Three billion people, about 40% of the world’s population, use social media-and according to some reports, we spend an average of two hours each day sharing, liking, writing and updating this device. That means about half a million like and Snap chat photos are distributed every minute.
When social media has a big role in our lives, can we sacrifice the health and well-being of our souls and our time? What exactly is the evidence found?
In a study involving 600 adults, about a third said social media had made them feel negative emotions – most frustrated – and jealousy was one of the main causes. This is triggered by the tendency to compare their lives with others and the first cause is the photos of others who are traveling. A sense of envy leads to a “vortex of jealousy,” in which people act in envy by adding similar content that makes them jealous of their profile.
However, jealousy is not a destructive emotion-it often makes us work harder, according to researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. They asked 380 students to look at photos and writings from Facebook and Twitter that could “envy”, including uploads on expensive items, traveling for holidays and getting engaged. But the type of envy that researchers find is “begin jealousy,” which they call causing people to work harder.
Researchers say spending more time on social media can replace face-to-face interactions, but it can also make people feel alienated.
“Exposure to the idealistic portrayal of peer life brings out the feeling of jealousy and false belief that others are happier and have a more successful life, which may increase the feeling of social exclusion.”
It is clear that there is not enough material to draw strong conclusions. However, the evidence points in one direction: social media affect people differently, depending on pre-existing conditions and personalities.
Like food, gambling and many other temptations in modern times, it is possible for some individuals not to be advised excessive use. But at the same time, it could be wrong to say that social media is universally a bad thing, because it clearly brings many benefits to our lives as well.