It’s no secret how pervasive social media is today. A Pew Research Fact Sheet reported last year that 69 percent of Americans use some type of social media platform. And why shouldn’t we? Sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat allow us not only to maintain existing connections and establish new ones, but also show the best parts of ourselves
“Social media is a great way to keep in contact with friends, family and people who you may not see on a regular basis,” Plattsburgh senior business administration major Sean Maruscsak said. “For me personally, it’s a great motivational tool.”
Plattsburgh senior political science major Jychaelle Bogard said, “Social media reminds you that you’re not alone in the world and not the only one who thinks the way you do about certain things. Also, posting the details [of your life] is an option. It’s up to you,” Bogard said.
“Social media can impact a relationship in both positive and negative ways. Social media allows a relationship to connect in numerous creative ways,” said Christy Minck, assistant director of counseling at the student health and counseling center. “On the negative side, however, it can be easy for messages to be misinterpreted because context of the communication is not clear.”
Still, Minck believes ease-of-contact, the infinite amount of times a person can contact someone and the variety of contacting someone are all benefits of social media that strengthen a relationship.
Platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat are only one means of building and maintaining an authentic and fulfilling relationship. There is more to a meaningful relationship than just liking someone’s photo or post and sending them a snap.
“People will think they’re completely connected with someone and know everything going on with them even without physical contact.” Bogard said. “Without that, though, you can never fully know a person.”
“When people get emotional they can be quick to post about who and what is bothering them,” Bogard said. “They put their personal business out there and start talking to everyone, but their partner allowing their minds to be flooded with others opinions.”
A 2014 Pew Research Center study found that four percent of internet users in a committed relationship were bothered by something they found their significant other doing online.
Just as much as social media impacts our relationships with others, it affects the relationships we have with ourselves. According to Psychology Today, a University of Gothenburg in Sweden study surveying just over 1,000 men and women revealed a significant negative relationship where as Facebook usage increased, self-esteem decreased.
Maruscsak believes as long as there is a balance and no one is overstepping any boundaries, there shouldn’t be any significant problems in a relationship.
“Problems arise on a person-to-person basis. If something is bothering you, talk about it. Hopefully the person is understanding enough,” Maruscsak said. “I definitely don’t think cutting yourself from social media is the way to go because you’re cutting yourself off from so many friendships.”
Bogard suggests to take a break when you need to.
“There’s a lot of falseness on social media that everyone needs a break from,” Bogard said. “Nobody posts the whole story; we choose to show only the best parts of ourselves on social media. A lot of self-consciousness can happen when you see your friends accomplishing all these things, but don’t stop to think that there’s always more going on in someone’s life.”
Minck also advises taking a break from social media every once in a while.
“Learn to connect to other people and yourself in ways other than through social media,” Minck said. “Remind yourself that social media is just one tool for making connections.”
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