Identity in the Age of Social Media

In the Age of Social Media, it is important to recognize the role and the effects it has on identity. But what is identity? Identity is, “the self-concept, which is the knowledge of who we are, combined with self-awareness to develop a cognitive representation of the self, called identity” (Worsham, 2011). It is also important to mention that in developing self-awareness, our identity is shaped by both internal and external factors. And, when you add social media in the mix, it makes it an “extension of everyday life and a tool of cultural change” (Worsham, 2011).

According to Stastista, as of 2017, Americans daily social media usage amounted to 135 minutes per day. That is 9 minutes more than it was in 2016 and 26 minutes more than it was back in 2015.

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This is a considerable amount of time being spent on social media. Especially, when you look at the increase in time through the years. It makes sense why it plays such a significant role in our everyday lives.

For instance, browsing social media can end up being more than just a form of entertainment. There are now more cases than ever where individuals use it to compare their lives with the lives of others. In an article titled, Social Media’s Impact on Self-Esteem, interviews were conducted on men and women between the ages of 28-73 who are active social media users. Here is what they found:

  • “60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way
  • 50% reported social media having negative effects on their relationships
  • 80% reported that is easier to be deceived by others through their sharing on social media”

social-media-depression-header

It also doesn’t help that on media like, Facebook and Instagram there are posts constantly being shared of what kind of person you should be, what you should be doing and how you should look. “Some sources even claim that social media usage can lower self-control, lower self-esteem, cause overeating, and prevent us from thinking independently” (Brown, 2017).

Another interesting fact to recognize is, media’s role in promoting certain lifestyles. There are so many ads all over social media pushing us to buy certain products or develop certain lifestyles. “In essence, media is conveying what we should buy, who we should be, or who we should become, in order to be happy”  (Worsham, 2011). It is unfortunate that it seems to be working in its favor no matter what age we are.

In short, Social media is and will remain to be a part of our lives, we just need to learn to embrace it. But, it is important for us to set boundaries on the extent to which we should allow it to control our lives. What do you do to prevent yourself from falling in the psychological pitfalls of social media?

social-media-mental-health1.jpg

References:

Brown, N. (2017, July 20) How to prevent social media depression. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, https://www.fix.com/blog/does-social-media-cause-depression/

Silva, C. (2017, February 22) Social media’s impact on self-esteem. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-medias-impact-on-self-esteem_us_58ade038e4b0d818c4f0a4e4

Statista. (n.d.) Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2017. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, https://www.statista.com/statistics/433871/daily-social-media-usage-worldwide/

Worsham, S. L. (2011, November 28) Media’s influence on social norms and identity development of youth. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, http://www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/applied_social_psychology/2011/11/medias-influence-on-social-norms-and-identity-development-of-youth.html

 

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4 thoughts on “Identity in the Age of Social Media

  1. artemisajandes says:

    Great post! I can agree with your research that social media can be very influential in who we desire to be. Instagram, Snapchat, & Facebook have continuous images and articles telling you what you should be, what you should wear, and what you should look like. Everywhere you look, there is an advertisement of some sort. I use to like that Instagram didn’t have advertisements and now it seems like every other image is a “sponsored” ad 😦
    I feel like most of us like to post positive posts on social media, it isn’t that I want to portray a fake persona, it’s just that I don’t want to air all my dirty laundry for the world to read. Yes, I get mad, and yes I make mistakes, but I don’t want the world to know and judge me for being human… I guess some people feel as though we should all share every detail of our lives, and I just don’t agree.
    -Artemisa

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    • Evelyn says:

      Artemisa,

      I agree! While I occasionally enjoy seeing a sponsored ad about something similar to what I like, it tends to become overwhelming when you scroll down your feed and all you see are sponsored ads. And also, one other thing I don’t like are how often now our favorite YouTuber or celebrity is endorsing a product…what’s real? what actually works? It can become frustrating when us as the consumer don’t know if they are promoting a product because it actually works or simply because they want our money?

      I also agree with your remarks about sharing every detail. I don’t find it necessary, and if we share inspiring posts it doesn’t always mean something is wrong or we are sharing a “false” version of ourselves. I like to think of it as us posting it in hopes of it reminding us of simpler times, good times or to stay on track .

      Thanks for the conversation! 🙂

      Like

  2. Tammie says:

    Hello Evelyn –

    Social media has changed the way people interact with each other. Low self esteem has been an issue for generations because we are human. We care what people think of us. “Like many human behaviors and attitudes, this social quirk is likely rooted in evolution. The need for social approval can be traced to your early ancestors and their survival instinct” (Finlay, n.d.). It is important for us to socialize.

    We are taught as children how to dress, how to speak when spoken too, and to be kind to one another. “Some experts trace the need for another’s approval to your own sense of self-worth” (Finlay, n.d.). Using social media as a platform to speak your mind is not necessarily a good thing. Since we need the approval of others this is the quickest way to obtain those results, both good and bad. We need to learn to focus on the good and acknowledge the strength that lies within.

    Tammie

    Works cited:
    Finlay, Angie. (n.d.) Why do we care what other people think? Healthliving. Retrieved from http://healthliving.today/care-what-other-people-think/

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  3. Evelyn says:

    Tammie, unfortunately in this time and age, we care too much about what people think of us. I don’t like seeing this is what has become out of social media, but it has. Just like there are upsides, there are downsides and this is a major one. We just have to learn to value ourselves as we are and not let the “likes” and “follows” of strangers define us.

    Thank you for sharing your insight! 🙂

    Like

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