4 Shocking Ways Social Media Controls Culture
Follow, like, share, retweet, live stream.
While these words had vastly different meanings (or didn’t even exist) a decade ago, they’re now a part of our everyday language.
Social media and culture are officially inseparable — but is that always a good thing?
The truth is that social media can hurt as much as it can help. Are you doing everything you can to protect yourself emotionally and personally on social media? How has social media influenced your perspective on things?
Read on to understand the very real impact that social media has on your personal life, your decisions, your spending habits, and much more.
Envy and Social Media
Perhaps one of the biggest social media issues in society is how easy it makes it for people to compare — and compete — with one another.
Does someone at your school have more followers than you do? There’s now quantifiable, numerical evidence that they’re more popular than you are. You don’t just know it — so does everyone else who follows both of you.
That’s a proven recipe for jealousy and low self-esteem.
If someone’s photo gets more likes than yours, you’re bound to think you’re less attractive than they are. That makes you envious, as well.
Then, there’s all the travel that you see other people doing, the fun nights out with friends at exclusive bars, and the happy couple photos reminding everyone that they’re in love.
Every day, you see people who have what you want but don’t possess — whether that’s love, money to buy nice clothes, friends, or time to take a vacation.
It’s pretty much impossible not to feel jealous when you scroll through your feeds.
It’s not just about FOMO (the fear of missing out) anymore. Social media directly impacts your perception of other people, and of yourself.
Social Media and Spending Habits
Over half of Americans are currently spending way above their means.
What’s to blame? While low wages and an increase in those who live paycheck-to-paycheck certainly have an impact, so does what we see on social media every day.
Social media and culture go hand-in-hand not just when it comes to dictating what we wear and buy, but also how we spend our money.
You want people to see that you have the latest Gucci tee, that you can afford to order bottles of champagne, and that you have a lavish lifestyle in general.
You’re so focused on chasing clout and displaying your spending habits on social media, that you don’t really think about whether or not these purchases fit into your budget.
Before you know it, you’re in even more debt.
Now, in-app purchasing on Instagram and other social media platforms make it even easier to mindlessly buy something you like with a few clicks of the button.
The Influencer Agenda
Social media brainwashing is very real — and usually, you’re not even aware it’s happening to you.
You might think that an influencer (a person with a large following on social media) has your best interests at heart.
But they’re not suggesting you buy a certain face wash or wear a specific brand of shoes because they stand behind the efficacy of these products.
Instead, they’re doing it because for them, promoting products online is a business.
And even though most influencers now must legally disclose when they create a sponsored post, deals are still brokered behind closed doors. You don’t really know who is promoting a product because it genuinely worked for them, and who is doing it to get a cut of the profits.
This is scary enough on its own, but then there’s the obsession with proving you’re close with these influencers.
This leads to transaction-based friendships, not genuine connections. There’s the backstabbing, drama accounts, mean-spirited reviews and “tea-spilling” videos, and much more.
It’s better to work with genuine and transparent people in the social media and lifestyle world, like the folks at American Snippets.
Privacy and Social Media
Ever wondered why products you looked at a few days ago are suddenly popping up in your social media feeds?
Have you ever had the uncanny experience of talking about a brand with friends, only to see it show up in your “suggestions” a few hours later?
And what about those heart-breaking stories of leaked photos, messages, and other private exchanges that were wrongly screenshotted and shared?
Things like social media algorithms claim to be able to help show you more of the content you love. But they really show you just how much of your data doesn’t belong to you at all.
It’s also hard to have a real private life when you constantly feel the very real pressure to share what you’re doing with your followers.
It’s tough to live in the moment when you’re lifestreaming, creating a story, or taking questions from your followers at the dinner table.
Social Media and Culture: Wrapping Up
Here’s the thing: social media isn’t all bad.
It can help you to stay connected to faraway friends. It can ensure you don’t feel too isolated if you’re stuck at home. It can even offer valuable customer insights and help you to crowdsource opinions from people whose viewpoints you value.
But as social media and culture continue to influence one another, it’s important to take a break every once in a while.
While your digital life can be fun and fulfilling, the “real world” is even better.
Keep checking back with us to learn more about the social media platforms you use every day, and to get more tips on how to stay grounded in the digital age.