How Social Media Is Homogenizating Culture

The US is one of the strongest and most powerful countries in the world, thus making the US the biggest influencer in globalization. Some may argue that globalization has been immensely positive for the world, but I would argue otherwise. And social media has only made it worse.

Global Web Index - legend 2

When you go on to any social media platform, there are thousands of posts by Americans flaunting their beauty and wealth, the American dream. And the most surprising thing is that the US doesn’t even hold the highest number of social media users. Countries all around the world are beginning to adapt to the cultural norms they see online, and in turn, these countries are becoming more Americanized, which is not a good thing.

For instance, Iranian authorities arrested 170 women for posting selfies in which they were dressed in Western fashions and their hair was uncovered. The women were officially charged with “promoting Western promiscuity.” You can’t blame these women, though for trying to go against their culture and tradition. Social media has hypnotized them into believing that they need to look like the photo-shopped women that fill their newsfeeds; and because they are probably addicted to likes and comments, they are probably suffering from the same psychological distresses to their wellbeing as online Americans do.

Businesses, too, have taken advantage of the globalization of social media. Now companies can produce mass media which are sent all over the world and on every media channel. Because of this, countries in Asia, South America, and Africa have created a demand for American products like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Nike, and more. Not only is this replacing traditional cuisines and fashion with ones that are on the rise in the US, it is spreading the love of consumerism that rules the lives of many Americans. Soon, it won’t be just greedy Americans buying into all the latest trends; consumerism will take over the world and with it the desperate feeling of never fulfilling the need for more.

American culture is very new, yet due to the fact that social media is allowing it to spread beyond physical boarders, American culture will ultimately take over and replace many traditions that have been around for thousands of years. However, American children have the highest chance of growing up with severe anxiety and low self-esteem due to the pressures of American culture. One can only assume that the globalization of American culture is spreading these problems to online users around the world trying to mimic the American lifestyle.

Social media usage continues to grow, so it is likely that American culture will continue to takeover more and more cultures. It is weird to think of a day where there is a universal culture that mirrors American culture, but with the way things are looking, it may not be all that impossible.

 

 

Check out this video for a little more about the negative effects of globalization

Can Schools Benefit from Introducing Social Media into the Classroom?

In my earlier post, How Social Media Affects Your Intelligence, I explained how social media can actually make you smarter. Due to the fact that children are now growing up with unlimited access to the internet and more and more young people are getting addicted to social media, becoming smarter may see difficult. And let’s face it, there’s no way to hide children from the internet so they are bound to be exposed to things online that hinder their cognitive development. Teachers, however, can provide children with the opportunity to learn the right tools and skills to optimize their time online so that children can actually benefit from internet exposure.

This infograph describes the ways in which children will grow and learn if taught to use internet time wisely:

4 Ways the Internet is Making Kids Smarter

How Social Media Affects Your Intelligence

https://flic.kr/p/8WnyVB

Are social media making us smarter or dumber? Can it do both? Science says so.

You’re probably wondering how this is possible. Well it all depends on how you’re using social media.

How social media makes us smarter:

  • Can improve verbal, research, and critical-thinking skills. This is because they aware that they are publicly speaking to an online audience, so they feel the need to produce the best post. They also are seeking critiques before they post things on social media, allowing them to learn how to enhance their writing. These results are especially true when there are character counts, because the limit challenges users to be more creative with their language.
  • Students and young people are writing outside of the classroom. That is the social part of social media. They are spending hours on extracurricular composition in the form of tweets, texts, emails, comments, photo captions, and discussion boards.
  • Social Media users have larger brains. The social media experience uses auditory, visual, and emotional stimuli, so it is exercising your brain every time you check your news feed, thus growing your brain.
  • People are exposed to more information than they are in face-to-face interactions. Because everyone is on social media, you are able to interact with people that you wouldn’t have otherwise that can teach you about almost any topic you could imagine. In other words, you are expanding your knowledge by constantly learning new things.
  • Creativity is boosted. By looking at what other people are doing on social media, you can find inspiration almost anywhere for almost anything. Also, communicating and sharing ideas with others in real time, you are getting different viewpoints on issues and topics that help you look at things in a different way.
  • You are able to think faster. Everything on the internet is immediate now, so creating comments and live posts challenge you to think better quicker.

 

How social media makes us dumber:

  • Analytical thinking can become harder. People may begin to rely on other people’s opinions more and more which decreases critical thinking and limits thinking for ourselves because we are just copying what other have already thought.
  • More accessible information does not mean better information. Having all this information does not mean we are actually getting correct information. Plus, since we know that we have access to all this information, we are less likely to actively seek out new information just for the purpose of learning,
  • Social media usage causes shorter attention spans. Ten years agothe average attention span was 12 minutes. In just a decade it’s been reduced to five seconds.
  • You are thinking and contemplating less. Again, because accessing any information on the internet in immediate, we are reflecting less about things we see on social media because it takes time and effort. Plus, most things we view on social media don’t require any feedback or discussion.

The best way to ensure you are receiving positive benefits from social media is to use your social media to challenge your brain, rather than mindlessly scrolling through videos of people who just got their wisdom teeth removed. The internet is full of learning opportunities so take advantage of it to avoid damaging your intelligence.

Check out this video for more tips on how to get smarter with social media:

How Social Media Habits Impact A Person’s Wellbeing

Humans are social creatures. We crave the affection of other people and seek it out throughout our whole existence. These connections allow us to feel safe and secure in such a harsh and chaotic world.

Before the rise of social media and technology, people had to go out and meet other people face-to-face in order to interact with our social bonds. Crazy, right? You couldn’t just post on your friend’s page to tell them happy birthday; you had to go find them. You couldn’t tweet the nearest pizza place to get a pizza delivered to your door; you had to go get it. You couldn’t watch live music in the palm of your hand; you had to go see it.

The social media craze of today has actually made us become less social. And as convenient as social media is at connecting us to people, places, and things even faster than before and without ever leaving home, too much of it isn’t all that great for our mental health and wellbeing. And in today’s society, it is easy to be exposed to too much social media.

 

 

Technology has taken over and everyone over the age of 10 owns a smart phone that is connected to at least one social media platforms. Millennials and younger are at the highest risk of mental problems due to social media usage. This is because unlike all the generations before, these children are growing up in a world where everyone is glued to their phone screens and newfeeds during the most crucial times of mental development when they are supposed to be learning valuable social skills.

Because interactions via social media are nonverbal it is impossible to pick up on things like tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language, all of which are important cues to understanding face-to-face communication. Texts can be read wrong and feelings can be misinterpreted. But social media isn’t getting any less popular so most people growing up with technology will never learn how to pick up on these social cues.

And it’s not only social cues that are missed; personal face-to-face communication is completely taking away many important social interactions. These are things like making friends or simply calling the doctor to make an appointment. By not developing the proper communication skills, it means that most of these children will develop severe social anxiety as they age and enter the real world, making it hard for them to just simply talk another human being.

Social media has also allowed children to dehumanize others due to the fact that they are talking to a screen and not an actual human, so they don’t fully understand the impact their words may have on others. This has given them the ability to become ever-increasingly cruel due to the fact that they can send a message they couldn’t say in-person and then hide behind their phones without giving it a second thought.

Another milestone that is tampered by social media is the need for peer acceptance. Instead of making new friends, children growing up with technology rely on likes and comments to verify their feelings of acceptance. Because apparently the lower the likes means the lower the value of the person is worth which can damage their self-esteem.

Their self-esteem is hurt even more by the fact that children know when they are being ignored. Social media sites have even added a “read receipt” on messages, which only heightens their anxiety of being ignored. Now people are using the online silent treatment to break up with their significant others without ever giving them a reason, leaving them doubting their worth and obsessing over what they may have done wrong.

Most of their online “connections” aren’t actually real connections. The more online connections a person has, the easier it is to get jaded by their own cyberspace,  which in turn, makes them value their online life more, a life that isn’t actually real. Thus, they pour so much time and energy into creating their ideal social media profile to guarantee they fit in to boost their likes and ultimately their confidence. However, this identity almost never matches up with their real self, which can lead to self-dissatisfaction especially when their best efforts aren’t getting the attention they felt it deserved, leaving them feeling rejected and worthless.

Too much social media can also put any real-life relationships at risk. Meaningful relationships can fall apart by stirring up feelings of jealousy and mistrust which lead to obsessive internet stalking of your significant other’s social media profiles.

And it doesn’t make it any easier that we’re constantly seeing other people’s “perfect” lives on our newsfeed. When children start to compare their life to the ones they see on Instagram and Facebook, self-esteem drops so low that they even begin to develop depression and envy. However, these “perfect” lives can’t be that perfect because no one is going to post a bad or mediocre selfie of themselves, thus making their goals of perfection completely unobtainable.

When all of these factors add up, children forget to enjoy the good things about like. The things like family, the outdoors, learning, creating, experiencing, and so much more. And when they do happen to go out and experience the real world, they can’t fully engage in the moment because they are too concerned about capturing the picture that will make their life look interesting and gain them some likes.

Children are so attached to their online life that they sacrifice things like sleeping and studying to check their pages every morning, every night, and every chance in between. And don’t even think about trying to take away a frequent social media users phone because when they can’t access their social medias, they start to feel anxious and worry about all the things they could be missing. But what they’re really missing is the beauty of reality.

Here are some more ways in which social media affects wellbeing:

  • According to research reported by Psychology Today, heavy use of social media has been correlated to narcissistic tendencies.  A Canadian study at York University followed Facebook users ages 18-25 and concluded that the people who used Facebook the most tended to have narcissistic or insecure personalities.
  • High levels of Facebook use by couples were correlated with negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup and divorce, according to another study at the University of Missouri along with the University of Hawaii and St. Mary’s University.
  • A study conducted at Stanford University of 80 Facebook users reviewed the number of positive and negative experience their peers experienced. It concluded users consistently over-estimated the fun their friends had and underestimated their own unhappy experiences and that basically, Facebook may worsen the tendency to think everyone is enjoying themselves more than you are.

 

If you feel like you or someone you know has been negatively affected by social media and developed a shattered self-esteem, take the time to watch this video about how to rebuild your self confidence.

Related articles:

7 Ways Social Media can Affect Your Self-Esteem

7 Telltale Signs Social Media Is Killing Your Self-Esteem

Me, Myself, and I: The Psychological Impact of Social Media

Psychology Tips to Boost Marketing Efforts

Businesses have been utilizing social media since the beginning of the internet. One of the first sites that allowed online interaction between people via forums where they could share files and electronic messages around the world was CompuServe which began as a mainframe communication system specifically for businesses. CompuServe quickly found
its way to the public domain which then sparked the evolution of social media.Soon sites like Friendster and MySpace were created which changed the social media world completely by allowing members to create personal profiles. Today, sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest rule the social media world and billions of people world-wide visit these sites daily, making them the perfect medium for growing a business.

Social media usage is at an all-time high; it seems like everyone and their dog has an online profile. Almost every business has a page on a social media platform as well, thus potential customers are constantly being exposed to competitors. That means in order to grow your business, you must stand out from the crowd so that users will chose your company over the competition. You’re probably thinking something like “That doesn’t seem too hard; I’ll just add lots of colors and exclamation points so I catch the eye of potential customers and call it a day.” But it goes a lot deeper than that. Although you are sitting in front of a computer screen, you have to remember that you are still interacting with people, and what makes us different from any other species is the power of our minds.

Thus, to ensure you are optimizing your marketing strategies, you must bring in a little bit of psychology. Here are some tips to from the world of psychology that you can use to boost the success of your online marketing.

Tell your business story in a way that it produces an emotional response

Let potential customers know where you began. Evoke sympathy by explaining how you came from poverty and worked your way up the food chain. Or make them laugh by describing the day you and some friends were messing around and accidently created something great. Whatever the story may be, say it in a way that evokes feelings so that they will remember you.

Keep it about the customer

As human beings, we tend to get bored and uninterested when someone is continuously talking about themselves. I hate to admit it, but it’s because we are innately selfish and would rather hear about ourselves. Tailor your posts so that they are about the customer and not the product. For example, instead of saying “this is the best lawn mower ever” say something more along the lines of “you’ll be sure to have the best lawn on the street with our lawn mower.” In addition to making the customer the focus, make sure the page is simple and straight forward so that they can maneuver it with ease and comfortable on your page and make each experience personal for the customer. Therefore, you must know your customer and let them know that you know them.

Let them know that your product can solve their problems

Usually when you read a product description, you’ll find all the features the product has. Instead, descriptions should list all the benefits your product has. For instance, instead of saying “this vacuum has an extendable nozzle that reaches up to six feet” say something like “get those hard to reach areas like under the couch with the six foot extendable nozzle.” By doing this, you’re showing them how your product will make their life easier, rather than how fancy the product is. Thus, you are connecting the product to their life which will make the product more appealing.

Showcase social proof that your company is better than the others

People will always more likely to invest in a product if they see others doing the same, because if someone is buying the product, then it must be the right option so show them that it is the right option. This can be done in numerous ways. One way is to add customer reviews and ratings to your products to make them more trustworthy. Another type of social proof is find someone who is influential in the social media world and hire them to promote your product. A third way to boost social proof is to add testimonies to your home page so that the customer sees a satisfied customer right off the bad and feels more comfortable with your products. Lastly, emphasize any  products that are becoming scarce, because a product won’t sell out unless people are buying it.

Build Customer Loyalty

When you make the customer feel special, they are more likely to buy from you again. The best way to ensure your customers stick with you is to engage with them. Let them know about sales ahead of time or send them promotional coupons. You can also build loyalty by providing rewards programs or deals on products for returning customers. Let them know that their business is valued. On the other hand, try to also engage with competitors customers. Look for when times a customer talks about how they were dissatisfied by the other company’s product and shoot them a quick message to let them know that your company can do better. Even just liking a post where your competitor falls short will lure them in by making them feel more important to you than to the other company. The main goal is to keep customers satisfied.

An Intent Lab Infographic accompanying the DSI Index report

When you utilize these tips that appeal to the psychology behind the ideal business page, your customer base is sure to grow. Never forget that each customer is an individual and aim to provide an online experience that convinces the customer that your company is just what they need and you’re business will succeed beyond what you could have imagined.

For more tips, get your free download of 101 Marketing Ideas to Help You Generate More Business and click here for analytics tools that help you keep up with what marketing techniques are and what aren’t working.

7 Tips to Create the Perfect Social Media Page

The internet has become a huge part of today’s society and allows businesses and organizations many opportunities for growth. Because people spend most of their internet time on social media sites, a good way to boost your company is through optimal social media profiles. Gaining popularity on social media sites, however, is not as simple as it sounds. You can’t just create a profile and add a few basic posts here and there and hope people will follow your page. To create the perfect social media page to promote your business or organization, you need a little bit of psychological appeal.

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Here are some tips to help you optimize your social media profiles:

1. Chose an optimal profile photo and cover photo

So what exactly does optimal mean? Well according to Dictionary.com, optimal is a form of optimum which means most favorable/desirable or best. To break that down a little bit, the ideal pictures will be professional looking, give insight on what you do/what your product is, and be able to catch people’s attention when scrolling through newsfeeds.

2. Fill out bio/about section

Mention things like your profession, what the goals of your page are, and your location and make sure to add a link to your website. This is very important because a clear and informative bio will attract not only more followers but also the right followers.

3. Follow People

You may be thinking “how does following people get me more followers?” It is quite simple, actually. When you start to lurk around online users’ profiles, you begin to create a network for your page. Follow pages that are similar or relevant to yours or people that are influential to your target audience. Once you begin to incorporate yourself into certain networks, your target audience is more likely to see your profile and thus, you begin to create your own network.

4. Create posts that will draw in viewers and maximize engagements

Good posts start with effective headlines. Headlines should be intriguing, catchy, and clear due to the fact that it is the first thing a person will see about the post. The best posts will empower, entertain, or educate your audience, so make sure you have important information and not just a bunch of random irrelevant information. The post itself should never be just plain text; instead it should have images and videos embedded within the text to keep the audience interested. Ask questions in your posts and create posts that open up opportunities for discussion so that your followers can engage with your page more and bring in more people. You should also take advantage of hastags by adding relevant tags so that your posts will show up when a potential follower uses those tagged words in a search engine.

5. Post during peak hours of social media activity

All groups of followers will have hours in which activity is at it’s peak. Most posts will have a pretty short life, so make sure you are keeping track of your audience’s peak hours to obtain more views, likes, and shares. Here is a good infograph that tells you Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram peak hours.

6. Be real

As humans, we crave the affection of other humans, so the best way to make people want to follow you is to let them know that you are a real person. Reply to messages and comments quickly and frequently and avoid using language that comes off as robotic. Make sure you give your followers a little piece of you by keeping your posts personable and relatable by adding humor and sharing things you find interesting from other pages.

7. Have fun!

Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with different techniques to gain followers. Social media is all about being part of an online community so go ahead and dive right in and let your network grow!

 

Check out these articles for more tips on optimizing your social media profile: