Does Social Media has an negative impact on people?


The Strongest
Sep 3, 2015
Social Media, over the past few years, have exploded into becoming part of the daily lives of everyday people; but it seemingly became an toxic environment in certain aspects. Do you think social media has negatively skewed people's views, perspective and launched them into toxicity?
I have a mixed view of this topic. While I believe social media is good for a few things such as keeping up with family and friends, super quick links to articles and videos, and the occasional news update, it fails in many others. Social media, in my opinion, is a cesspool of misinformation, clickbait, and extreme bias.

Spreading false information is as easy as clicking a Like and a Share. Most people want their information fast and don't really do their research on the topic. They, for the most part, blindly believe whatever Social Media tells them because if enough people Like and agree with it, then it has to be true, Right? 


I feel like this is a major downside to Social media and it's only getting worse and worse. However, when the real truth gets leaked out, it gets leaked out fast, so it's a bit of a double whammy I guess...
Technology is bad and Thomas Edison was a witch! WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY

Just kidding. 

Social Media is simply the byproduct of the internet age, and its algorithms are based on putting whatever gets likes easiest and fastest on your feed/timeline to get you to click it. There's niche apps and more general ones that have hundreds of communities within them. While I use it primarily for entertainment and browsing art at a glance (Twitter), the ability to keep your timeline clean can be limited by the features of the app itself. Twitter allows you to mute keywords, hashtags, people's accounts, and it will effectively filter them out for you so you needn't look at it. Blocking does the same. You can control what you watch, follow, and post, so it is extremely easy to keep yourself out of toxic communities within the app (or even delete the app if you don't find any reason to use it). In most cases, you wouldn't be aware of how many lunatic circles are out there if you aren't purposely searching for them yourself or the latest gossip/commentary youtube channel decided to cover the basics for you. But these loopholes have left admins of the websites to slack off on their jobs-- Twitter won't ban Neo-Nazis or TERFs, but will automatically shadowban you for making non-threatening joke posts to friends like "I'm gonna kill you [for posting this stupid picture of me]", or is extremely exploitable by spambots and people running malicious forms of gaining adsense revenue (Tumblr and the never-ending plight of bots).

I don't think social media is responsible for creating toxic communities, so much as providing a convenient way for a lot of people around the globe to gather; you just incidentally happen to come across a LOT more assholes on the internet than in real life and feel less inclined to behave introverted like when you interact with total strangers IRL. You can't pretend to be absolutely certain of how nice or terrible a total stranger is IRL either without them acting overtly like a jerk. The ability to be anonymous (mostly) makes people behave without a filter on the internet, so they are more outward with their toxicity.

It doesn't even matter if you got rid of every social media application on the market either! People would still create websites for discussing things or cater to toxic individuals (r/Incels made their own websites after getting the banhammer from reddit), gossip websites and news would still publish misinformation in addition to gossip magazines that exist in print, Trump will still call everything CNN covers as "fake news". It wouldn't make a difference other than probably slowing down the speed of how locals on twitter can make a recycled meme become unfunny again in the span of 8 hours.

The advent of smartphones and 4G Data with broadband Wifi becoming a staple of industrialized consumerism would be more directly responsible for creating "instant gratification" behavior in mainstream internet users of social media. Myspace and other defunct social media websites existed long before the iPhone and broadband. Most people with internet lived on dial-up until around the mid to late 2000s, but because of how slow most packages could be, we didn't sit there constantly refreshing the page because we knew it could be a while before anyone would like or reply to our post. Despite the illusion of everything becoming convenient, technology has not given us more free time by completing things faster and giving us information faster; in reality, it's only made capitalist societies become busier and more obsessed with productivity. Demand of higher productivity goes to more hours worked, which means less time for enjoying free time, going to overtime and lost days off as according to your boss.

When you're so stressed out about working a 9 to 5 or a 12 to closing with a 3 hour commute to and from your home (or being a college student), with a pile of laundry that needs to be done, houses and kitchens that need cleaning, or food that needs to be cooked (if you haven't forgotten to stock up your fridge with instant meals), you have a minimal amount of time to decompress. The solution? Scroll twitter on your phone and see what your friends are up to or what your favorite creators are shitposting about for a quick chuckle while you're in line for the grocery, maybe see Twitter News' stream for all the latest happenings, do a quick scroll of your timeline, and then close it after a good 5 or 10 minutes of shopping at the store or waiting to get home on the bus. We needn't kid ourselves trying to blame all this on social media when it was an inevitable outcome of innovative internet technology. Couple this with a general lack of critical thinking and inability to think for yourself, and you have a crowd of malleable people you can easily manipulate into becoming your personal in-group echo chamber.

tl;dr: No TLDR because that would negate my entire diatribe about instant gratification.
You could probably run a scientific test showing time spent on social media increases unhappiness and acceptance of aggressive ideas.

But you could make an argument like Loopy's that social media is just a by-product of modern American life. And I'm more inclined to believe that the modern American worth ethic is responsible for unhappiness.
Agreeing with all of the above. While social media has the good stuff, it can also be a very bad place in many regards especially the bullying and hate, which is a sad thing.

Someone also said "People only post what they want others to see. Reality is usually hidden." That's true.
It's both good and bad in a way. You just have to tell yourself how you're gonna to use it and accept that there are bad aspects to it. You don't have to be part of the toxicity but it'll be there. Plus I think you have to take a break from it time to time just to focus on yourself.
These days I can definitely see where the toxicity is coming from. Social media has created this climate of "you're either with us or against us" even in the simplest of opinions, and it's very easy to start a mob mentality if you have the right fuel for the fire. Because of this it's created an environment where it's very easy for people to vilify you over opinions and whatnot.

But on the other hand, while negativity is easy to spread using social media, it's also made it easy to spread positivity and create a movement for a lot of things ranging from crowdfunding a cool game to being a crucial communication channel for protests and movements for social change. The recent demonstrations in Hong Kong was an example of that, I've seen many HK protesters coming on to Twitter to tweet about information, live updates and whatnot as they happen. 

So I guess in a sense it's what you want it to be.
While social media can be a platform to share stories and photos, there are those who see it as a place to attack others and hide behind the screen. It's a place to post crap for simply attention - shock value. I've had a number of people float into my life via Facebook especially those who posted photos of their supposedly happy lives while they were wanting to screw. They shared how unhappy they supposedly are and yet they fake happiness for social reasons.

I've been attacked on my wall for posting something when others could at least scroll by. I've been attacked for sharing a photo of my cat nibbling my hand and for sharing another pic of my piebald cat. I've been attacked for refusing to play the League of Legends online game. I was falsely accused of siding with a now-former mutual friend who removed the narcissist as an admin of a FB Star Wars group (Star Wars: The United Forces) which I was (apparently) thrown out of. Even my "cousin-in-law" felt I deserved to be "unfriended" and blocked just because I was speaking the truth. She's a nurse too - ironic.
I could go on. I hate social media sometimes. People show their lies and hatred. Most don't know a person or care to know and understand him or her more than surface - what is seen in a hurry. Truth is seen as hate. People don't know the depth of others and yet they choose to attack.

I started social media to connect with my family and friends and to share my drawings, my pets, my trips, and my cooking. However, social media can be used to help someone.
I completely agreed with you @"Misua Cat"

There is no denying of the positives Social Media has provided for patrons that used the products. It had enabled millions of people to connect with one another with a click of a button. No longer that it take days to interact with a family member across the country, you can do that instantly through instant messaging or other various applications. And the ability for users to share [legitimate] news and offers discussions of many different topics and themes.

But there is a darkness that currently boiling deep under social media, specifically the one that have a large userbase. The importance of likes, retweets and karma had created an environment of competition for the sole purpose of gendering attention with bad takes, clout or whatever terminology that is currently being used when people argued in bad faith and a disingenuous position. The false happiness and comparison to keep up with the current trends.

The onslaught of bullying had manifest into putting social media into effective use. Instead of a victim facing one bully, they’re facing a possible number in the hundreds because with a flick of a finger, bad rumors can successfully shut them down as it spreads to hundreds of people in their school radius. “Turning off the laptop” is no longer an option (it was never an option to begin with). Negative news spreads, fake news creates profit and people are becoming more exposed to the negativity in comparison to positive aspect. Look no further than a manga tutorial artist who left twitter after being caught into a non-issue with [supportive] artists tearing them down. Once toxicity appears, it spreads like venom with no clear antidote to stop it—only slow it progression, if it even does that.

It’s very troubling that you are being attack for these things. It’s genuinely concerning that these so-called friends abandoned you when things no longer benefit them. When you speak the truth, they rather run, duck their head in silence (in hopes that you calm down or forget about it) or find a way to create a scenario to put you as a villain to justify their actions.

Hence, I believe that there is even a deeper darkness that I think social media had impacted. The ability for people to communicate effectively. People suddenly lost the ability to communicate what’s wrong. They rather vent their laundry to the world rather than speak directly with the person at hand to solve the issue in a respectful manner. Nothing gets done, anger boils over, bitterness raises, and toxicity drowns everyone in.

I have no evidence nor the standing of this position. There’s most likely no scientific data other than pure anecdotes on my part. I think social media creates an environment where it enables people to not take the time to communicate when its needed immediately; it allows the option to not respond to certain kind of users. If someone has an issue over the internet, you can ignore them until you’re ready, even when the situation requires an immediate discussion. But this cannot happen in real life. So, (in a way), it serves as a benefit for people to delay something until they feels is right but at the expense of others (long-distance relationship can have this problem as well).

A little bit of my own self for a bit, but I was diagnosis with social anxiety back in 2013 and have a huge problem on dealing with people due to my condition (I have TCS). Being hard of hearing and look [pretty] different than your average kid, friends was something of a rare sight in my life (I had people run away from me, people thrown stuff at me, isolated from group events, friends who had issues but never really expressed them to me) and the sort. So, I never was quite comfortable of forming close bonds with others, but I always cherish those that are pals as if they are blood. 

Hence for the longest time, I avoid using Facebook and other social media because I wanted to avoid any backlash or hate (since I’m probably an easy target)… I do have a twitter (under an identity of course), but I rarely used it (though, it does show I lost a follower when I login a hour ago, so that’s weird). From what I experience with social media, I realized that just like in real life, communication is something that always plagued me whenever an issue arise… in both worlds, I’m trap in a slums of no one ever telling me a issue before it explodes into storm of ruin. So I kind of understand what you are feeling about this... I went through ton of "bumps" on the road with few people in the past. I always told others, some people are just addicted to anger. Some people don't want to deal with it. Some people want to escape responsibility. I think that just the unfortunate reality of bad effects of social media.

Social Media can be positive, but I feel that there’s a deeper darkness that curbs effectively communicate which might transcend into real life. And with hate spreading faster, it creates toxicity among people faster. You can isolate yourself to certain elements in social media (like twitter), but I think when one has to resort to limit one’s self to that extent, might as well never have one in the first place aside from family and very close friends.

So I hope, Misua, you find your happiness and rid of those that always put you down. :hug:
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