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Social Media: Too Much of a Good Thing? | Samia Khan | TEDxTerryTalks

Social Media: Too Much of a Good Thing? | Samia Khan | TEDxTerryTalks

we've all been there sitting alone in your room trying to magically absorb the terms readings in one night your midterm is tomorrow and you told yourself no more Instagram until chapter 9 is done but you're only 3/4 done chapter 7 and you're on Instagram again whoa everyone else must be so smart I mean how are they on top of their stuff and like how are they able to go out and do so on top of their stuff don't they have to study too but then again you haven't gone to class in a week thinking to be more productive for you to stay home and look over your readings yourself which you would have done if you hadn't spent that whole time catching up on season five of scandal definitely worth it except now you're kind of regretting that seeing everyone else who clearly didn't waste their time so you tell yourself okay I know what I have to do now you sit up straight decide to focus and spend one more hour going through all your social media feeds how are you back here again well we are the social media generation according to findings from the Pew Research Institute social media usage has increased by about a thousand percent in the past eight years for the ages eighteen to twenty nine ninety percent of college students use social media so basically all of us and on average we spend about two hours a day on these sites so it's no surprise we find ourselves on these sites over and over again we're hooked marking professionals spend millions of dollars getting luring us to use these sites and keeping keeping us on there they know how to get us to go on these sites and continue going on them you know what updates to use like going from favorites and stars on Twitter to now hearts and likes and they see which ones are successful or not and the way they do this is through the variable schedule reinforcement paradigm so basically sometimes your behavior as reward other times it isn't because our behavior is rewarded only sometimes we are likely to continue with our behavior hoping the next time we get the reward the social-media equivalent of this is a notification icon so basically we see a bright red plus one notification for every interaction that we have from friend requests to like photo etc etc this graph demonstrates that in practice on Facebook so basically you first check out your Facebook I 1:15 you have three notifications so you go back to study spend a little bit of time come back 1:27 okay you have one notification then you come back again at 1:30 for now you have zero come back again at 203 take a little break from studying you still have zero now you decide okay it's been a little while not much happening on Facebook so you take a little bit longer to check in the next time and the next time you do bingo you have two notifications your behavior is finally rewarded so it's in this way that social media websites encourage us to continuously keep checking in and because these notifications are unpredictable and variable they occur from time to time we don't know when it's going to happen we're conditioned to stop whatever we're doing and come back and check to see if we have any similarily according to data from Facebook positive Facebook posts actually elicit more positive Facebook posts so if you have one positive Facebook post on your feed that's going to elicit someone else to on average post to more positive Facebook posts whereas the negative one you're only going to have one more being elicited but that's not a huge issue I mean we want to see more positive things on our feed anyway right well it wouldn't be if we already weren't so happy or positive on social media anyway we're hyper positive think about all the content you see on Facebook Instagram it's all by the new profile page people's jobs up job updates new vacations to exotic locations funny jokes and statuses we know what posts are people want to see and we know that are going to get the most attention and the post I garnered the most likes shares and comments are the ones in which we're being doing and looking good for being you know doing positive it's in this way that were conditioned to believe the positive equals good meaning that these positive posts are the ones giving us those comments shares likes basically affirmation and these affirmations are hugely powerful because they actually influence and trigger the pleasure center in our brain will do anything for that little dose of dopamine studies even show that being ignored on Facebook is akin to psychological hell okay a bit of an overstatement but it really does impact your self-esteem and sense of control it's no surprise we want likes in this way Society is conditioned to display positivity through sharing their high points and in turn being validated or celebrated for that we feel validated and if you want to continue feeling validated we learned that we must continue posting about the good things in our life and about ourselves soon it doesn't really matter if we're actually doing good or not as long as we're you know letting everyone else know that we are the D to post positivity is exacerbated in university because of its achievement-oriented context here we are posting not about only our personal highs but we're also competing with each other for not only grades but also involvement extracurriculars and even our social life truth is most of us know most of the time we have no idea what we're doing but we feel the need to present the best version of ourselves because it impacts our success in the future and falling behind and posting something negative or like being seeing a negative way could mean falling behind in this high-stakes subliminal competition an interesting observation I've noted is that although we ourselves don't like to post negative things or talked about the low points in our lives we're more than okay to engage with that we're more than sympathetic when it comes from more socially acceptable source of real stories not just the glitz and glam like humans in New York we appreciate and sympathize with that we don't really know what to do when it happens to people in our own life or even within our own circle like if a guy from our math class posts about his mom dealing with cancer we're not really used to that but we're okay with facing these realities if they come from a more socially acceptable a source of reality humans of New York regularly post about the people he encounters in everyday life when most of his posts focusing on the trials and tribulations of everyday people things that we can all relate to ourselves and when he's not doing that he posts pictures of cute kids this shows to me that we're aware of the realities that everyone faces we're aware of the fact that we everyone has lows but somehow we feel like we can't post or talk about it ourselves truth is not everyone's doing as well as it seems as they seem on social media what we're seeing is just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg with a greater more personal realities looming underneath the surface we see people's successes but not the hard work or even the failures that led up to that success we see everyone's nice photos but not the millions of selfies that it took to finally get to that one everyone seems to be really doing really well when you're looking at their highlight reel as opposed to their daily log in fact some people aren't doing very well at all a quarter of all university age students experience problems of mental health most commonly stress anxiety and depression 89 % of all students admitted to feeling overwhelmed by all that they had to do last year at UBC alone 24% of domestic students and 20% of international students felt that anxiety had impacted their work in some way many of us are aware of these statistics but don't realize how our social media use can somehow be related to that well the way this works is our swipers positive the way this works is our hyper positive social media interactions have created a one-sided conversation so basically we're displaying and talking about our high points or forgetting how important it is to realize that low points exist as well with the issue of mental health this is particularly troubling because students dealing with problems like that feel like they can't speak up or talk about the issues are going through because you're supposed to do nothing but talk about the positives this was the case for Madison Hollerin a 19 year old freshman C of Pennsylvania Madison was a track star attractive and had really good grades basically she fit the bill perfectly for what a successful University student looks like but personally she was dealing with issues of depression these never came to light until On January 17 2014 she jumped to her own death eleven hundred university students in the US alone commit suicide every year many of whom share similar stories to Madison Madison story illustrates the immense pressure for students to present only the highlights and hide everything else they may ruin that may ruin the glossy image as one of Madison's friends put it everyone post pictures of the best time they're having no one post pictures of themselves sitting in their rooms crying another interesting insight I've noticed about mental health on campus is I often people don't talk post or even acknowledge the fact that they had an issue until they're doing well this is due to the stigma of mental health being compounded by the hyper positivity of our social interactions especially on social media we're not helping to end the stigma by only talking about the success stories and not the experiences and the realities of those who are facing them as they happens it seems as though we're expected to get better before we can even acknowledge that we had a problem even when social media doesn't lead to more serious issues of mental health the messages that you're consuming still end up affecting your mood and self-esteem I've had many friends tell me how going on Facebook too long ends up making themselves feel so bad about their own success in their own life and they're not the only ones and I'm sure you're not the only ones because research has shown that yes going on social media too long can lead to negative feelings about the self this is because on social media you have an oversaturation of everyone's achievements and successes without any context as to how they even got there it's like everyone's a Google image stock photo of success and Happiness your own progress which you obviously have lots of context about seems bleak in comparison this type of virtual comparison leads to real feelings of an inadequacy and leaves you feeling even more pressured as if we didn't have enough to begin with lastly one of the most thought-provoking things I've learned and experienced is that maybe we shouldn't be trying to win at all it's been shown that we can only have up to 150 successful stable social relationships and I know most of us have way more than that on Facebook alone recently ass Anna O'Neal an 18 year old Instagram celebrity said no to social media quit social media and said goodbye to her half a million followers a sign I made a video detailing her own experience with social media Fame and how empty and meaningless it turned out to be she grew up idolizing other girls and wanted to be as thin pretty famous as them but once she got there she details how she felt so empty and low about herself as a person this demonstrates to me that even though we're able to have these accomplishments that yeah maybe we are able to get that follow count or have that nice hair and get those good grades and have everyone think we're the best that those things don't really make us who we are at the end of the day they aren't we'll make our life meaningful or fulfilling nowadays it's so important for us to have a vibrant social media presence and we're expected to keep up in that realm many times it feels as though we're expected to we're taking away from having a good time in real life to make it seem like we're having a good time on Instagram just like a Sena we might get too caught up in portraying a good life instead of actually leading one well so far I've been talking to you about the negatives only of social media and that's not fair because it's not inherently bad I mean I have my Twitter handle up and I insure sly what I'm telling you today is just to be things that I feel like I've learned over the same time and things that you can be more aware and critical of personally I'm also trying to figure out my own social media usage because I too feel the pressure to stay relevant and interesting online which is account B that's a real pressure actually is but I also don't want to get caught up in the hyper positivity almost like self inflating culture some things I've learned that may be of use to you or just may give you some perspective next time you're going through your Facebook or Instagram are well first of all recognize messages you're seeing may now reflect the reality this removes a lot of pressure for us to then do well if you realize everyone else has low points that you can't see it makes a lot easier for you to then have them also be aware of the messages that we're sending out we're all part of creating culture that's more open and inviting to all kinds of experiences and emotions if we can be more real in our social media interactions we're also then going to encourage others to follow suit and of course this would not be a social media talk if I did not encourage you all to go interact with the real world but no go am ia from social media really be critical whether you want to post about the blue and black dress just because everyone else is posting about the blue and black dress we there's a lot of pressure for us to constantly be connected and keep up to date to everything that is sometime it's very freeing to be like hey I don't want to do this if you really just don't want to do it we spend a lot of our time staying plugged in and keeping up to date with the newest trends that we might be missing out on our own lives so it is exactly that our own personal lives with their joys intricacies and struggles that make us who we are but we don't do justice to ourselves when we focus solely on the positive and hide the rest of the richness of our human experience as this quote which I found out is from Star Trek write beautifully puts it it is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose that is not a weakness that is life that's why I think as important as it is for us to celebrate our highs it is equally as important for us to acknowledge and talk about our lows because it is exactly that they'll make what makes us human that is the common thread of our humanity the fact that we're all perfectly imperfect thank you you

20 thoughts on “Social Media: Too Much of a Good Thing? | Samia Khan | TEDxTerryTalks

  1. I really enjoyed this speech and have to say her final quote really sealed the deal for me. Thanks so much for sharing this insight with the world.

  2. OMG…….you want me to delete my attachments to social media?! DONE……just give me a few minutes to "go negative". Hugs to Samia Kahn!!

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