How Your Personal Happiness Is Affected by Social Media

“Create content to add value, not to get likes.” 
Alin Sav (Tweet This)

Since the advent of the internet in the mainstream, the world has shrunk.

Anyone with a computer or various other devices can reach the other side of the world in seconds. It is the age of communication and the age of “right now.”

Alongside the internet, social media has become a ubiquitous part of our lives. People are snapping, sharing, liking, and pinning everything. Much like the television in its day, social media has brought a broader awareness of events happening around the world, but at much faster speeds.

Social media has been used to spread awareness of different causes, both good and bad. It has done things like change the dynamic of elections and revolutionize the way people take part in protests.

It is easily one of the biggest technological developments of all time.

Teamed up with the smartphone, social media has brought the world’s biggest continual conversation into the hands of millions. Some may argue that this could be worse rather than better. Social media addiction is a concern. and it is very real.

According to an Ohio University business program, 25 percent of the world’s population owns a smartphone. On average, people with smartphones tend to check them around 150 times a day.

The instant gratification that comes with receiving a social media notification and being able to entertain oneself instantly makes people unreceptive to more lasting forms of pleasure, like reading or spending time outdoors.

The average human attention span has decreased over the past decade and a half. It is currently at 8.25 seconds, compared to 12 seconds in the year 2000.

With these advancements, we should be happier, but this is not proving to be true. In a 75-year study, Harvard sought to find out what promotes happiness. They pinpointed social relationships with friends, family, and even strangers.

So why isn’t social media a catalyst for happiness?

Social media has replaced a lot of the face-to-face interactions that used to be commonplace. This is okay in some aspects, but face-to-face interaction is vital for a couple reasons:

1. We Rely on Nonverbal Communication

First of all, 60–90 percent of communication is nonverbal. We read physical cues, facial expressions, and gestures to fill in the words we cannot say. We lose all of that when it’s filtered through a keyboard and a screen.

2. Social Interaction Makes Us Happier

Being socially competent and able to communicate with others in person is vital in achieving happiness. Time spent on the internet and social media can have a big effect on whether a person is able to interact with other people confidently and practically.

3. Constant Comparison to Others Is Harmful

Another reason why social media makes people feel less happy or depressed is comparison. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

When we compare ourselves to others, it can make us feel as if we are not quite as “cool” as them or that they are living a better, more fulfilling life than us. This is artificial.

People tend to use Facebook and other social sites to share the good in their lives. When we compare both the good and the bad in our own lives to only the good in others’, it can make us feel like we don’t measure up.

This creates a vicious cycle of diminished self-esteem and a search for approval that gets passed down the line.

This article on social media by C. Joseph Richards was originally published on FinerMinds. If you liked it, you can like it on Medium, share it on Facebook and Twitter, or follow us!

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