Are We Letting Social Media Destroy Our Lives?

Is the use of social media bringing our life to an end? Or is it only the transfer of human contact into a different form of communication?

Because the answers aren’t that black and white, let’s take a look at some of the statistics and attempt to figure out what’s going on, as well as whether or not social media is having a larger detrimental influence on your life than it is a positive one.

In 2005, which seems like a lifetime ago now, most people’s use of social media was still a blip on the radar of how they spent their time. In 2005, just 5% of adults in the United States reported having used any type of social networking.

Recent surveys indicate that around 69 percent of adults and 81 percent of teenagers in the United States make use of social media. Around 57 percent of the world’s population, or billion people are active on social media. There are 4.5 billion people that utilise the internet.

How do the algorithms for social media platforms actually work?

The majority of people’s lives nowadays are permeated by social media in nearly every facet imaginable. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people are unaware of how these programmes are created and how they operate to maintain your engagement and keep you going back for more, even if it means jeopardising your happiness and health in the process.

Marketers and others who wish to run campaigns against social media algorithms face a bit of a challenge because the algorithms are always changing and the majority of firms do not make their source code publicly available. Because of this, social media algorithms are a bit of a black box.

How Can You Avoid Being Manipulated by Social Media Algorithms?

On the surface, it would appear that these algorithms are beneficial. They show you stuff that is contextually relevant to you, as well as relevant offers and communications, assist you discover individuals with whom you’ve lost contact, and introduce you to new friends. But is this the only purpose for which the algorithms will be programmed? In what other ways do they try to influence and control your behaviour? And what kind of negative effects does this unrelenting emphasis on participation have on a person’s health?

Every company is guided in its daily operations by a certain business model. Engagement is the major measure in social media that businesses are focusing their efforts on improving in order to gain revenue. Engagement may be demonstrated by actions such as like, commenting, and sharing content.

With firms like Facebook, engagement is the holy grail of key performance indicators (KPIs), which is what drives practically all of the decision-making process. The primary objective of any change that social media firms make to their platforms’ apps and algorithmic structures is to boost user participation. These firms view engagement as a method to profit, revenue, and overall success.

The concern is that these algorithms, which are designed to boost engagement and income for social media corporations, are having unintended and undesirable consequences for society.

For instance, according to a study published by MIT Technology Review, an internal Facebook analysis discovered that the company’s algorithms allowed misinformation campaigns originating in Eastern Europe to reach approximately 140 million people in the United States during the 2020 Presidential Election. Bear in mind that seventy-five percent of those who saw these pages of disinformation never followed any of them; Facebook’s algorithm suggested that they be seen.

According to Big Think, one of the issues that arises when platforms are driven in this manner is that they are susceptible to popularity bias as a result of engagement driving algorithms rather than search queries. This bias towards popular opinion might have negative repercussions because of how it operates. According to the findings of Big Think, popularity bias is more likely to result in a general decline in the quality of material.

The Opinions of the General People About Social Media

You would be mistaken if you assumed that the only people who are concerned about the possible negative effects of using social media on one’s health are medical professionals and scientists. The general population has a pessimistic view of the positive effects that social media is having on the fundamental components that make up society.

According to the findings of a poll conducted by Pew Research, the majority of respondents in the United States believe that social media is primarily responsible for the current state of affairs in the country.

In addition, just ten percent of people in the United States believe that social networking websites have a largely good influence on the way things are going.

Political leaning is another significant factor in determining who has faith in social media as an information source. It is estimated that around fifty percent of Democrats and independents who have a leaning towards the Democratic Party believe that social media is having a negative influence on the way things are going in the country at this time. Contrast this with the response by 78 percent of Republicans, who all gave the same answer.

When respondents were asked to expand on the primary reason they think social media has a primarily negative influence on the way things are going in this nation, 28 percent of respondents identified the spreading of misinformation and made-up news as the major reason they held this opinion.

To tell you the truth, people are growing exhausted by their inability to trust political articles and dialogues and by the stress that this causes them.

Pew reports that among social media users in the United States, 55 percent say they are “worn out” by political posts and discussions, and 70 percent now say they find it “stressful and frustrating” to talk about politics on social media with people with whom they disagree, which is an increase from the 59 percent who said this in 2016.