Advantages and Influences of Social Media

The person you are online may play an influential role in your life. Your facebook, Instagram, or twitter may seem inconspicuous but chances are you are on these profiles almost any time you pick up your phone. The influences of these communities and the personality we portray may actually be advantageous to how we feel about ourselves.

In a study, participants were told to look at their own profile and then received constructive criticism on a speech they had to give. The participants who looked at their own profile “felt more positive emotions and accepted the feedback (Toma, C.L. 2010).” What this tells us is that looking at their own profile helped remind the participants of the value of their life, the friends they have, and importance of their life. This helped them take the criticism better and feel more positive about the critique than those who looked at other people’s profiles.

This study also shows how important and influential social media can be to our daily lives. Those who show us a ‘fake’ life online may make us feel inadequate and question why our lives aren’t as interesting. The reality is that online profiles are only a small clip of daily life. The people in those profiles are selectively sharing their triumphs, while covering up their failures. Little things like this, while viewing other people’s profiles, may make us feel worse in the long run. Considering almost everyone has a social media account, what is the proper way to avoid feeling this way? What is too much to share online, and does everyone have a ‘fake’ life on the internet? These are questions to consider when thinking about the influences of online communities.




Toma, C. L. (2010). Affirming the self through online profiles.Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’10.

1 comment

  1. Genevieve Mary Fridman

    You give a very thoughtful reflection on both the negative and positive effects of social media. I do think that it can give people a boost of confidence, but that confidence can often turn into narcissism (Like those people who never stop posting “selfies.” I use quotes here because I really hate that word…) I also agree that other peoples’ profiles can make those who view them feel worse about themselves over the long term.

    More importantly, I think what you have said in your post connects to this lesson’s idea of stimulus overload (Schneider, Gruman, and Coutts, 2012). While this certainly happens in real life, I would argue that it happens just as much, if not more, in online communities. Stimulus overload is part of why I got rid of my Facebook a while back. It was a nice way to keep in touch with my family, but I just could not take the constant bombardment of peoples’ updates, advertisements and friend suggestions.

    On the other hand, what I have done also connects to the idea of people wanting to numb themselves to this stimulus overload. In the real world, people put on their sunglasses, put in their earbuds and listen to music (Schneider et al., 2012). Online, it is harder to do those things, so I chose to remove myself from the community altogether. I realize that people like me, who distance themselves from communities, are a large part of why there is so little connection between people anymore. Truthfully, I prefer to be by myself or just with my husband. Perhaps part of the disconnect within communities is due to the fact that individual habits are so hard to break.


    Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied social psychology:
    Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.).
    Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc

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