Anti Social Media – Isolationism

Anti Social Media, in recent years people are spending more and more time online. This can be credited to the higher quality of services and activities readily available on the web. One of the biggest growth sections of the internet is social media. Websites such as Facebook or Twitter were set up with the original idea of serving as an online way for people to socialise without coming face-to-face with the other person. But has social media become anti social media? A lot of people have the belief that the world is getting smaller thanks to social media and other online services that help in connecting people. Social media serves as a fantastic way for people to keep in contact with friends or family if they move away. Anti Social Media is evident when people start using the technology as a substitute for real one-to-one human conversation. The more and more people use social media to connect the more anti social they become. Social media has been praised by our generation as being a great way of keeping in touch with friends abroad, making plans as a group, and staying up to date with what’s going on in the world, and it certainly does offer all those benefits, but there is a danger there that people are becoming too involved with their social media accounts, spending too much time “plugged in”. When we say Anti Social Media we’re not talking a matrix like scenario were machines have taken over peoples life, but a lot of people seem to becoming addicted to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and are missing out on real world experiences.

anti social media isolationism

According to a recent survey posted on IBM’s developerWorks website, 63% of smartphone owners keep their phone with them for all but an hour of their waking day and 79% keep it with them for all but two hours of the day. This is a small insight into the over reliance people are developing on their smartphones and the anti social media apps within them. [1] Social networking and social media can affect our lives in many different ways. Becoming over reliant on these anti social media sites and apps can affect a person’s communication skills or their overall self-expression. With the amount of time people are spending on anti social media in the modern world they become over reliant on using it as a means of communication, which can in turn hinder their self-expression when they are presented with real life situations. Take a look at the people at bus stops, in shops, at concerts, hanging out with their friends on a night out – a significant portion of them will be glued to their phones updating their followers of what a great life they are living, while simultaneously missing out on the personal real world connections they could be making. A recent study by ATUS shows that people spent roughly 40 minutes socialising offline per day, and that number has been steadily declining ever since with people spending roughly 37 minutes socialising offline in 2011. Now in 2017 how much of your time is spent on anti social media?

If trends continue to move in this direction perhaps all face to face social contact could be lost in the far off future. New technologies are emerging that eliminate the need to meet people in person, virtual reality and real world embedded games like Pokemon Go while getting people out of the house, are a worrying development. Recently the number of users using apps such as Tinder [10] has increased dramatically eliminating the need for people to form connections in the real world, the problem of anti social media was expressed when online dating sites first began emerging but never has social media been more accessible then now, due probably to the emergence of smart phone technology, enabling users to use these site on the go.

anti social media isolationism

Another way in which the boom of social media has affected people’s lives is an increase in the problem with bullying and isolationism. For websites whose main purpose is connecting people Twitter or Facebook has in fact left some people feeling more alone than ever before. The emergence of so called keyboard warriors, who use the internet as a means for inflicting psychological pain towards its victims, has only made the issue of bullying and isolation more resounding. Previously friendships were made with people talking and socialising in a real world environment but since the emergence of anti social media these friendships may never become as strong. Social networking has affected our lives with all of the issues above as well as touching our very own sense of humanity.

Anti Social Media and the psychological impact it can have. Living in Ireland over the last couple of years it is impossible to avoid the fact that teenagers are appearing in the news far too often for all the wrong reasons. In 2012 in Ireland two young girls took their own lives after being subject to online bullying via Ask.fm. This website is designed so the users can post anonymous comments about the person without them ever knowing who posted it. This is just one of the many ways in which a person may be subject to bullying on anti social media.

In this particular case one of the young girls was only 13 years old. The fact that someone so young could take their own life after being subjected to abuse online shows the resounding affects anti social media can have. According to a study published on news site thejournal.ie Ireland ranks fourth highest in the EU in terms of deaths by suicide amongst young people. [2] This is a startling stat considering the small population that lives on this island. However, it is reality and a lot of these issues with depression and poor self-esteem are as a direct result of online bullying or becoming isolated as a result of being over reliant on anti social media websites such as Twitter or Facebook.

anti social media isolationism

There are certain people that are trying to tackle the growing issue of anti social media. Two Syracuse University students have created an anti social media app designed to fight phone and social media addiction. The idea behind the app called “Tock” is that the user blocks websites such as Twitter or Facebook and then selects their location. It then sets a time limit and the user has to see how long they can last without using their phone. Whoever uses their phone first loses and the winner gets points added to their profile. This gives an insight into the issues arising from anti social media. If two young students see it fit to develop an app that prevents people from using social media then the problem becomes relevant as they are spending time developing a way to minimise the use of the these anti social media outlets.

The issue of anti social media is not solely limited to children or teenagers it can have a resounding effect on adults and their everyday life. Since the emergence of anti social media people have more distractions than ever before. Even in business these technologies are becoming more of an issue due to sites such as LinkedIn, eliminating the need for co-workers to interact face to face and discuss in depth business issues they may face. Anti Social media such as LinkedIn technologies pose the risk for miscommunication in the business environment because it is difficult to portray in text emotions such as sarcasm and urgency.

While these technologies can be useful in certain situations it is important not to be too dependent on them and to engage with people face to face. Anti Social media should be considered and intermediary between people a tool to improve accessibility rather than the sole form of communication.

If a person does their work in an office or works at a computer they will find themselves checking their news feed or their Twitter feeds regularly to check if they may have missed anything. They will find themselves doing anything but their work which in turn can lead to poor work effort. Anti Social media is having many negative effects on business, one of which is the increase in customer power it provides. Businesses now have to spend more time engaging with customers on a social level and run the risk of their product or service not being successful if they do not follow the trend social media has created, negative publicity spreads faster than ever due to the vast amount information spread across anti social media. [11]

This new access to information also increases the likelihood that confidential information regarding the business and its secrets could be released. “Even a well-meaning social media post about a company’s perceived objectives and direction can damage the company’s reputation or challenge the company’s assertions to investors”. [9]

The anti social media effect on young and adolescent people. The notion of anti social media is one that definitely applies to children and adolescents. It doesn’t take a keen observer to notice that the family dynamic in western society is changing. Anti Social media, which is so accessible in the modern age, plays a factor in the child or adolescent’s social development. Common sense media is an American organisation that’s goal is to help kids thrive in the media and technology age.

They use information gained from research to help parents and decision makers in governments to make anti social media and technology as positive an influence as possible in young people’s lives.  In 2013 they conducted a survey and found some startling results in the way technology was trending in young people. They found that in the age group of 0-8, 40% of American children owned some form of tablet and 63% of them owned a smartphone [3]

With the increase in access to smart devices for all groups it in turn leads to a greater access to anti social media. The apps on smart phones lead to constant bombardment by anti social media sites using push notifications. All this exposure to anti social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is supposed to enlighten the mind, however if parents aren’t aware of what their children and teenagers are looking at there is a chance it could affect them negatively. Since the beginning of the last decade studies have shown that 22% of preadolescents and adolescents log onto their favourite anti social media site over 10 times a day. [2011, Alex Moreno] This shocking high figure exemplifies the age groups dependence on anti social media and one could even describe it as an addiction. With over 75% of teenagers owning personal smartphones there is a common worry among health professionals that the modern youth’s emotional development is taking place on the internet. [4]

Facebook depression is a new form of depression among individuals. It is used to describe when a person logs onto Facebook, and after spending some time on it they begin to exhibit classic traits of depression.  Researchers from the University of Michigan who first coined the term “Facebook depression” claim that one of the most common causes for it is the theory of “fear of missing out” or “F.O.M.O” as it’s more commonly known. The depression stems from the user being in an isolated state on their chosen anti social media site and when they access it they see their Facebook friends on a beach in Thailand or at a fancy hotel while the anti social media user is stuck in the mundane. This fear triggers anxiety and leads to feelings of depression. Sadly even though people are looking at what is probably outside the norm they can’t help but start social comparison. [7]

The constant use of anti social media has begun to show a worrying trend of social isolation. In 2005 a Korean man walked into an internet café after work and took part in a 50 hour gaming binge that led to a heart attack brought on by lack of food and hydration. [5] Internet addiction is a serious problem and has to be taken every bit as serious as addictions such as alcohol and gambling. Another major negative affect of anti social media is the spreading of false information and rumours, things spread so quickly through the media these days that many people and business aren’t checking the source or the accuracy of information and this information has led to the ruining of many people’s lives and even the downfall of businesses. One such example were false rumours were spread causing mass hysteria across most the globe was in 2012 when the world was predicted to end according to the Maya calendar, and other sources, all of which turned out to be a hoax.[8]

anti social media isolationism

Studies show that up to 15% of children in China would be considered addicted to the internet, while 1 in 8 adult Americans are addicted to the internet. This statistic will only get worse with our growing reliance on smart technology for our social interactions. [5] Even the next gen gaming consoles, the PS4 and the XBOX ONE, have fully integrated anti social media platforms that will allow gamers no break from either vice. Sony and Microsoft have gone as far to allow gamers to use their smartphones and tablets as 2nd screen devices. This allows easier social interaction with other gamers and allows the gamers to immerse themselves deeper in the game. Microsoft has gone even further with the creation of its own internal social network on the Xbox One. When you download the Xbox live app you can see what games people are playing and join them. This feeds into the growing social media monster. [6]

There is a hidden danger with the use of anti social media that not many people are aware of, would a lot of problems in the world today not exist if social media did not exist, or would we just face different problems? Are we spending too much time online? Too much time plugged in? The evidence seems clear on this, the answer is yes. Anti Social media has been praised by our generation as being a great way of keeping in touch with friends abroad, making plans as a group, and staying up to date with what’s going on in the world, and it certainly does offer all those benefits, the question is how far will it go in the future, and is the direction we’re heading the best option for society as a whole.

Anti Social Media References

  1. IBM developerWorks, IS Social Media Making us Antisocial, available at; https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/025bf606-020a-48e9-89bf-99adda13e9b1/entry/can_social_media_creating_an_antisocial_society?lang=en
  2. The Journal.ie, Suicide rates amongst young people fourth highest in EU, available at; http://www.thejournal.ie/suicide-rates-1070842-Sep2013/
  3. Common Sense Media (2013), Children’s medias use in America, available at; file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/zero-to-eight-2013.pdf
  4. Alex Moreno (2011), Feeling bad on Facebook, available at; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/da.20805/pdf
  5. American Medical Association (2009), Trapped in the net, available at: file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/ped90013_959_960.pdf
  6. Teddy Hunt (2013), 5 ways video game companies are leveraging social media, available at ; 5 Ways Video Game Companies are Leveraging Social Media
  7. Elise Hu (2013), Facebook makes use less satisfied, available at; http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/08/19/213568763/researchers-facebook-makes-us-sadder-and-less-satisfied
  8. NASA (2012) Beyond 2012: Why the World Didn’t End available at: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html
  9. Catherine Lovering, Demand Media (2014) Negative Effects of Social Media on Business available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-effects-social-media-business-25682.html
  10. Steve Bertoni, Forbes Staff (2014) Tinder swipes right to revenue… available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2014/10/20/tinder-swipes-right-to-revenue-will-add-premium-service-in-november/
  1. Yasmin Bendror, Marketing Matters (2014) Why Social media is so important for your business, available at: http://ymarketingmatters.com/why-social-media-is-so-important-for-your-business-in-2014/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *