A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil’s “TORUK-The First Flight” at Rogers Place. Although it was an amazing experience, we were taken aback by the woman sitting in front of us who was on her phone taking pictures and videos during the entire performance. I’m not sure she watched any of the actual show, other than on the screen of her iPhone 6. It seemed as though she was more concerned with proving that she was at a Cirque Du Soleil show to her Facebook friends, than enjoying the show herself. This is just one example of how social media changes human behavior.
After asking several of my friends, who are all fellow students and avid social media users, I discovered that we share a few key ideas about social media and how it has allowed us to have access to our friends all the time. This constant connection means we can easily see what friends are doing, who they are with, what they had for breakfast etc. If your friends hang out without you, you see it right away on Snapchat or Instagram which is the reason why social media plays a role in the development of FOMO, or “fear of missing out” which can lead to depression and anxiety disorders.
Another way that social media changes human behavior is that it allows users to be constantly comparing themselves to other people. The only problem is that when people post on Instagram or Facebook, you only see small snapshots of their best selves. You see them on holiday, or surrounded by friends, or doing all these great things, and you see it through filters. You end up comparing yourself to a false representation. In a Consumer Report, 1 in 4 people admitted to lying about information on their Facebook profile. People are more worried about being “liked” than being honest.
Social media is a great tool for self-expression and keeping up with friends, but it’s also addicting, and when you’re sacrificing real life moments, real life relationships, for a digital representation, is it really worth it? Could it be that the stronger our connection is online, the weaker it is with the real world? Of course, social media advances are going to have an effect on human behavior; we are ever evolving, but no one should let social media define who they are, or what they become.