Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Highlights of My Life

Being connected is a top reason to be on social media.  Connect to your friends, family, childhood friends, and favorite brands. Homophily is when we feel connected to these people by a similar interest and can lead to a sense of belonging.  Last week we discussed exactly that - a feeling of belonging.  To catch that post, click HERE.  This week we are going to look at risks of social media and how you can prevent those risks.  

Many negative things come with social media.  I can't seem to work on homework if I have a social media platform open.  It is distracting to me, so I have to close off that area of my life to concentrate.  This is only a small portion of the cognitive issues that accompany the negatives in social media.  Cognitive-behavioral theory suggests that behaviors are driven by emotions and thoughts (Beck Institute, 2019). Cognitive biases lead to only listening to what you believe to be true (Cherry, 2020).  Our emotions can lead us to bullying, sharing terrible opinions, and so much more. 

When you like and share the same type of information, the algorithm will remember that info and start to show you things similar. If you like videos of puppies, you will likely start to see more puppy videos and other animals showing up in your newsfeed. Watching those videos leads to enjoying the video, which leads to more videos being shown to you. It's a vicious cycle! Good thing we are talking about puppies here. Now imagine if this were politics. The more political posts you engage with, the more you are likely to see.
It is crazy to think that over half of Facebook's users use the platform via a mobile device (Zheng & Lee, 2016).  This makes it very easy to share a post, connect with people, and be distracted from what is happening in front of you.  People also get comfortable with sharing posts, even without checking the facts.  Oftentimes, I have seen a news article that was posted years ago but the person who shared found the info new, so they shared it before actually reading the article.  This happened on my newsfeed today actually.  There was a post about a local YMCA branch closing.  The article was from 6 years ago and since then a new YMCA has been built.  The confusion the post caused had some people in the community worried about where they were going to work out after the virus clears up.  Finally, someone commented that it was an old article and eventually the post was removed.  

Being vigilant with what we are posting on social media can help make sure we are not part of the negative side of things.  However, this mindset leads to only posting what is good.  Bailey Parnell (2017) said, "our lives on social media are a highlight reel."  Just think about it.  She is exactly right. 

Cherry, K. (2020, May 05). What is Cognitive Bias? Cognitive Psychology, Retrieved from
Cognitive Model: Beck Institute (2019). Retrieved From:

Parnell, B. (2017, June 22). Is social media hurting your mental health? [Video file]. | Transcript. Retrieved from

Zheng, X., & Lee, M. K. O. (2016). Excessive use of mobile social networking sites: Negative consequences on individualsComputers in Human Behavior, 65, 65–76.

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