Social media often gets demonized for how glamorized it is — only showing our best snapshots of life and thus not sharing an accurate depiction of real life. The correlation between social media has been heavily researched, with a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study showing “that the more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to be depressed.” However, despite what seems like devastating statistics, the positive aspects of social media cannot be overlooked. It’s all about weighing pros and cons, and finding balance in your social media usage.
Here are some of our favorite benefits when it comes to the positive effects of social media:
Taking selfies has a positive impact on self-esteem
A study from the University of California, Irvine found that taking and sharing selfies can in fact have a positive impact on your self-esteem. Researchers in the study gathered nearly 2,900 mood measurements and found that subjects in all their control groups experienced increased positive moods when taking selfies. “Some participants in the selfie group reported becoming more confident and comfortable with their smiling photos over time,” in fact.
Increased connectivity and quick communication
In the same study from UCI, the other two control groups (besides the selfie group) took pictures of objects that made them happy in one group, and the last group took photos to share with others. According to the study: “The students taking photos of objects that made them happy became more reflective and appreciative. And those who took photos to make others happy became calmer and said that the connection to their friends and family helped relieve stress.” The benefits of connectivity are pretty dang cool if you ask us.
Can help promote your personal brand or small business
Social media is great, especially for reaching customers that aren’t nearby and for brands where online business is a better strategy than brick and mortar. Research shows: “Almost 90 percent of marketers say their social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75 percent say they’ve increased traffic.” Additionally, “more than 50 percent of marketers who have been implementing social media marketing tactics for two years have reported improved sales.” And don’t even get us started on social media influencers who #killit on social media by building their personal brand.
The ability to form communities of people who aren’t in physically similar areas
Support groups, fan clubs, and social media communities built around shared experiences really thrive on social media. You can connect with people across the globe, building friendships and camaraderie that wasn’t possible pre-social media.
The spread of social awareness towards noble causes
Think of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which took over the country in 2014. The movement almost exclusively existed via social media, with participants challenging friends and family to get in on the action and take on the challenge as well. Not to mention, celebrities even joined in! In the end, ALS.net received over $4 million dollars in donations in 2014, and if that doesn’t show the positive effects of social media, nothing does.
Boosting self-esteem through sharing ideas and being engaged
Likewise, no one wants to feel alone or strange. However, sometimes it can feel isolating if you don’t have friends and peers who share your likemindedness — especially for people with niche interests. Perhaps you’re a member of the LGBTQ community in a small, rural town. Or maybe you’re super into cosplay. Maybe you’re even a huge fan of an obscure band that no one knows. One of the positive aspects of social media is that you can share ideas and geek out with those who have similar interests, hobbies, and passions.
Access to information
News always comes to social media first nowadays, and it’s an incredibly beneficial aspect of social media. Particularly in the case of horrific tragedies, having immediate access to breaking news is pivotal for civilian safety.
In the end, there are many positive aspects of social media; it’s all about balance. By focusing on what makes you happy and what brings joy to your social media timelines, you can reap the benefits that these platforms have to offer.