From Drugs to Digital: The New Peer Pressure

Does social media have an impact on us? Does Lebron James hairline go back further than AOL Instant Messaging and Razor flip phones? Yes, indeed to the both of them.

Whether you registered an account or not, or casually claim “I have a Facebook, but don’t really use it,” as if infrequent log-ins or seldom post distinguish you from average users, our “more connected” internet world effects you.

You might think “I don’t use social media anyway. So, why should I care?” Well, you shouldn’t. But, does ones social media celebrity status transgress over to real life? Does not being a part of social media take away from your social notoriety? Let’s explore this.

First, we’re affected indirectly. By default, we assume everyone to have signed-up with a social networking site. Much like we assume everyone to have dental care. That is until they speak and remove all doubt.

Opting out of associating with any of the top three sites – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – is of no surprise. But, there is still small inclination to believe at the least one has succumb to joining Linked-In after receiving recurrent emails from colleagues, friends, and deleted contacts.

This is only soft peer pressure however. Like Spotify asking you to share your embarrassing, eccentric taste in music through Facebook. “Believe” by Cher will always be a classic and we don’t need social media sites to confirm that. And where does Candy Crush come off expecting we beg for lives on Facebook? Even if I didn’t have to simply wait an hour or so, I’m no Facebook panhandler.

Sharing your use or liking of any product online lessens the value of all products. Some businessmen say “any promotion is good promotion.” I disagree.

Yea, in a sense, we are being endorsed or endorsing the owners of whatever product they’re producing. But, it’s almost like getting an invite on Facebook to an event. First off, the event seems less amazing off rip. Second, after scrolling through whose going, maybe going, and invited you’re typically left unimpressed or in some cases, turned off.

What’s worse is that everyone sees social media as a way of free-marketing. Now, some classes, organizations, even companies you work for occasionally request you join a certain group, or market their event by uploading a certain photo as your profile pic. What happened to the good ol days, when fb was limited to college students only? Before members of your church could invite you to a lock in, or your youngest sibling’s friends in grade school could send you an invite!

I’ve been part of organizations in the past and they demanded their members have a social media account and participate accordingly.

Fan of Rich Homie Quan or not, I’m sure that “makes you feel some type of way.” How do you handle your boss or professor inquiring why you haven’t liked the advertisement page, “We support PETA”? “Well, kicking my dog beats buying a stress ball.” Only a joke, but still an awkward situation to be in.

Social media was meant as a way for people to stay more connected, but it’s become the biggest outlet for promotion.

Some people are what I call social media advocates. I once defined these people as users that commented too often on other’s pages, pictures, videos, etc. You know, the ones that had to add their two-cents to inside conversations they were out of or expose themselves by sharing their opinion on events they were intentionally uninvited too. They’re definitely a dying breed now. Either they were called out or maybe Facebook became boring for them as well. Thankfully, fewer of those types of users exist.

The modern social media advocate is more sophisticated and savvy. They have a seemingly more exceptional account, mention seemingly more exceptional people, and are followed by others longing to receive the same recognition and attention. These people have many followers on Twitter or receive an exceptional amount of likes on Instagram. The question here is: do these statistics attribute to their popularity in real life?

It’s hard to gage. In part, it seems as if society has granted social media careers.

To sum things up, here’s a quote I overheard from a Georgia State student to a newcomer:

 “In order to meet people you have to join something.”

Enough said.