For some people, social media is seen as somewhere where they can express themselves and stay up to date with their ‘friends’. As a result of this, it fulfils their need to be seen and their need to connect.
And what is different about this is that one can fulfil these needs no matter where they are; there is then no reason for one to be in a certain place. For example, one could be somewhere where there is no one else around, and they could still fulfil their needs by going online.
Based on this, it could be said that social media makes it easier for one to get certain needs met. So during those moments when they are unable to go out or want a boost, so to speak, they can simply go online.
However, one could realise that they can’t replace the kinds of interactions that have offline with the ones they have online. Therefore, their time online will be a way for them to supplement what happens in the real world.
As if this wasn’t the case and they were to spend more time interacting online than they did offline, they may soon start to feel as though something isn’t right. Or more accurately, they may soon start to experience certain symptoms.
This is because although they can believe that they are getting what they need, this is not going to be the complete truth. It is going to be similar to how one can believe that they are eating real food when they are eating fast food.
The Real Thing
In the same way that one is unlikely to feel nourished after eating this kind of food, one is also unlikely to feel the same way after using social media. What this comes down so is that one is talking to people over a screen, and this is clearly not the same as talking to them in person.
For instance, if one was to receive a hug from someone online in the form of an emoticon, it is not going to have much of an effect on them. The only way it would truly have an effect on them is if they were to receive this hug in the real world.
Part of Life
Therefore, although social media can add a lot of value to one’s life, it can’t replace the face-to-face interactions that have taken place between people for thousand of years. And if one tries to go against their need to be around others, they will set themselves up to suffer unnecessarily.
That this is not to say that one will realise what is taking place though, and this can then mean that they won’t be able to see why they feel as they do. But if they were able to step back, they may begin to see how social media is having a big effect on how they feel about themselves.
However, regardless of how often one uses it; they can come across things that they don’t like. This could relate to a music video, or to an image that someone else has shared without asking them.
Along with this, there could also be moments when one comes across something that they find offensive. When this takes place, it could be due to what they have seen on their own wall, or what they read underneath an article that is trending, for instance.
One could then take the time to reflect on why they are experiencing a strong reaction, and this will then allow them to tune into what is taking place in their mind and their body. Through doing this, one may find that something within them has been triggered.
In this case, it could be a sign that it has caused them to get in touch with something that took place at some point in past. Through being aware of what has happened it will then enable them to take responsibility for how they feel.
The Next Step
It might then be necessary for one to talk to a friend about how they feel or they may even need to reach out for external, support. Yet they may find that they soon start to settle down once they realise why they have reacted in a certain way.
There will then be no reason for them to do anything about what they have seen, and they can then carry on with their life. Alternatively, one could find that something has had an effect on them because it goes against their values.
For example, one could come across a comment that shows that someone isn’t very tolerant when it comes to people who have a different sexual orientation, or that they don’t believe than men and women should be treated as equals. This could then mean that they will speak up and show why the other person has the wrong outlook.
Still, this is not to say that they will resort to name calling, or that they will try to have the other person banned from using social media. It could then be said that one won’t try to take away the other person’s right to free speech.
When this happens, it could be said that one generally won’t try to stop other people form expressing their views. But while some people are like this, there are others who are not willing to take responsibility for how they feel.
Thus, when they come across something that causes them to experience a strong reaction, they won’t take the time to reflect on what is taking place within them. In fact, they might not even have the ability to do this.
Either way, one can then come to the conclusion that the other person has caused them to feel as they do, and this can then mean that they will try to have someone banned. Or if they don’t go this far, they could try to shame them.
Through trying to tarnish the other person image, it can cause them to moderate what they say. The fear of what may happen to them or their career can then stop them form being able to express themselves.
It is often said that it is the government who controls people; however, it might be more accurate to say that people are controlled by each other. And social media gives people the opportunity to control what other people say.
What this shows is how important it is for people to take responsibility for how they feel, as when one can’t do this it can be normal for them to try to control other people. In this sense, it is going to be a lot harder for free speech to exist when there are a lot of people who are mentally and emotionally undeveloped.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.