Social Media Effects on Attitude & Behavior:
Does Social Media have an Effect on Self-Esteem and Behavior?
Institution of affiliation
Social media is a double-edged sword that has made itself a fundamental and uniquely important item in our everyday life without which we are lost with no way of properly creating a favorable system to navigate in the world. Social media in the current day and age is known as an interactive form of technology that allows for the creation of ideas and various interests as well as the sharing of valuable information via various networks (Mayfield, 2008). An easier approach to use in looking at the aspect of social media is to think about common interactive web-based platforms such as Facebook and Instagram which offer a larger percentage base when it comes to people to talk to with the added advantage of sharing information with. Taking into consideration that these particular interactive platforms offer a large sum of information it’s no surprise that we can have key individuals who are regarded to be experts within a particular field and thus due to this create a larger number of individuals who try to reach out for their expertise via methods such as following them on these platforms. These individuals are known as influencers. They are thus considered valuable individuals since they have a greater influence on a given target audience. Their insight into various if not specific subjects ensures that they have created a following of individuals. In some rare instances, we can see that individuals who create educational and entertaining materials that are expressed in various forms of a medium can also have a large following but not the same as those of influencers (Freberg et al.,2011). These individuals are known as content creators whose main task and focus pertains to publishing works to communicate information based on experience from writing to communicate a key message to the end-user.
Although social media is an invaluable tool that has made communication amongst loved ones easier it has also created a hostile environment with an unchecked reach and lack of oversite of corporate power. Taking an example of the 2016 American presidential election, in which we see from previously stated investigations that a foreign power might have influenced such a crucial aspect of our democratic system, we learn that without proper kept in place rules to ensure how these platforms are governed important institutions that hold up a large part of the country may be threatened thus making us vulnerable to foreign powers (Tan et al.,2021). Other more dangerous aspects of social media are its particular influence on individuals and how they see themselves. This paper’s key agenda and focus is the effect of social media on our self-esteem and behavior with a keen insight on just how best to tackle this issue to spare future generations from the same effects.
Social media platforms
Various social media platforms have different algorithms created with the intent of making them user-friendly. These algorithms also serve another purpose which is to display specific content to specific individuals in an attempt to brand or make a profit by advertising what is expected of them to people who may buy such products. Influencers play a big part in such content advertising in an attempt to get their followers or an audience to buy a specific item with the key aim of making a profit once they do (Liu et al.,2016). This tactic is not so different as when various companies pay these platforms to help push their specific ads to a target audience that can easily buy such goods. In this instance, the social media platforms monetize from having such a large user base and hence find a way to make money by using their given audience as the end product that is sold to these large companies.
Although social media platforms greatly benefit from monetizing their users there are various ways their users can also benefit financially. Individuals can opt instead of only being users of such platforms they can be influencers and content creators with the key focus on making a financial profit (Auxier et al., 2021). Other social media platforms allow their users to benefit from data being collected from them by allowing them the ability to accept whether such data should be collected or not.
Difference between an influencer and challenge participant
Content creators are individuals who create entertaining and educational materials that are usually expressed in a given form of medium. Influencers are considered experts in a given field and thus are seen as individuals who can advise on a given thing. Users are individuals who make use of a particular network via the use of various accounts created on the given platforms (Gran et al.,2021). These three individuals are different in that only the content creator and the influencer monetize the specific platforms they use while the user is regarded as the item for sale since they are the intended clientele.
Although most social media platforms uphold an ethical means to respect their clients’ right to privacy and thus promise in no way to share their details we see that in various instances that such promises are never upheld (Matar et al.,2017). To maximize profits these platforms have to give targeted suggestive ads to their clients based on their recent search history. This allows them to get paid by the companies whose ads they run to their clients.
Influencers who populace specific products and items have to create a large enough group of audience over time which often implies that they have to spend days on end and enormous amounts of hours just to get followers. Influencers such as models struggle to keep their appearance to remain relevant in an ever-changing world with new and better products up for display every day (Gilbert et al.,2021). Content creators also struggle in similar conditions. Due to the emergence of new information daily, these individuals have to keep up to date with the latest information to easily maintain their audience and fan base for as long as possible. A lack thereof to keep up with new content may mean that they no longer become relevant anymore.
Self-esteem – Difference between men and women
Due to the ever-increasing influence of content creators and influencers on various social media platforms individuals from all walks of life thus tend to be self-conscious about how they live their life based on what they see on these platforms. Social consciousness is the primary factor that is triggered by influencers and content creators who have a large enough follower base to sway public opinion (Pialkowski et al.,2021). Social consciousness is easily created on such social media platforms since at times it connects a large number of people who share a similar viewpoint on a given matter. A good example of this is the black lives matter movement which was a social consciousness decision created by individuals who adopted a ‘we’ mentality due to the similar problem of racism they all faced.
Another effect of social media is the Bandwagon effect. This is the term used to describe people when they develop a particular adaptation to behaviors like trends in food and fashion simply because others are doing it (Tan et al.,2021). This effect develops and takes root because of public behavior that grows due to particular actions and beliefs growing amongst a given community. Influencers and content creators play a given role in creating this effect due to their large enough coverage on a large group of people who may solely rely on them for information and advice on given matters.
Method of data collection
By use of several surveys and questionnaires data thus became easy to gather and eventually compile.
Questionnaires and surveys were mostly targeted at young people who generally used social media on a day-to-day basis. Such people mostly included college students, friends, family, and coworkers.
By diagnosing different studies that deal with the same study a conclusive argument was reached and thus a cross-sectional study of social media in this day and age could be seen.
The study would first require the accurate gathering of data and then a cross-examination if all the data shows or give similar results.
The design employs a descriptive approach that heavily relies on observational and survey formats for data collection and interpretation.
My research results inevitably gave me a glimpse and horrifying reality of just how harmful social media can be to future generations if it’s not properly managed. I concluded from my results that although the greatest effects of social media can lead to policy change and eventual bad societal decisions in general the worst effects of all was in how it affected individual reasoning and self-esteem. Depression and sadness have become all too common a case for individuals who use social media on a day-to-day basis. Further research and reports show that feelings of depression mostly take place when individuals encounter or see photos of other people they consider are happier or have an amazing life than them.
Based on my research I concluded that women are more likely to be influencers on social media platforms compared to men. I also predict men are more susceptible to participate in challenges compared to women. Lastly, I predict women may experience greater effects on their self-esteem compared to men.
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