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Social Media is Making Us More Insecure

Social Media Insecurity

Disclaimer: a lot of you are probably going to disagree with me on this, and that is fine. I want to disagree with me.

After all, social media isn’t just a hobby for me. It’s my profession, which hopefully makes what I’m about to say a little more validated.

Social Media is making us insecure.

Specifically, people (skewing younger) are misusing the social media tools given to them and creating false impressions of themselves that are fueling their own insecurities, as well as the insecurities of their peers.

Plenty have researched the link between social media sites and depression. A 2012 study found that there is, in fact, a high correlation between depression and use of major social network, Facebook. The study assessed the risk of depression among high schoolers and compared the risk rate to links between depression and TV use, to name one.

Other studies somewhat disagree. Huffington Post discussed a few related findings and found that there seems to be a stronger case that social media doesn’t cause anxiety or depression, it just pushes already at-risk people off the figurative cliff.

I find that difficult to know for sure, and I gravitate more towards the idea that we have yet to see the true effects of what social media use is doing to the youngest of us.

See, the originators of these studies, and the writers like me who are interpreting them, are a different generation from the one ahead of us.

Yes, I am a millennial, but I’m also a little older. I didn’t grow up linked to social media like children are today, which means that we can only discuss what is happening in real-time with younger users.

And it’s not pretty.

It’s easy to make the argument that insecurity and low self-esteem is evident in teenagers, after all. We have millions of people logging into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, bragging about the great things that are happening in their lives. We know this because we see it every day.

Forget for one second how bragging is a result of insecurity. Focus on the result of this social competition we’re seeing before us. Kids are getting on Instagram and seeing pictures of people they know doing something that they aren’t. It can be overwhelming for someone between the ages of 13 and 16 to feel like they are missing out on something.

Honestly, we’ve all felt like this at one point, so you know that social jealousy can be a lot more impacting when you’re a teen, that stage of life when your self-esteem is at an all-time low.

Thus, teens like to lie about their lives in order to feel slightly better about what they think they’re missing out on. Why do you think Catfish seems to resonate so quickly with people? Most of us have been “catfished” or have even “catfished” someone else.

Social media is an anonymity paradox. On the one hand, we are more anonymous than we would be in a face-to-face interaction with someone. On the other hand, we are using social media to essentially make ourselves public to the whole world.

Now, I don’t mind being public about a lot of things, but I certainly don’t want some things to be so easily accessible. No one really does. The problem we need to address, then, is how we educate ourselves and those younger than us. 

Throwing money at the problem or forcing kids to stay away from it won’t help. Kids are way too far ahead of their parents for them to regulate social media use. Instead, kids (and us) need to be taught how to temper our concern and fixation over social media.

Would that solve the whole problem? No, but it’s a start. I’m convinced that a lot of the depression and anxiety complexes developing from social media can be prevented by good parenting and willpower.

And, of course, social media has just as many benefits as it does pitfalls. It’s strengthened relationships between friends separated by distance, given brands the opportunity to grow, provided many jobs, and overall, it’s been a great outlet for entertainment and leisure.

Just remember to be cautious of its ills.

So, when your friend tells you that they want to take a “break” from Facebook or Twitter for a few weeks, don’t mock them for it (which I am guilty of doing). Encourage and cheer them on.

You could even join them if you’re brave enough.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out New Professional News, a list of headlines essential for any new professional, updated daily at 8am.

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Why I Love Commercials

And it’s not because other people hate commercials. I’m not a contrarian (or at least, I try not to be). Also, It’s really a coincidence that I am writing this after one of those politically advertised elections of all time–I actually just wanted to talk about this today.

Anyways, I love commercials. I haven’t always loved them, but over the past year I have noticed something very interesting about the trajectory this form of traditional advertising is on.

Think about it. The advent of on-demand television and Netflix has made commercial advertising trickier than ever. I don’t think I need to really emphasize just how easy it is for us to bypass commercials altogether. The unintended consequence of this new reality is that advertising quality and creativity have only made commercials better.

Gone are the days when commercials could just blanket every market because executives were confident their message would be seen no matter what. Here are the days when more money than ever before is being spent on market research, target demographics, and well, production.

Even over the past 4 years, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in commercial quality across the board on the same channels, especially cable networks such as FX, TBS, and Comedy Central. Compared to just a few years ago, I find myself more engaged and more likely to respond to television advertising, which let’s face it, is necessary during these changing times.

Commercials are now more interactive. They share ideas with social media. I saw a commercial the other day that made me laugh out loud, and that never happens. It may not even be that the content is that much better than it was a decade ago or the products are better. It’s really just that advertisers are doing a better job of capturing our attention.

Just look at the commercial I used as this post’s featured image (clicking on it will take you to the youtube video for the commercial). Amazing right?

How am I so sure that this is a result of more challenging advertising hurdles? Well, I’m not. Correlation is not akin to causation and all that. Still, I can’t help but believe this is a case, due to the fact that I find myself actually enjoying commercial advertising for the first time, even on Hulu.

Whatever the reason for this perceived increase in commercial quality, I find myself being a person that enjoys people trying to sell me things in-between my favorite shows. Let’s just hope this won’t have an adverse effect on my wallet.

JN

Are Soda CSR Campaigns Really Misleading?

I read a disturbing bit of news yesterday. A Policy Forum article from Washington has been released asserting that corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns by soda companies such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are misleading and don’t face enough regulation from the government in comparison to Tobacco companies.

I strongly disagree.

My main issue with this study is that it blatantly attacks CSR campaigns such as PepsiCo’s Refresh project, which has awarded grants to community causes such as park restorations, for “distracting” against how harmful their products are.

Read this: “For example, CSR campaigns that include the construction and upgrading of parks for youth who are at risk for diet-related illnesses keep the focus on physical activity, rather than on unhealthful foods and drinks. Such tactics redirect the responsibility for health outcomes from corporations onto its consumers, and externalize the negative effects of increased obesity to the public.”

Let me repeat for emphasis: “Such tactics redirect the responsibility for health outcomes from corporations onto its consumers, and externalize the negative effects of increased obesity to the public.”

My issue with this is the premise, which is that people are victims and can’t take care of themselves. We have a situation where people can’t be blamed for not having the common sense to use soda in moderation. The main point argued is that soda companies aren’t transparent enough about how harmful their beverages are, as if having the ingredients and serving sizes listed out aren’t good enough.

“The soda company made me fat. I thought I would be healthy because they give money to charity.” -Apparently people?

When it comes down to it, bad behavior is a product of ignorance. People know soda is bad for them, but they choose to drink it anyways. Why attack the soda company for using CSR campaigns to increase sales? They are trying to make a profit, sure, but that doesn’t make them  “evil” as some people seem to believe. Their product is loved by many people who do drink soda in moderation. What happens to those of us who want to enjoy a can of soda every now and then?

Yes, we should have basic education for people on what is healthy and what isn’t. People should have access to information that lets them now how to take care of their bodies. The solution is not, however, to criminalize soda for having CSR campaigns and then increase regulation as if soda is as harmful as cigarettes.

The result of increasing regulation with soda companies means several things: prices go up, soda companies disappear, jobs disappear, and people are still suffering obesity. I 100% guarantee you that if soda was abolished from the planet, obesity would not end. People are healthy because they exhibit self control and understand that too much of anything is bad for them.

These campaigns would be “misleading” if soda companies were trying to tell us that their products are good for us. Instead of lying, they actually promote campaigns that encourage people to be active in their communities and give to charity, etc.

So, our society is actually likening soda companies, as this article put it, as a “social ill” on par with Tobacco companies and should be reprimanded for trying to position themselves as being “socially acceptable” through CSR. What they’re saying is that a person is wrongfully believing that soda is good for them because a soda company gave some money to charity.

As far as I can see, this is baseless on the fact that soda companies are not in the business of controlling our behavior. They’re selling us a product.

JN

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