Within our society, Social media is used as an integral mechanism. By restructuring how we associate ourselves with the world around us, we must rethink what we need in terms of our interactions. We must understand that neither Twitter, Facebook, nor Snapchat can help us achieve a real relationship. With social networking being profound means of relaying information, there’s a great difference between online and real social networks. Even though people can be more connected than ever, people ironically feel more alone than ever. Facebook is one example, that can be shown to decrease human interaction, lead people to depression, and cause breakups, even though a person may look like they have many “friends.”
Facebook tends to decrease the will for people to interact with one another. This can be shown by how one’s friends react to a post that was made by them. With each person’s attempt to be correct, they will almost always comment on a status. With many people being so-called “trolls”, the negative atmosphere that this creates is resentful. This is also true when people try to be artificially happy online. “The more you try to be happy, the less happy you are. Sophocles made roughly the same point” (Marche). By consistently trying to put up a façade of being contempt and happy, the willpower of a person to be happy runs out. It creates a void within an individual that makes the person loathe themselves and constantly think about
how others perceive them. By doing so, this feeling causes a person to want to be away from others that they post to because their real life is not what is on the internet.
Depression and or anxiety can most definitely be caused by prolonged social media use. “A 2005 analysis of data from a longitudinal study of Dutch twins showed that the tendency toward loneliness has roughly the same genetic component as other psychological problems such as neuroticism or anxiety” (Marche). As shown in the above quote, the amount of psychological damage that Facebook can cause results in the same manner as some real-world stress patterns. In a real-life case study done by the company Growth from Knowledge, depression correlation is shown to prolonged social media use. To quote directly from the conclusion of the study:
“SM use was significantly associated with increased depression. Given the proliferation of SM, identifying the mechanisms and direction of this association is critical for informing interventions that address SM use and depression” (Lin et al.).
In the case of divorces, the rates have risen drastically over the past few years. The student Russell Clayton along with his teammates, from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, reviewed 205 Facebook users varying from the early age of 18, all the way to 82
(hg.org). This study was to see what percentage of people that are in a relationship result in conflicts and breakups. Clayton concluded that with the power of being able to monitor one’s significant other and the option of reconnecting with old lovers, there was a much higher risk of cheating on one’s partner (hg.org). Another study that was done on British divorce lawyers stated that “approximately one in three divorces resulted from social media-related disagreements” (hg.org).
Facebook, being the powerful and mighty tool as we know it, still comes with many major flaws. As stated in the essay above, decreased human interaction, depression, and relationship breakups are all causes of prolonged activity on Facebook. While still calling Facebook a strong means to help us build our social connection an outreach, it should still be limited in the amount of time used due to the inherent negative outcomes it may produce.