The popularity of various social media has grown rapidly over a few decades. Nowadays, almost every single person has a Facebook or an Instagram account that he or she regularly accesses for various purposes, be that entertainment, stress relief, or socialization. Nevertheless, while social media provide multiple opportunities for communication and promotion of brands, they have multiple drawbacks, including the risk of psychological addiction, and cannot replace real-life relationships. The present paper will discuss the major differences between life with social media and life without them, focusing on the matters of interpersonal communication value, quality of experiences, and behavioral addiction.
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One of the main benefits of having a social media page is the ability to have online conversations with people from all over the world. Not only one can quickly and for free connect with new individuals for either personal or professional purposes through Facebook, Twitter, and so forth but also may maintain relationships with friends and acquaintances who live far away. However, online conversations are usually textual and one-dimensional. They neither provide chances for direct exchange of emotions between collocutors nor opportunities for reading various paralinguistic cues, which allow comprehending the meaning of others’ words much better. It can be argued that an individual who does not have social media will seek real-life communication situations much more than those with social media. The latter, in their turn, can often feel satisfied with online conversations without even noticing what they may be missing.
Quality of Experiences
Another significant feature of social media is the possibility to share a personal narrative by posting texts about life experiences, photographs, and pieces of art. It means that such platforms as Facebook and Instagram allow users to express themselves and, in this way, to feel valued and content. However, self-expression through social media may have a negative side. Many individuals post pictures and stories merely to draw attention. Some people visit beautiful places or engage in exciting activities primarily to record them and then share them online to get more likes. It is valid to state that a person living without social media does not face the risks of superficial experiences. Not influenced by online community trends, he or she has a chance to live through unique and rewarding life events fully.
Many social media platforms utilize such reward mechanisms as likes to stimulate users’ activity. Due to those mechanisms, people can become psychologically dependent on social media and striving to do everything to receive more attention. Additionally, some individuals become addicted to social media because they distract from negative emotions and thoughts. While those preferring to spend time offline can have various behavioral dependencies and addictions as well, they are not prone to social media overuse that can substantially interfere with one’s mental state and daily life.
As the comparison of life with social media and life without them demonstrated, the former offers a plethora of opportunities for long-distance connections and self-expression. However, it is associated with the risks of reduced quality of experiences, as well as social media overuse and dependence. At the same time, life without social media is free of potential negative effects of those platforms on a person’s psychological state. However, it is hard to say that one type of life is better than the other. Every individual must find the right balance between the online and the offline worlds.