Mirror Mirror: human behaviour through the virtual looking glass.

Image: Gonzalo Baeza

Waking up, I check my phone to see a long string of texts, notifications and emails. I  scroll through my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feed to see what kind of world I’ll be stepping into for the day. Before lunch, I would have communicated more through social media accounts than face-to-face interactions.

Social media has abruptly changed the way humans behave and communicate. Since the creation of outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, the human experience has shifted and expanded to something that consists more than just physical encounters; virtual interactions can evoke genuine emotions, and can expose each individual to a vast audience where everything we comment and share is pervasive.

Social media has influenced our relationships, consumption of goods and our education. We can network faster and easier, rather than dropping off resumes from building to building. Opportunity has grown immensely. In regards to maintaining relationships, it’s easier to stay relevant in each other’s lives with quick updates and posts, rather than taking the time to physically see an old friend. Though some argue that these interactions are in genuine, I would firmly disagree; I realize a knock on the door evokes the same reaction as my phone vibrating–I’m equally as startled and I am the one who chooses to let them in. Just because we can experience something now through a screen, it shouldn’t undermine the content that is still trying to be expressed.

In terms of public-heath, society can achieve goals that were once unattainable pre-social media days. For example, a public-health initiative was launched by Sarah Feinberg, Facebook’s director of corporate communication, and Andy Cameraon, the surgical director of liver transplants at John Hopkins University, successfully prompting 500,000 people to register as organ donors. The project called for those who registered, to share it on their profiles, thus influencing their friends to do the same. Because it was a friend asking you to donate, rather than an organization or the government, people were more likely to listen and take action. However, when analyzing the negative effects social media can have in regards to health, body image has become an increasing issue, especially among the youth. Unrealistic beauty standards and the increasing use of editing apps makes individuals question and filter the things they post.

Phones have essentially become another limb for humans; the things we choose to share become another voice, and our online profiles become another personality. Social media has affected the way we behave drastically, for the better and the worse–it’s all a matter of keeping up with it.

Written by Pia Araneta


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