Social media has been so interwoven throughout our lives that it has become second nature. It has given us a way of sharing everything that we are doing and we spend so much time doing that that we sometimes don’t realize that we are not actually doing anything. It is the paradox that anyone with access to a device and an internet connection feels deeply.
While it can be true that social networking is helpful to some degree, and there are countless case studies about social media and the impact it has on businesses, social media might not really be that social. The American Journal of Preventative Medicine has affirmed this fact in a research study that focused on a group with an age range of 19 to 32.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh gathered 1,787 participants and asked each about how they feel about their place in society and about their social media habits. The responses were self-reported, limited by factors such as memory, biases, and couldn’t be pegged to any one age group. The findings, however, seemed to point towards the conclusion that participants with a higher usage of social networks tend to think of themselves as socially isolated in the “real world.” This included people that used the most common platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and sites like Reddit.
So, what does all of this data mean? How do we use it to help solve a problem? What causes what? Are lonely people lonesome on social media, too? Do otherwise socially healthy people become introverted on social media? There really are no clear answers to these questions yet, and it opens up the floodgates to even more specific questions. Some are analyzing the data in an attempt to answer this question by examining the kind of social media that people engage in, as well as their role on platforms. Do people actively engage with others, post updates and talk with friends? Do they scroll passively and sit back and observe others?
This is certainly an interesting exploration into the behaviors we engage in both on and off social media. As more studies and results come forth, we will have a better grasp on the impact social media has in our daily lives.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.