Social media seems to run our world today – allowing us to make connections all over the world from personal accounts to corporate profiles. But is social media harming us and stopping us from making meaningful connections in our relationships? On the Dating and Relationship show I spoke with Erica Fox; a Social Media Expert and Natasha Sharma; a Relationship Expert about social media in our relationships.
Ontario is deemed the most connected province with 67% of Ontarians using social media platforms. Apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and others allow us to stay connected and express ourselves. But when we put all of our feelings, thoughts and ideas online, how much does that leave for us to share with our partners. Erica, Natasha, our Executive Producer Sandra and I discussed over-sharing, perception vs reality, instant gratification as well as the negative emotional consequences of social media use.
As a social media expert, Erica had a lot to share with us on the ups and downs social media has in our lives, and Natasha was able to comment on how this affects our relationships. We got into discussing ‘creeping’ profiles on social media. Erica said that people often share too much of their personal lives on social media for anyone and everyone to see. Instagram and others can act as a way to capture and compile the special moments in your life and also share your opinions and perspectives on things. However, a general rule of thumb is that if you would not stand up on a bar stool and share something regarding your personal life with the rest of the room, why would you put it on social media? People should really be taking the same approach of speaking to people in real life as they do on social media. Natasha commented that we still need to think about intimacy and connection while in this generation of over sharing. Sharing is great, but how much you share becomes a question of intimacy. Sharing creates a special bond with someone but if you’re sharing everything on social media and there is nothing left to share with your significant other or close circle, how do those people in your life become special then?
Many people view social media as authentic and transparent – but its not. People only really post pictures of their best shots or moments, so really, it is causing people to live up to these expectations of the glossy life they have created on their account. Simply modifying one photo of yourself (even to hide a blemish) can cause you to feel the need to modify every single one after that – and that is not authentic or transparent. Perception vs reality is a large problem when it comes to social media since people become stuck in this loop of portraying a certain life, but not expressing a true depiction of every day. Natasha shared that studies show modified photos and unrealistic expectations create social anxiety within people and creates unhealthy messages to generations onwards. Use of social media by teens too young or at all is damaging since it is proven to spike depression because they live a life of comparison rather than focusing in on themselves. We don’t want teens lives to be a reaction to constant comparison, rather than focusing on what they do have and can offer the world.
Why did you like that photo?
Before a date, some people may search their potential partner online first. I asked Erica and Natasha what they thought about this and Erica thinks it is absolutely unfair! She says sure, search someone on Instagram or Facebook to get a sense of him or her and create a comfort level for when you really meet the person. But if you base your idea of someone solely off his or her Facebook feed that’s unfair. Even though some people over-share, most people cannot and wont express everything about their personality on there, so really you are only seeing part of them. We run the risk of jumping to our own subjective conclusions, since we are only human and we often believe what we see rather than what we learn.
Natasha and Erica were able to shed some light on the red flags and signs social media may become a problem in our relationships. Couples can get into hot water if one person is continuously liking and/or commenting on other people pictures or posts, which often creates jealousy. This can of course escalate if one partner feels it is no big deal and the other is continuously jealous or worried. Erica and Natasha again relate it back to a real life situation where we need to make our partners or ourselves realize how it would feel in a physical situation if someone came up to us and complimented our outfit or appearance (same as liking a pic). If the same person continuously did this every time they saw you, you would feel cornered like this person is flirting. If two partners understand this, it may make it easier to come to an understanding on social media use. Additional problematic signs are when we start to use social media as a replacement for the fundamentals of connecting with someone. Hearing someone’s voice, looking in their eyes and sharing thoughts and feels are all essential. Therefore, social media should always be an addition to actual communication in your relationship, not in place of it.
When individuals are so used to excessive social media use, in addition to negative emotional concerns there is also the issue of instant gratification. Through social media, people are so used to having what they want right now. However, life doesn’t work like this. Erica and Natasha told us that this obsession with instant gratification causes people to lose the ability to work through problems and deal with negative emotions. Because social media is right there when you need it, no one seems to go through the negative emotions they are feeling (which are healthy), they instead find instant gratification else where to cheer themselves up and never learn how to deal with those feelings which is a necessary part of life
Erica and Natasha discussed so many important topics with us on the show when it comes to social media in relationships. To listen to the full show, please visit www.640toronto.com ! Is social media causing chaos in your dating life? Book date coaching session with me today and et’s talk about it!