Op-Ed

OP-ED Interview

By Dr. Diana Rangaves, PharmD. RPh

01). Do you believe social media has a great impact on our lives? Please explain why or why not.

Our lives today involve a lot of social media. It changed how we live and will continue to evolve and integrate into every aspect. It is now how we speak to people. We rely on social media to stay updated on friends, family, and global events. (Sawyer, Rebecca, and Guo-Ming Chen. “The impact of social media on intercultural adaptation.” (2012).) That is because social media is a fantastic place to learn new things, meet new people, and express your opinions. Before, you could only communicate with individuals in person or on the phone. That made it harder to make friends because you had to be around someone for them to consider you a friend. Social media has altered that since it makes it possible to interact with individuals worldwide daily. This has made it easy for us to interact with different individuals than ever before and grow our social network.

02). How much of an effect does social media have on people? Please explain.

Social media has a huge effect on people. With social media tools at your fingertips, online connections frequently take the place of in-person catchups. But social disengagement and alienation might result if you spend more time online reading your friends’ updates than in person. Research shows frequent social media usage is associated with loneliness and social exclusion. Primack, Brian A., et al. (“Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the US.” American journal of preventive medicine 53.1 (2017): 1-8.) They have discovered that people who reported spending the most time on social media (more than two hours per day) had twice the odds of feeling socially isolated compared to those who claimed to spend no more than 30 minutes on those websites.

03). What social media platform has the most impact on people? Please explain why you believe this.

Social media is all around you, but only some use every platform. Facebook, now owned by Meta, has the most impact on people. (Bucher, Taina. “The algorithmic imaginary: exploring the ordinary affects of Facebook algorithms.” Information, communication & society 20.1 (2017): 30-44). Facebook’s statistics and social media ranking tell you everything you need to know. Not only does it have the most active users of any social media platform, but it is also one of the apps people spend the most time on. You can find many people there, from your mom to your third-grade teacher and neighbor. Despite a demographic shift, the platform is still the dominant player in the social media space. 

04). What solution would you have about altering social media’s impact? Please explain.

It is easy to feel alone when you only talk to each other online. (Kraut, Robert, et al. “Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being?.” American psychologist 53.9 (1998): 1017.) Be proactive and set aside time daily to talk to family, friends, or neighbors in person. Talk to people you can trust and tell them how you feel. Give ideas for something to do to help keep and improve relationships. Another good way to keep in touch with friends is to send them letters or cards. You can also find something you like to do, get into nature, get back into an old hobby, or sign up for a class to learn something new. You could have fun and meet people who like the same things you do.

05). How does social media affect people mentally? Please explain why.

Heavy social media use is strongly associated with an elevated risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. (Twenge, Jean M. “Increases in depression, self‐harm, and suicide among US adolescents after 2012 and links to technology use: possible mechanisms.” Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice 2.1 (2020): 19-25.) Social media may encourage negative experiences and barriers like isolation, negative self-talk, doubts, inferiority and fear. Feelings of isolation are amplified by excessive use of social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Another negative effect on mental health attributed to social media is an increased focus on one’s life. Posting endless selfies and all of your deepest thoughts on social media can lead to an unhealthy level of self-centeredness and make it more difficult to connect with others in real life. Reducing your time on social media can make you feel less lonely and isolated and enhance your overall mental health and personal growth and development.

Retrain your brain to be in the ZONE. The zone is referred to as a state of ultimate focus on a particular goal or task. During this period all other perceptions or stimuli not contributing to the goal at hand becomes irrelevant and are totally blocked out. The ability to stay long in the zone is practice. Zoning works for anyone and is a personal choice. Our innate superpower. Make it your habit.

06). In what ways does social media alter our thinking? Please explain why.

The influence of social media has an effect on various facets of human life, and it can alter the way we think and reason. (Akram, Waseem, and Rekesh Kumar. “A study on positive and negative effects of social media on society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering 5.10 (2017): 351-354.) The use of social media leaves the audience with a preconception or initial impression of the topic at hand, and this, of course, alters the way we think to a greater degree. In this sense, social media influences some of our choices. This can involve voting a certain way, individual perspectives and beliefs, or skewing a person’s understanding of a certain topic due to being supplied with erroneous information.

07). How can social media’s usage be better managed? Please explain how.

Tune out, turn off. If you want to avoid overusing your social media, try moving the apps away from the home screen and into folders instead. (Nguyen, Minh Hao. “Managing social media use in an “always-on” society: Exploring digital well-being strategies that people use to disconnect.” Mass Communication and Society 24.6 (2021): 795-817.)

You can get rid of the applications on your phone if you want to take things to the next level. Set a regular time for monitoring social media—say between 6 and 8 o’clock on Fridays—and don’t log in to any platforms outside that window.

You can also turn off notifications for individual apps through your device’s settings. This will prevent you from being constantly tempted to open apps and waste time on social media platforms. You also have the alternative to turn off data (or switch your phone to airplane mode).

08). How can social media affect people physically? Please explain why.

There is a correlation between using social media and various physiological and psychological factors connected with poor physical health. (Akram, Waseem, and Rekesh Kumar. “A study on positive and negative effects of social media on society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering 5.10 (2017): 351-354.)

C-reactive protein levels (CRP), a biological marker of chronic inflammation, predict catastrophic illnesses. People with diabetes, some malignancies, and cardiovascular disease, were found to be greater in people who used social media platforms to an excessive degree in a recent study. Higher social media usage is associated not only with elevated CRP levels but also with somatic symptoms such as headaches, chest pains, and back pains, as well as more frequent trips to medical professionals and health centers to treat disease.

09). What can we learn from experiencing social media? Please explain.

Individuals may experience feelings of isolation due to their use of social media. (Twenge, Jean M., Brian H. Spitzberg, and W. Keith Campbell. “Less in-person social interaction with peers among US adolescents in the 21st century and links to loneliness.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 36.6 (2019): 1892-1913.) This may be the result of individuals substituting their use of social media for face-to-face social interactions, or it may be the result of individuals being exposed to unrealistic or distorted portrayals of the lives of their connections. Studies have shown that individuals who are socially isolated spend a disproportionate amount of time on social media, even though many people who use the internet cannot translate their online connections into “real” social ties.

10). When can social media become excessive? Please explain why.

An excessive amount of involvement in social media arises when a person uses these platforms to the extent that they begin to experience unfavorable consequences in their daily lives. (Carbonell, Xavier, and Tayana Panova. “A critical consideration of social networking sites’ addiction potential.” Addiction Research & Theory 25.1 (2017): 48-57). Individuals who report excessive use of social media, defined as use for more than an average of two hours per day, are twice as likely to report social isolation as those who spend less than half an hour per day using social media. It has the potential to destroy your self-confidence and make you anxious. In addition, it has the potential to force you to internalize your feelings, which may include feelings of depression, anxiety, or even loneliness.

Sources.

Sawyer, Rebecca and Guo-Ming Chen. “The Impact of Social Media on Intercultural Adaptation.” Intercultural Communication Studies, vol. 21, no. 2, 2012, pp. 151-169.

“Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the US.” American journal of preventive medicine 53.1 (2017): 1-8.

Marengo, Davide, and Christian Montag. “Digital phenotyping of big five personality via Facebook data mining: a meta-analysis.” Digital Psychology 1.1 (2020): 52-64.

Bucher, Taina. “The algorithmic imaginary: exploring the ordinary affects of Facebook algorithms.” Information, communication & society 20.1 (2017): 30-44. 

Twenge, Jean M. “Increases in depression, self‐harm, and suicide among US adolescents after 2012 and links to technology use: possible mechanisms.” Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice 2.1 (2020): 19-25.

Akram, Waseem, and Rekesh Kumar. “A study on positive and negative effects of social media on society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering 5.10 (2017): 351-354.

Nguyen, Minh Hao. “Managing social media use in an “always-on” society: Exploring digital well-being strategies that people use to disconnect.” Mass Communication and Society 24.6 (2021): 795-817.

Akram, Waseem, and Rekesh Kumar. “A study on positive and negative effects of social media on society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering 5.10 (2017): 351-354.

Twenge, Jean M., Brian H. Spitzberg, and W. Keith Campbell. “Less in-person social interaction with peers among US adolescents in the 21st century and links to loneliness.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 36.6 (2019): 1892-1913.

Carbonell, Xavier, and Tayana Panova. “A critical consideration of social networking sites’ addiction potential.” Addiction Research & Theory 25.1 (2017): 48-57.