With regard to the effects and implications of social media on one’s psychology, it is important that we examine the way we behave in the online versus the offline world, and question our motives and beliefs that drive us to act so.
Social media do feed our ego. In fact, research reveals that 9% of the time we spend on Facebook is actually viewing our own profile page.
Indeed, we may wonder how many times do we check our profile after uploading something? Why we do so? In fact, we are curious to see how many likes, comments or even shares we got. Facebook interactivity is what nowadays defines social acceptance, the feeling that you belong to a group of people similar to your interests, that you are wanted, desired. This is also illustrated by Maslow’s famous theory on the hierarchy of needs, where he uses the terms “esteem” and “love/belongingness” to describe the previously mentioned human needs. In a another framework, as derives from the supply and demand model, we may understand the importance of e-liking in social acceptance by the number of available applications or services offering likes, fans or followers in exchange for money or like back.
As a result, this new perception has devastating results in people’s mindset and relationships.
A study of Bergman et al. (2011) on Millenials found out that narcissism is positively related to the number of Facebook friends. In another point of view, the “selfie” phenomenon, appears to be an outlet for maintaining one’s positive self-views too (Halpern et al., 2016). One way or another, the evolution of social media and the way we are handling them are aiming primarily in bringing the attention to ourselves and the level of success to that, is measured by one’s online popularity (Davenport, 2014).
Social media have also affected intimate relationships. Jealousy is among the first reasons why couples fight or even brake up, and social media profiles account for that in a very large extend (Lenhart, 2015). Furthermore, many people seem to be stuck in checking their ex’s profiles long after the break up, causing greater distress, misery and difficulty in getting over people and situations.
Davenport, S. W., Bergman, S. M., Bergman, J. Z., & Fearrington, M. E. (2014). Twitter versus Facebook: Exploring the role of narcissism in the motives and usage of different social media platforms. Computers In Human Behavior, 32212-220. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.12.011
Halpern, D., Valenzuela, S., & Katz, J. E. (2016). “Selfie-ists” or “Narci-selfiers”?: A cross-lagged panel analysis of selfie taking and narcissism. Personality & Individual Differences, 9798-101. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.03.019
Lenhart et al., (2015). Chapter 4: Social Media and Romantic Relationships. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org.
S.M. Bergman, M.E. Fearrington, S.W. Davenport and J.Z. Bergman (2011). Millennials, narcissism, and social networking: What narcissists do on social networking sites and why Personality and Individual Differences, 50 (5), pp. 706–711