Social Media is a big part of 21st century life. Using it has brought benefits to its users, however using social media has a lot of negative effects including social isolation, anxiety and depression.
In this week’s blog I’ll be discussing how to handle negativity on social media.
What is Social Media?
Websites and applications that enable users to participate in a social network or enable users to create and share content.
What are the different types of social media?
There are many types of social media including:
- Social Networks: Websites that enable users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, images and messages.
- Micro blogging: Sites that enable anyone to post comments to a micro blog that attracts an audience.
- Photo Sharing: Sites that enable users to share digital photos online.
- Video Sharing: Online video platforms such as YouTube enable users to upload, convert, store and playback video content on the internet.
What is social media used for?
The purpose of social media platforms are to help users connect, share and give information and connect with millions of other users. It’s important not to ignore social media, since it is an important part of our lives today.
Social media platforms include many social components that include the common fields that you share with other users. In business, social media is used to market products and promote brands. Almost 80% of small businesses use social media to attract new customers and it can also help you validate your brand.
It’s estimated that 3.5 billion people worldwide use social media. That’s 45% of the world’s population. As of 2019 an additional 360 million people started using social media.
What are the advantages of social media use?
Marketing Tool: Social media can be used for marketing a business. Since so many adults use social media it is a great opportunity to get leads.
Self Education: Social media platforms such as YouTube have revolutionized how we educate ourselves. Whether it’s a video blog (vlog) or an instructional video posted by a college professor social media has changed how we learn.
Build Relationships: At its root the purpose of social media is about connecting people to people. From a professional standpoint is used tremendously to connect with colleagues, mentors, role models and other professionals. As you build these relationships there are opportunities to tap into new networks that may open up new opportunities.
Share your Expertise: Social media is a great opportunity to talk about what you know. Sharing your expertise can attract potential professional and personal connections.
What are the negative effects of social media?
Depression and Anxiety: A major consequence of social media is the rise in the number of users who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. This may sound paradoxical that social media is intended to connect people to people, but at the same time perpetuate depression and anxiety through feeling of disconnection and loneliness.
Cyberbullying: A person can be bullied by another person on social media by sending messages that are intimidating or threatening.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): We all get anxious when we see something more exciting or interesting going on in someone else’s life. Along with feeling anxious we can feel jealous and angry when we think we’re missing out.
Internet Addiction: Overtime the use of social media can turn into an addiction.
Unhealthy sleep patterns: The overuse of social media via electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets can disrupt your circadian rhythm by tricking your body into thinking the sun is still out and not product melatonin.
Negative body image: Social media can cause a user to have a negative or distorted body image as they start comparing themselves with other users.
Unrealistic expectations about life: Social media is something many people now rely on for receiving validation about their lives. Social media paints a picture of what life should be like and we become addicted to posting the perfect post in order to receive likes.
The spread of misinformation: Many people already feel depressed and anxious watching the news. Due to the spreading of misinformation from a news outlet embellishing a story to get ratings and users posting misinformation on social media. People are now more depressed and anxious than ever before when they turn the news on, because they’re not sure about whether the story is real or not.
How to deal with Negativity?
The negative effects of social listed above can have a detrimental effect on many users. This has resulted in the rise of cyber bullies called trolls.
What is a Troll?
A Troll is an internet slag term that describes a person that starts quarrels or upsets people on social media by posting inflammatory and generally off topic messages with the intent of provoking negative responses from readers.
Once you have a presence on social media, it’s really hard to totally avoid negative reviews and comments whether they’re written by a Troll or not. I’ve learned through experience that it’s important that negativity is handled in a way that it won’t escalate.
When negativity escalates on social media it can have a long lasting impact on your brand. I’ve learned through participating in Facebook forums that negativity can quickly get out of hand if you are dealing with a cyberbully that’s trying to bait you. How you respond makes a difference, if you give in to the baiting and respond in the wrong way you may attract more negative people that will hurt your brand.
I personally feel less anxious when I don’t get involved with negativity.
Here are some tips for handling negativity on social media:
- Be empathetic: Learn to recognize that the negative person may be going through something and use social media to vent their problems. Learn how to see things from their point of view.
- Acknowledge the issue: Before the situation escalates it’s important to acknowledge the issue that’s causing someone to be negative. If it’s being caused by something you’ve done or someone is not satisfied with a product you’re offering take responsibility for it and apologize.
- Offer a solution: A negative person may be feeling helpless, scared and frustrated. Offering a solution can help keep a negative situation from spiraling out of control.
- Take it offline: Talk to the negative person privately through private messaging.
- Ban or block them: In a worse case scenario if all options were considered and the negativity continues to escalate out of control you may have to ban or block that person.
How do you use social media?
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