually be making us more antisocial in our day-to-day lives – the majority of respondents (51 percent) to one survey said they check social network sites at dinner (hey, that’s normal, right? When else are you going to update those Yelp reviews?) and almost two-in-five people spend more time socialising online than face-to-face.
Three, social media is making us self-obsessed. There are 90 million self-portraits on Instagram (come on – why else would you even use it?), and, overall, we each typically spend 80 percent of our time online informing others of our own subjective experiences (compared to 30-40 percent in “real life”, aka, Luddite mode).
And finally, we’re increasingly exhibiting worrying behaviour, inasmuch as the norms and behaviour we adhere to offline are more easily pushed to one side once we’re jacked into the matrix. Cyber bullying is increasingly an issue, with one study revealing that more than a quarter (28 percent) of children aged 11-16 having experienced bullying on the internet or via their mobile phone.
Overall, 51 percent of people say that social media has not changed their life for the better. You be the judge, but don’t let this nicely-crafted infographic from WhoIsHostingThis.com sway you either way.