- Social Media networks influence all spheres of society. Its impact is both visible and invisible in our digital lives.
- Many a time people navigate both online and offline worlds in extremes.
- Misinformation seems to be on the rise and selective thinking seems to be the norm.
Social Media is all powerful and omnipresent. Social Media can ‘do the possible, the impossible, and the reverse of the possible’. Mari Smith, summarizes it beautifully, “With Social Media so prevalent we are all extremely visible. Your prospective clients, your peers and your competition can drill as deep as they wish searching, reading and gathering information online about you and posted by you without you ever knowing who’s searching. Depending on what they find, your prospects may choose to do business with you or not”.
It was Social Media according to vox.com that enabled law enforcement to identify the Capitol Rioters. Many Rioters bragged about their attempted insurrection. Social Media escalates “groupthink” which not only quashes original thought but can be dangerous when the desire for conformity results in irrational decision-making. According to Alex Anastasiou, DO, a San Francisco–based psychiatrist,”Basic human psychology suggests that people have a tendency to conform to their ‘group’ so that they can fit in and be well-liked.
Over time, the values and beliefs shared by a group become more similar”. Social media stimuli can affect the brain’s decision-making and emotional processing functions; when social media users receive positive feedback (likes), their brains fire off dopamine receptors, which is facilitated in part by the VTA (ventral tegmental area).
The social media decided on Jan 7, 2021 to suspend former President Donald Trump’s accounts. Facebook sought public opinion whether the decision was right or not. Forbes discusses whether it is ethical to shut off Trump from access to the social platforms. There is divided opinion as to whether this is right or not. Overall 58% of U.S adults are in favor and 41% are against this.
Social Media platform Reddit in which 5 million members exchange investment ideas generated huge profits by gorging on shares of GameStop Corp. The 7,200% increase in (GME), a 689% run in the last week of January, 2021 is attributed to social media and how it influenced this volatility. Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analysis at S3 Partners said,’ “It signals that a short squeeze has begun in earnest and most probably will continue if GameStop’s stock price stays at these levels or rises more,” in Bloomberg.
Social Media changes the protocol of communication turning passive readers and listeners to potential speakers and active participants. Social media is the ‘ultimate meshing of the digital and physical worlds’. Deibert writes,”in a short period of time, digital technologies have become pervasive and deeply embedded in all that we do. Unwinding them completely is neither possible nor desirable”. Social media remains omnipresent.