Social Media has taken over our lives, and we can’t seem to get enough. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Pinterest, social media is everywhere. According to Statista, the number of global monthly active users of social networking services was 1.79 billion in 2016. That’s a lot of people! Given how prevalent social media has become, it may surprise you to learn that many famous people have publicly stated their hatred for it – including celebrities who appear regularly on magazine covers. From tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg to actors like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess, these public figures have all made it known that they think social media is a waste of time. How do they know this? Because they’ve researched the downsides of social media usage and recognized them as such – not because they simply don’t enjoy posting photos of their avocado toast on Instagram or tweeting about their favorite football team on game days.
Why so many people hate social media.
Social media allows us to connect with people all over the world, but it doesn’t mean that we’re connecting in a healthy way. Instead, the overuse of social media has led to a number of social and psychological issues – including anxiety, depression, and even a form of addiction. For many people, social media has become less of a way to connect with others and more of a way to force themselves to appear happy, successful, and perfect. This can lead to a phenomenon called “FOMO” (fear of missing out) where a person constantly compares their life to other peoples’ and feels a constant need to be doing more.
2. Social media is a major time suck.
A lot of people look at their Smartphone usage and complain that they don’t have enough time in their day. But how much time do you spend on social media? If you’re like most people, you’re probably spending way too much time scrolling through your favorite social media platform or apps. A few years ago, researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted a study of more than 2,000 American adults who were questioned about their media use. For the majority of respondents, social media use took up more than two hours of the day – and that’s not factoring in the time it takes to get ready in the morning, commute to and from work, etc.
3. It’s full of negativity
Social media has quickly become a breeding ground for negativity, and even those who have no interest whatsoever in posting on these platforms are still negatively affected by them. Despite the fact that many social media sites have implemented measures to weed out users who post hateful or abusive content, such posts still exist – and can have a major impact on the mental health of those who see them. For example, one scientific study found that, on average, people are likely to encounter five negative comments on social media every single day. That’s five times more than you’re likely to experience in person.
4. It’s an easy way for companies to exploit users.
Social media is all about the numbers, and that means that marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to get people to buy the products they’re advertising. However, in recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that some companies and advertisers are taking advantage of the psychological vulnerabilities of social media users for their own profit. For example, some online casinos have been accused of using psychological manipulation tactics to trick people into gambling away their paychecks. Additionally, social media websites have become an easy way for politicians and organizations to spread false information – often without being held accountable for it.
5. It can actually cause depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues in significant numbers of users.
Although the link between social media and mental health issues is far from proven in every case, the number of studies that have found a link is concerning. One study, for example, took a look at the mental health of first-year university students. Researchers found that those who used social media more frequently were more likely to report higher levels of loneliness and poorer mental health. Other studies have found a link between social media use and anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Unfortunately, there’s no telling how many social media users actually suffer from depression or anxiety because they don’t even realize that the social media they’re using could be the cause.
Social media has become an important part of many people’s lives, but it can also be dangerous if not used responsibly. While social media platforms have revolutionized communication and given people new ways to connect with others, they also have the potential to create feelings of isolation and make people feel worse about themselves. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, take a step back and reflect on whether it’s a good use of your time. There’s no wrong or right way to use social media, but there are ways to use it in a healthier way.