-Asia Pacific Media Educator
Virtual engagement of lives has been made possible with the advent of social media. Almost 80% of the day is spent virtually on some social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. Usage of social media to connect to and communicate with the ones we care about is always healthy, termed as social networking. Social dysfunction occurs when the constant communication leads to the point where our real or offline life gets replaced by virtual or online life.
The present generation lives in a world where smartphones are the first and last thing that they see on a day-to-day basis. Social media entertains communication, fosters friendships, and helps in building strong, deep relationships. The baseline for any communication or interaction is influence. When influence is greater, users experience a compulsion to dissociate from real living in favor of virtual living, because of which they tend to use ‘more’ social media platforms. Using ‘more’ social media platforms helps in strengthening relationships referred to as ‘strong ties’. Usage of more social media platforms helps in creating more connections and more information. These connections can either build up or affect emotions causing emotional turmoil. Usage of social media for establishing connections and communication, otherwise known as social networking is always beneficial whereas overcommunication through social media can lead to social dysfunction which is addictive, causing emotional ill-health. When emotional well-being is affected, many users experience a compulsion to dissociate themselves from the real world as they find the virtual world, full of fantasy and enjoyment.
This paper aims to conceptualize the intricacies of social media in young lives and to discern whether their association is happiness or pleasure activity. To understand emotional well-being in activities of social media platforms, a mixed-methods research design study was administered among 100 respondents based on age ranging from 15 to 25 years in and around the vicinity of Chennai, a metropolitan city in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The study combined data from a structured survey and to get a deeper understanding, additional in-depth interviews were conducted with psychologists and social media experts.
As humans are social, they seek both happiness and pleasure. Pleasure is a momentary feeling of short-lived happiness. Social media platforms possess inherent capabilities to gain social pleasures in virtual space, making users self-present and communicate in a way that is pleasing and attractive. The positive association encourages increased virtual friendships whereas negative associations lead to decreased levels of self-esteem because of social comparison.
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