Social media use has skyrocketed over the past decade and a half. Whereas only five percent of adults in the United States reported using a social media platform in 2005, that number is now around 70 percent.
Growth in the number of people who use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat and other social media platforms — and the time spent on them—has garnered interest and concern among policymakers, teachers, parents, and clinicians about social media’s impacts on our lives and psychological well-being.
While the research is still in its early years — Facebook itself only celebrated its 15th birthday this year — media psychology researchers are beginning to tease apart the ways in which time spent on these platforms is, and is not, impacting our day-to-day lives.
Social media and relationships
One particularly pernicious concern is whether time spent on social media sites is eating away at face-to-face time, a phenomenon known as social displacement .
Fears about social displacement are longstanding, as old as the telephone and probably older. “This issue of displacement has gone on for more than 100 years,” says Jeffrey Hall, PhD, director of the Relationships and Technology Lab at the University of Kansas. “No matter what the technology is,” says Hall, there is always a “cultural belief that it’s replacing face-to-face time with our close friends and family.”
Hall’s research interrogates that cultural belief. In one study, participants kept a daily log of time spent doing 19 different activities during weeks when they were and were not asked to abstain from using social media. In the weeks when people abstained from social media, they spent more time browsing the internet, working, cleaning, and doing household chores. However, during these same abstention periods, there was no difference in people’s time spent socializing with their strongest social ties.
The upshot? “I tend to believe, given my own work and then reading the work of others, that there’s very little evidence that social media directly displaces meaningful interaction with close relational partners,” says Hall. One possible reason for this is because we tend to interact with our close loved ones through several different modalities—such as texts, emails, phone calls, and in-person time. But what about for Business ,
In little more than a decade, the impact of social media has gone from being an entertaining extra to a fully integrated part of nearly every aspect of daily life for many.
Recently in the realm of commerce, Facebook faced skepticism in its testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Libra, its proposed cryptocurrency and alternative financial system. In politics, heartthrob Justin Bieber tweeted the President of the United States, imploring him to “let those kids out of cages.” In law enforcement, the Philadelphia police department moved to terminate more than a dozen police officers after their racist comments on social media were revealed.
And in the ultimate meshing of the digital and physical worlds, Elon Musk raised the specter of essentially removing the space between social and media through the invention — at some future time — of a brain implant that connects human tissue to computer chips.
All this, in the span of about a week.
As quickly as social media has insinuated itself into politics, the workplace, home life and elsewhere, it continues to evolve at lightning speed, making it tricky to predict which way it will morph next. It’s hard to recall now, but SixDegrees.com, Friendster and Makeoutclub.com were each once the next big thing, while one survivor has continued to grow in astonishing ways. In 2006, Facebook had 7.3 million registered users and reportedly turned down a $750 million buyout offer. In the first quarter of 2019, the company could claim 2.38 billion active users, with a market capitalization hovering around half a trillion dollars. So in a few words , Yes Social Media is the future of all Business’s , in next Issue Will go into the depths how to make social media work for your company! .