While writing this one blog post, I would have clicked out of it countless times to browse through my various social media sites not only as a form of procrastination, but also from pure habit. I’m here admitting something that we continuously deny to our parents and tend to ignore as a problem. I’m somewhat addicted to social media.
As our daily media progressed from television broadcasting and newspapers to digital means such as mobile and computer devices via the internet, accessing the media became so much easier and the volume and variation of content available increased dramatically. This also resulted in the rise of the produser, which is a term created by Axel Bruns, a combination of the words production and usage, it is a form of online creation by anyone which blurs the lines between passive consumption and active production as people collaborate and continuously develop and expand existing content online (Wittke 2011 p.158). This freedom to openly share any information online has caused a dramatic change in the media audience and has also caused new anxieties to arise from media consumption. A long history of thinking about media audiences as passive, gullible and easily influenced has continued as social media has resulted in the development of several issues, especially involving younger age groups, mainly teenagers. The main issue which has arisen from the omnipresent access to social media is addiction, as it is often usual for a young person to have feelings of anxiety when separated from their mobile devices, as they experience feelings of isolation when they aren’t constantly connected to their peers. This constant urge to feel included also ties into the issue of social comparison, as teens are constantly exposed to images and posts of their peers and their “glamourised” side, as the posts don’t always accurately portray the person’s real façade, but a more refined, edited version. This results in a teen developing unrealistic expectations of how should present themselves in order to appear “better” then their peers, and as a result receiving more likes and praise online. This motive can become very problematic as teens at this age are already struggling with learning their identity and can lead to low self-esteem issues (College Binge Drinking 2017). However, the media can not be purely to blame for these issues. Issues about negative human behaviour always provokes a desire to find a reason and it’s easier to blame the media then to find the true, underlying cause. The young people that develop self-esteem issues from social media usually most likely have external influences separated from social media which have resulted in their anxieties, however the media is blamed to have caused the issues as opposed to triggering them.
Wittke, V, Hanekop, H 2011 New Forms of Collaborative Innovation and Production on the Internet. Universitätsverlag Göttingen. p. 158.
College Binge Drinking 2017 ‘Social Media Causing Anxiety in Teens’ in College Binge Drinking http://www.collegebingedrinking.net/social-media-causing-anxiety-in-teens.html