Art by Vivian Hsia
Transparency Item: The Perspectives section of the Graphic is comprised of articles based on opinion. This is the opinion and perspective of the writer.
Social media was created to be a wonderful tool to stay in touch with friends, family and favorite public personalities. However, it is now altering into a smoke screen for the real life of users. I’ve noticed more often than not, it is being prioritized over face-to-face interaction and can have negative effects on health and the human mind.
Social media has now become an outlet for jobs to use as a reference for potential employees as part of the application process. Recent studies found 67% of employers now use social media to look at and do research on potential candidates for jobs, according to Zippia. This is more than half of employers relying on social media for information regarding a future employee. What happened to in-person connection?
In colleges and universities, this is often the case as well. Sororities and fraternities utilize social media to survey potential new members prior to meeting them in person so they know more about them, according to Sorority Scoop.
New members might worry about factors like how many followers they have, how many likes per post there are and how their appearance looks in general. These might be just a few of the components an organization considers when glancing at an applicant’s social media.
While these are different qualifications than a job uses, it is still the same principle of prioritizing social media over in-person interaction, which should not be done.
Along the same lines is when fraternity and sorority organizations use social media to promote themselves during the recruitment process. The idea of “Selling Sisterhood” is a phenomena often seen in fraternities and sororities, according to Kaitlynn Beaird.
Beaird notes a big part of organizations’ social media is putting an emphasis on the student culture within the organization, selling the students as a brotherhood or sisterhood. This means organizations can post a group of members in a posed photo and sell it like they’re best friends, even if they’ve only spoken once.
While this isn’t always the case, the potentially misleading sense of reality can cause prospective new members to have a distorted sense of what’s to come. This idea can translate into other aspects of life as well, not just within fraternities and sororities.
Furthermore, in recent years, social media interactions have surpassed in-person communications. Nearly half of teens said they “almost constantly” use social media on a daily basis to communicate and interact with others, according to Pew Research. With 4.59 billion social media users per day, according to Statista, this isn’t a surprise.
The use of social media can also alter the chemistry of the brain for users and cause inadequate representations of how a person should look, setting users up with a comparative mindset, anxiety and insecurity. In a 2017 study, 60% of social media users said social media has been a negative influence on their self esteem, causing self doubt, insecurities and anxiety, according to Huffington Post. Additionally, 80% of poll participants said it is easier to be deceived by the perfection of another user’s post through their sharing, according to the same Huffington Post study.
Social media shouldn’t be a wall for people to hide behind in an attempt to feel better about themselves. It shouldn’t be an empty pool where people go to relieve themselves of pain and end up feeling worse than they did before, and it most certainly shouldn’t be prioritized in job environments over in-person interviews.
Posting on social media should be honest, unedited and open — there is a fine line between staying private and completely lying through face-tuning and Photoshop to change the way people perceive you.
As a society, there must be a shift in how the population utilizes social media. It was made to be fun — keep it fun. It was made to be a way to stay connected, not completely attached. It is a way to bring added joy, not encapsulate an entire person’s life or mind.
Make social media casual again, and don’t create a false sense of yourself because you think it’s what others want to see.
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