A popular debate of today, with the increase in technology and the amount of time people spend plugged in, is whether or not the benefits of social media outweigh the consequences. This debate is too deep to simply go into in one blog post, but I find the controversy between the two sides very interesting. As a Media and Communications major, I am biased in not believing that all social media is harmful and bad, but also as a Psychology major, I am intrigued by new research that explores the possible psychological effects of social media, whether good or bad.
Turkle (a college professor and clinical psychologist) has written a book entitled, “Alone Together”, in which she not only discusses what she believes to be negative effects of social media on society today, but she also psychoanalyzes how social media is damaging in ways that we may not even realize. In a book review of “Alone Together” by the Boston Globe, they quote Turkle’s opinion that “our uses of new technologies demean real friendships, lead us to treat others as objects, lower our expectations for real human connection, create immense stress”, and she goes on to list other ‘detrimental’ effects of social medias. Turkle believes that our constant use of technology and social medias are harming people’s (specifically adolescents’) ability to find their identity.
Unfortunately, in the search for possible positive psychological effects of social media, I was unable to find anything. However, I found a blogpost by a woman who is looking for the answers to whether or not psychological issues and illnesses (such as anxiety and depression, addiction, sleep disorders, and even schizophrenia) really do arise from high uses of social media. After reading current research that has been done, she concludes that these negative effects may be possible. At the end of her post she asks her public whether or not they agree with her that psychological disorders may be a result of excess social media involvement.
The information I found regarding the negative psychological effects of social media were both from sources that are easily accessible to an audience through a quick internet search. If I had the resources to do research through empirical data, I may find possible benefits for our media use. The amount of use of social media is one that got a lot of backlash a few years ago, with the invention of things like facebook and twitter, and the increased use of blogging. But I think that, through our class readings, it is becoming apparent that we are now seeing that social media may not be so bad after all, and that there are in fact many possibilities through the use of social media.