The Influence of Social Media on the Formation of Public Opinion
Social media is a powerful tool in the present day. It has been used to communicate and coordinate important movements from Occupy Wallstreet and Arab Spring, and it’s been a tool critical to swing elections around the globe. Yet, what is the mechanism behind this tool? How does social media impact public opinion and how is it so effective? We’re going to examine the idea of social media in the context of public opinion and take a brief look into the complexities of using these sites and apps to influence society.
Who Shapes Modern Trends?
The very question is somewhat baffling when we think about it- who shapes modern trends? You could say that major political figures are the ones pulling the strings in the world at large. You could say that celebrities are the ones telling us which trends we should follow and which ones aren’t worth it. However, when you get right down to the bottom, it’s the people at large. Every time someone logs into a Twitter account and retweets, they’re working to shape a trend. After all, trends are nothing more than the approval issued by people. Trends in words and information tend to form after multiple people see the information and share it. The only thing is that trends form positively and negatively, so something could become famous even if its intent was originally negative. All in all, it’s clear that trends in social media only become trends based on the attention that people give them. Social media has immense power to bring attention to things, and then it gets picked up by other media sources that lend it credence and make it “real” to people who aren’t involved in social media.
The Positive and Negative Impact of Social Media on Family and Friends
How is social media impacting friends and family? According to experts, social media can be used positively, but it also has a sinister side. After all, friends and family can easily communicate, coordinate activities, and set up events online that would not be possible with social media. Information that is important to several people can be disseminated to them in just a few clicks. Social media websites can also be used to help form new friendships and families. Dating platforms are starting to look more like a social media website than a simple dating chat room, after all. However, social media is also having some negative impacts on the world today. People are suffering from the constant need to check their platforms and sites to see what is happening. Moreover, the same reason that social websites are beneficial can also make them harmful. Personal information can be leaked online just as quickly as positive news can be spread. Jealous or hateful people take advantage of this to embarrass and harm others. Thus, the impacts of social media are positive and negative.
The Possibility of Manipulating Public Opinion Through Social Media
There have been a lot of people who have said that public opinion has been manipulated through social media. It’s possible to view this from the perspective of good manipulation of public opinion and negative. However, it’s best to understand the harm that this can cause, so we’re going to view the latter. There have been multiple times when conspiracy theories have been nurtured in social media spaces. People have been convinced that mass shootings in the United States were “false flag” attacks to get the government to seize weapons. Social media has been critical to the modern threat of convincing people that the COVID-19 outbreak is nothing harmful or even not real. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. There are many people who believe that social media was successfully used to flip the way that people think about politics in the 2016 United States Presidential Election. Some experts liken this to a form of fraud, as social media was effectively weaponized to get people to think and act in a certain manner with poor information. Not only can the opinion that people have of others be affected, but that information can be translated into many different parts of life.
Psychological Problems of People Caused by Social Media
When we’re talking about the real harm that can happen to people that are involved with social media, it’s beyond some teenage angst. Some people get so absorbed into social media that it becomes their whole life. Think about the prospect of social media influences. Their entire lifestyle depends on their ability to get people to look at and like their material. What happens to regular people that are highly involved in social media, seeking approval from their friends and people they care about? Well, recent studies show that one of the most common psychological issues that emerge is anxiety. It has gotten so bad that some schools are allowing students to keep their phones at their desks in school, so they don’t feel the anxiety as keenly. Moreover, people also suffer from depression due to a lot of exposure to social media, but only when it works negatively. If you lose a bunch of friends or don’t get likes, it’s like getting a real rejection. These are just some of the problems that come with social media; there are many others.
The fact remains that social media is still a potent force. It’s important to realize the power that it has and to separate ourselves from it once in a while. Spending all of your time online in any context, from dating sites to regular media sites, isn’t going to benefit you.