And so the four part series comes to an end. Please, read on.
I am currently in the beginning stages of starting my first ever Dungeons and Dragons campaign, but I wanted to make sure I spent a little time finishing up this series, it was promised after all.
So far we have delved into the era of Look At Me, Keeping up with the Joneses, and Echo Chambers. This post won’t contain all of those dangers, yes, I am saying there are at least four different dangers of social media. This post is going to dive into something called clickbait.
Now, you may be thinking that clickbait is only that stuff you see with articles on Facebook or Twitter or even various, perhaps questionable, news sites you visit, but that’s sadly not the case.
In a world surrounded by clickbait headlines, it was really only a matter of time before we learned from that behavior and picked it up to use in our day-to-day lives.
As social media continues to grow as a news medium, so does the continued amount of clickbait articles. If you’re unsure of what a clickbait headline is and don’t want to bother searching a news website, pop on over to Facebook or Twitter.
Your social media friends are your most likely daily encounter with clickbait that you see each day. Why? Because we like our attention, right?
Have you ever been scrolling through your social media and see a friend post something along the lines of, “You WON’T believe what happened to me today!”? And then not tell you what happened to them? You even go look in the comments and everyone’s asking them what’s up and they just respond with a, “PM me if you want to know…” Okay, drama queen.
These people are doing exactly what online articles do, they reel you in with something catchy to get you to click. For articles, they are more than likely getting profits from ads so each click gets them more money. Your friends on the other hand are just needy little devils who want all of the attention.
It’s not a real danger that you have to look out for when you’re perusing your social media, but it is one that you want to be on the look out for.
The Real Danger
One of the biggest dangers of social media that I see often, is when people talk badly about their family, their life, work, or even their significant other on their social media…
What we say about others, whether in person or on social media, creates a picture in people’s minds about the behavior and actions of that person whom they may never have met before.
So what’s the big deal? Well, that’s not the full extent of this danger.
Say a husband and wife are arguing, one of them posts something hateful about the other on their social media, then, what should have been a dispute between spouses, becomes a social media war between her friends/family and his friends/family. Everyone knows that when it comes to picking sides, we are going to choose the side we identify the most with or the person we like better.
Anyone who is loyal to you will defend you and fight for you regardless of whether they’re on the right side or if they have all of the facts.
Even if you comment on a seemingly uncontroversial or heated post, if the comment doesn’t agree with the OP, chances are you will be surrounded and cornered by their hyena gathering within a short period of time.
People are loyal to those who are like them and that they have a connection to. Families are bad about taking sides, but friends can be just as ferocious and dangerous as a family.
What’s wrong with this? Nothing if you’re the person who is getting defended, but if you’ve ever been on the other side of an argument that has gone south, well, my friend, you know exactly what I am talking about. When you get in the middle of something like that, there is no winning.
On my last post I linked in a post I did back in 2016 that talked about losing friends on social media. Now this post talked mostly about friends on social media and politics, but I have lost and seen people lose friends over an argument that happened with two people behind their computer screens. Despite what the comfort of the screen provides, feelings can and do get hurt with the words that we are using.
Teenagers are the most likely to spew hatred without thought behind what pain their words can use. Online bullying is a thing. It makes me glad that social media was just becoming a thing when I was in school.
But I’m not here to preach to you about online bullying, let’s continue.
There are a few different types of people on social media sites. There’s the ones who post the clickbait posts looking for attention, then there’s the ones who post nothing but selfies, there’s the ones who talk about their babies or wedding or engagement constantly, there’s the ones who hardly post anything and don’t get on social media very often, and then there’s the ones who either engage in daily arguments or create the post that causes the argument.
The latter are the ones most likely to post whatever is on their minds or about what is happening to them at any given moment, the attention seekers do this too.
Maybe these “dangers” don’t seem like a big deal to you, but these people can be incredibly toxic to any social media encounter and possibly even directly at you. If you’re the person behind the attacks or stabs or jabs, then it’s a danger, perhaps not a physical one but definitely a mental one.
What makes being on social media as much as we are, are the endless amounts of negativity that we are associated with and see every single day. We absorb thousands of ads and hundreds of negative messages on a daily basis, how can that possibly be a good thing for our brains? We share far too much information freely, and with ease, because it is something that suits our fancy right then and there. The fact that teenagers have the free reign of their social medias is even a more frightful thought, they are the least likely to handle any situation well, most adults don’t even know how to argue correctly anymore, but teenagers are posting whatever they want, whenever they want.
We’ve become a society that spends less time talking face-to-face and more time communicating behind an electronic device via the internet. We used to send letters, now we send private messages. We used to gather around the table or the local hang out place to debate the latest happenings, now we believe whatever we read and see online and argue about it like little babies that need their diapers changed.
If you’ve been wondering to yourself why I have called these several items as dangers, this is why. We are social animals, we need to be in constant communication, but is this really the best way to go about it?
I encourage all of you to sign off of your social media sites, the ones you spend hours on a daily, for at least a week and see how much, if at all, it changes your life. When you’re done, please come back here and let me know the changes, if there were any, that happened to your psyche.
In the meantime, be safe.
And as always, thanks for reading.
Are there any other dangers you can add to my list? Do you think these items qualify as being dangerous? What are your thoughts on social media and daily usage? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!