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The Effect of Social Media on Human Behavior

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How Has Social Media Affected Human Behavior and Thinking?
In this modern age in which you can be completely disconnected from the world by not having access to the endless information provided by the Internet, it is imperative to have Internet access to be able to be as efficient as possible and be able to create your own network. This is made possible in part to the availability of social media. One can interact with others around the world to either create new friendships on a recreational level, or develop job-related relationships at a professional level. All too often, we hear questions relating as to how social media plays a role in our manner of thinking and interaction. This has been a concern with the general population currently using social media, but most particularly with the younger generations. The role social media plays in how the younger age groups of today think and interact with other people and how much their academic performance can change has proven to be pretty significant over the years. Therefore, it is important to look more in depth into this matter of the pros and cons of social media: how it has been able to benefit some by networking with other people and the negative effects it can have on the adolescents of today in terms of their behavior and mentality.

In recent years, new websites such as Facebook and Twitter were created and served as a means of communicating and networking with other people. The network one could create could expand all throughout the world if they wanted to, thus providing an effective and efficient means of communicating with other people without the dilemma of needing to physically be with someone or make a costly international call to simply talk to someone. Such web pages with the capacity to connect people have come to be known as social media. Their primary purpose was to allow people to interact with one another in an efficient and easy manner. The website had a concentrated population using the website at first, but eventually expanded its usage to anyone else who was interested. The age requirement for having a Facebook account currently stands at 13 years old. Twitter was a micro-blog website created in 2006 and allows people to put down their thoughts or ideas in a limited character message. These have been the two of the most renowned social media sites in use since their creation, allowing for users to interact with one another. Due to so many people being captivated by what social media is able to do and attracting a tremendous population, companies have started to make good use of these websites as a means of networking and marketing any product or service that may be appealing to users.

A grand variety of advertisements and various forms of marketing are presented on social media sites to grab the attention of consumers, knowing an expansive population will see their material and hopefully buy into it. Even Facebook pages have been created by many companies, be it the news, sports channels, clothing stores. You name it. Despite creating what can be a resourceful and helpful tool, social media has started to become harmful to the mental health of the adolescents. Their behavior and manner of socializing has begun to vary due to the influences of social media and some of the other things they may unintentionally be exposed to by going to these sorts of websites.

The mind of a child resembles that of a sponge. Whatever they see, hear, or come to understand, their brain will process what they experience and that experience will be embedded into their brains. They are more exposed to various things through the Internet now that they can manage to learn through various technologies they have at their disposition such as iPads, cell phones, Google, and other modern marvels that provide them information (Geidd). Despite having such an expansive amount of resources available to them, can it all backfire in a way that it may have a negative impact on children? Being able to independently manage complex technologies can contribute to how a child may turn out to be, in terms of their behavior and manner of thinking, later on in their lives. According to Narcissism, extraversion and adolescents’ self-presentation on Facebook, there is a relationship between the adolescent population behavior and manner of thinking with the use of Facebook. The young users of this website start to display extraversion and become narcissistic due to the pressure they are put under to be accepted by their peers and having to display an appealing physical appearance. These kids also have the sense of power and ownership in that they can interact with whoever they like without their parents’ vigilance being a problem (Ong et al.).

Further damage is done in terms of the effects on the adolescents. Through the narcissism, adolescents start to lose interest in developing interpersonal relationships with others, always attempting to have everyone’s attention, and are very concerned with their physical appearance. These are reasons capable of making a child spend countless hours on Facebook, or any sort of social media website. As mentioned in “Is Google Making Us Stupid”, having such a tool like the search engine, Google, it has caused the modern day internet browser to grasp a habit of simply scanning through the information they seek in a text and not thoroughly reading it (91). What seemed to be a tool to help us be efficient in our methods of research seems to be having a negative effect on our thinking process. Based on that info, not only can social media affect the way a human may think, but a tool that proves to be so efficient and useful causes our brain to “slow down” and not have to do as much work. Having all of the resourceful technologies we can access today could ironically prove to be degrading for our brain rather than helpful. If the advanced tools we have today seem to be causing more harm than good with our manner of thinking and interacting, what sort of effect will the technological advancements of tomorrow have on us then?

Thanks to the great technological innovations of today, we have convenient and useful products provided to us such as laptops, tablets, and smart phones. And with the way technology is progressing, the possibilities seem limitless. The websites created in most recent years, which have proven to be very popular and used by most people, have served as great means of promoting the image of a company. Social media serves as a great tool for connecting with others and being able to create your own network. It has allowed companies to promote their image even further than was possible before. Companies within the United States have used Facebook and other branches of social media to extend their image to the public.

Is the United States the only country that has managed to expand upon its marketing strategies by interacting with people a bit more personally through social media? Other countries, in fact, have caught on to this trend of corporate relationships forming with consumers online. India uses Orkut, Mixi in Japan, and Renren in China. The relationships between businesses and consumers in other countries are surprisingly not very different from that of the United States, despite the differences in culture and the corporate-consumer relationships. Foreign countries, rather, adapt public relations theories in hopes of creating an appealing image to the public (Men and Tsai). Companies will use social media to not only put out what they want to sell or what they have to say, but also to get feedback from the consumers themselves. In order to improve their product and service quality, they ask for ideas, concerns, and opinions from the consumers themselves. This provides a sense of empowerment to the public in being able to indirectly participate in the company’s efforts to create a new and improved product or service, thus attaining the goal of making a greater appeal to the public. Despite the negative effects social media can have on adolescents in their manner of thinking and interacting, it can prove to be a very resourceful means of networking when used in the correct and responsible manner.

The younger generations of today have more access to the endless amount of information found on the Internet because of technologies that make it possible such smart phones, tablets, and upgraded speeds of Internet browsing. Their young minds will be able to take in a grand quantity of information at an efficient rate, but can also affect the way they may think and behave if they expose themselves long enough. Social media has proven to be a primary contributor to these negative changes in their behavior, bringing about narcissism and extraversion from the adolescent if they fall into the trap of peer pressure. Although social media can negatively influence adolescents’ thinking and behavior, it can be helpful and efficient to be able to create your own network. The influence companies can have on the consumer through social media has shown it has been more effective than many other methods of marketing a service or product. There are various ways to argue the effects social media can have on a population, but it is a matter of using it in the correct manner to bring about the best results and avoiding any negative impact it can have on a person’s mental and social state of being.

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